Is Green Travel an Oxymoron?

How to Live a Low-Carbon Life by Chris Goodall How to Live a Low-Carbon Life, by Chris Goodall

Last night I had a personal crisis while reading Chris Goodall’s How to Live a Low-Carbon Life: The Individual’s Guide to Stopping Climate Change. The premise of the book is that each Westerner is responsible for emitting twelve tons of carbon dioxide every year–“four times what the Earth can handle.”  This book shows how the individual can personally reduce his or her emissions from twelve tons to three tons. 

I read through several chapters patting myself on the back for my low-carbon ways: I don’t drive, I don’t eat meat, I don’t live in a big house, I don’t turn the heat up too high.  Then I got to the chapter about air travel.  Goodall writes, “No single step that we could take as individuals to take responsibility for global warming comes close to deciding to stop flying.”  One round trip flight from England to the U.S. emits 3.6 tons of carbon dioxide.  A 3000 km (1864 mile) flight generates 4.5 tons-per person. 
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