Tag Archives: air travel carbon footprint

Exposing the hypocrites

I see a lot of chatter from so-called environmentalists complaining about the apparent hypocrisy of high-profile advocates (i.e., celebrities) and their hyper-consuming, carbon-spewing lifestyles. 

Just one of many examples:

Chris Martin (Coldplay):  He is vocally involved in the fair trade movement and, less vocally, on the environmental side.  It’s been pointed out that his band flies on a private jet between gigs and that he flies home between gigs to spend time with his family and sometimes he takes his kids with him to gigs.  So the tree-huggers are saying that this makes him part of the problem, definitely not part of the solution.  They say that they would never fly anywhere because of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with flying.  My intent here is not to debate whether he is or isn’t helping the cause. 

My response: 
Sustainability is not just about environmental sustainability. It’s about economic and social sustainability as well. If we all stop flying because of the associated GHGs, the world as we know it will cease to exist. Environmental choices that are not economically sustainable are not sustainable at all.  If parents are not making an effort to spend time with their kids, that’s not socially sustainable at all.

The idea is to educate ourselves to make increasingly more sustainable choices, wherever possible and do things that will reasonably offset the impacts of our choices wherever possible. It’s not about sitting in our caves in the dark and sending the quality of our lives back to the stone age.  It’s not about blindly restricting consumer choice.  It’s about making trade-offs between options that, taken collectively, minimize the negative impact or have a positive overall impact on the planet.  And it’s not always black-and-white and it’s not always easy.

My dream is to fly a lot, to help vulnerable communities around the world and help them implement simple and profound practices and technologies that can dramatically improve their quality of life, in a sustainable manner.  My hope is that the impact of my flights, etc. are more than offset by the positive outcomes.