It was a big weekend towards global climate change. In New York alone over 300, 000 people marched to make this world a better place not only for themselves but for the many generations that will come after them. Cities from all over the world like Berlin, Bogata, Paris, Delhi and Melbourne (among others) also had massive turnouts for this critical issue. I think my favourite sign of the day was “There Is No Planet B.”
I’ve never been so excited and motivated to push forward with my environmental series “Footprints.” After this weekend it finally feels like the voices that count the most are finally being heard and I want mine to be heard in any way large or small.
If you look at the big picture of course it’s overwhelming. We’ve dug quite a whole for ourselves but if we put one foot in front of the other and move forward with an environmental consciousness then I believe we can turn this around slowly but surely.
I’m not perfect so don’t take this as me up on my soapbox ranting and raving. My latest photo is to do with the pollution of air travel but am I flying to Iceland in a few weeks to shoot?….yes, I am. BUT, did I spend our summer vacation staying local and camping?…yes, I did. If I look at the small picture then me not taking one flight doesn’t seem to have much of an impact but if you look at the big picture and imagine everyone who flies taking away one flight per year that’s huge.
That brings me to the scientific stuff. National Geographic news once had the headline “There’s a new fear of flying: You’re more likely to die from exposure to toxic pollutants in plane exhaust than in a plane crash…”
This is based on the fact that the jet fuel burned (particularly in taxiing and take-off) releases massive amounts of pollutants into the atmosphere, one of which is carbon dioxide. The average flight in the USA or Canada from the East coast to the West produces 2-3 tons of carbon dioxide per person when the average yearly usage is 19 tons per person.
Carbon dioxide isn’t the only thing adding to the global warming impact of aviation, it’s the nitrogen oxides and sulphates that contribute as well. Put those together and you’ve got 5% of global climate pollution attributed to aviation. At first glance this may not seem like much but it’s projected that the industry will double in 15 years and triple in 23 years.
Any small gains we make with more efficient planes or fuel will be overshadowed by the rapid growth of the industry.
To read more on the subject – http://www.flyingclean.com/impacts_airplane_pollution_climate_change_and_health
I hope everyone has a clean and earth friendly week!