Author Topic: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?  (Read 35028 times)

Glenstache

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How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« on: October 21, 2015, 07:21:05 PM »
Premise: Flying has a disproportionate environmental impact compared to most of our daily travel habits. Much of our travel is actually optional.
Question: How many of you consider the impact of flying when deciding to travel or not? This can be a decision to not take a trip, or take alternate transport such as rail.

This seems like a blind spot for many people, or a place where a lot of people rationalize the trips with arguments that are at odds with their professed beliefs. Obviously, if you are a person who thinks that CO2 emissions are not an issue, this question is moot.

This was brought on by a recent conversation with some friends who are generally frugal, intelligent, environmentally aware, and log shit-tons of air miles in a year. Some of those miles are for work and some are for pleasure. When I asked them a similar version of the question above, it seemed like the question not to fly hadn't occurred to them.

While the per capita CO2 per mile traveled may be lower, the rate at which miles are racked up adds to a large impact per trip... especially if we get into long-haul flights across oceans, etc. (note: there are losses in efficiency for short haul flights  and long haul that require a lot of gas to make the trip, mid distances of just a couple thousand miles seem the most efficient from my reading).

There are many articles to discuss the environmental impacts if you Google related terms, or here is an IPCC discussion of it:
http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/sres/aviation/126.htm

Pigeon

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2015, 07:28:56 PM »
I don't do much of it and don't think about it. I fly a few times a year and usually for work. Rail takes so much more time my employer wouldn't go for it and I don't want to waste vacation time. If we had better rail service I would prefer it. I hate long car trips the most.

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2015, 08:04:05 PM »
My husband is on 80-100 flights a year for work, plus another dozen for leisure.

Qantas has an option of paying extra (cash or points) to support their carbon neutral program (i.e. pay extra and they will plant a tree).

http://www.qantas.com.au/travel/airlines/fly-carbon-neutral/global/en


Zikoris

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2015, 09:26:29 PM »
I'd be happy to use whatever methods are more environmentally friendly, but unfortunately it's a long swim to Asia or Europe from Canada, and I have no intention to stop traveling for fun entirely.

v8rx7guy

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2015, 10:37:29 PM »
I am in the "CO2 emissions are not an issue" club... so I have not put much thought into it.

A mom

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2015, 07:06:03 AM »
Thanks for bringing this up. I worry about it every time I fly, which tends to make me unpopular with family members who suggest flying vacations. It's a significant issue for me. I don't want to be a spoil sport for other family members, but any pleasure I might get from a plane trip is significantly reduced by recognition of the environmental costs.

And I don't buy the plane is flying anyway argument. As far as I am concerned, an action should be taken if the majority of people behaving in that way would make things better. I believe that if the majority of people reduced or eliminated air travel, the number of planes  in the air would be reduced and the world would be better off.

I know that one transatlantic flight for me has the same carbon footprint as heating my house for an entire winter, and we get very cold winters where I live.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2015, 07:09:08 AM by A mom »

gt7152b

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2015, 07:21:41 AM »
Not sure if you are a meat or dairy consumer but you could consider dropping one or both from your diet to offset the carbon footprint of many flights per year.

I try to fly as little as possible. If it's necessary for work I'll go but that's usually only once a year. Vacation flights for my family of 4 happen once every 2 or 3 years. I consider both the environmental impact and the cost when deciding where we're going to travel for vacation. We can have just as much fun riding bikes or hiking in the national forest near home but I also want my kids to see other parts of the world on occasion.

Alex321

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2015, 07:26:24 AM »
I am also in the club that is very skeptical about whether CO2 emissions are actually a problem. However, I fly very little. My job does not require it, and we prefer the economics and comfort of driving to our vacation destinations.

But I thank you, OP, for pointing out some of the hypocrisies of your friends. I mean that genuinely.

Philociraptor

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2015, 07:29:58 AM »
The only factor that decides if I will fly or not is cost. I typically fly maybe once a year, but wife and I are going to significantly increase that soon since we started travel hacking this year (and thus cost has gone way down). We also eat about 2 lbs of meat a day between the two of us and each travel about 20 miles each way to/from work/gym. Guess that makes me a hypocrite when I claim to care about the environment.

KCM5

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2015, 07:50:14 AM »
I think about it, but I also don't generally take it into account. I'm pretty much a terrible person in that I do things that are convenient to me and if there is an option that is convenient to me and has an outside benefit such as emitting less CO2, I'll go for it.

Example 1: I ride my bike to work year round and sold the second car. I do this because I enjoy riding my bike, enjoy the extra money, and the environmental benefits are a bonus (and I work in air quality!)

Example 2: I eat very little meat and try to get any meat I do it/eggs/milk from local sources/farms. I do this because I have the extra money to pay for such things, I value animal welfare, and the environmental benefits are a bonus.

Example 3: I fly with my family at least once a year, usually somewhere overseas. I do this because I value seeing my family who live overseas and I value travel for myself, spouse and child. This has no environmental benefits, but has social benefits for ourselves. I'm open to alternatives, but aside from boat travel, which would not be feasible while working a full time job, I'm unaware of any alternative.

chouchouu

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2015, 08:08:01 AM »
I don't. I take the train in Europe because I enjoy train travel but am happy to board a plane. I don't own a car and take public transport everywhere, live in an apartment etc.  my footprint is minimal and the enjoyment I get from travelling outweighs my perceived environmental cost.

fa

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2015, 08:26:48 AM »
I struggle with this issue as well.  The thing is, driving a car by yourself creates more CO2 than a seat on a completely full airplane.  So what about driving?  Then there is the large CO2 pollution related to the beef industry.  So if we want to be consistent and care about global warming, no flying, no driving and a full vegan diet?  Flying isn't the only sin.

Spork

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2015, 08:44:12 AM »
I rarely fly and I consider myself a "CO2 agnostic".  (Meaning: I just honestly don't know the impact.)

BUT:  If you're going to worry about environmental impact, I believe cargo ships are your #1 target.  There are a zillion of them.  They operate 24/7/365.  They are the biggest internal combustion engines out there -- many putting out 300+ tons of CO2 per hour.


Alex321

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2015, 08:52:22 AM »
Cargo ships are the best thing going. You, individually, will never be buying all the cargo on the ship. You have to think of it in terms of per-capita use, and they are extremely efficient.

With your argument, you may as well say that bus or train travel is your #1 target, as those big diesel locomotive engines are always running.

On the other hand, and this goes back to the driving vs. flying thing...driving with 5 people in a minivan is actually very efficient--it's certainly better than air travel, and it's probably better than taking five up five seats on a train.

In the end, none of this really matters. We need to keep doing all these things so that the GMs and Fords and Toyotas and CSXs and Boeings and MAERSKs contained in your index funds keep making money, else your 4% SWRs will collapse and nobody will FIRE.

norabird

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2015, 08:55:17 AM »
This is something I really want to improve but struggle with. Seeing family and friends, seeing new places....I do this all pretty thoughtlessly. :( Also very bad about reducing meat consumption! It is so hard for me to actually change my behavior in this regard. One day I do hope to.

sky_northern

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2015, 08:57:43 AM »
I fly a ton for work, like I'm over 300 hour of time flying this year, so the 6 hours I've flown for pleasure this year is least of my worries. I do take trains whenever I can, I love trains, but there is so few of them in North America.
I try to make reasonable decisions relating to the environment but I know I could do a lot more. I have some guilt.

zephyr911

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2015, 10:03:39 AM »
DW's family is 5K miles away, and mine are at opposite ends of the country. Flying will be part of our lives, though an infrequent one, until we're filthy rich and can finish building that self-contained solar-powered travel setup I've always wanted.

We don't sweat it. We care for the greater good, and we'll offset that impact in other areas, in the long run.

I fly a ton for work, like I'm over 300 hour of time flying this year, so the 6 hours I've flown for pleasure this year is least of my worries. I do take trains whenever I can, I love trains, but there is so few of them in North America.
I try to make reasonable decisions relating to the environment but I know I could do a lot more. I have some guilt.
If you have some guilt over unavoidable flying, carbon offsets are surprisingly cheap. Some actually go toward useful activities.

In the end, none of this really matters. We need to keep doing all these things so that the GMs and Fords and Toyotas and CSXs and Boeings and MAERSKs contained in your index funds keep making money, else your 4% SWRs will collapse and nobody will FIRE.
It will be an interesting few decades for all of those industries, with the transformative trends happening right now. Personal EVs already have ~5-yr TCO parity, with purchase price parity achievable soon. The cheapest wholesale electricity in the US is now solar, home producers are driving transformation of utility business models, and long-haul cargo is tinkering with greater efficiencies and alt fuels. The only constant for the energy world this century? Change. :)

takeahike

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2015, 10:21:36 AM »
I fly at least 10 times a year on non-vacation trips. These are 5000 mile roundtrip each.  I've been doing this for a decade.. and probably will for another few years. Yeah, I think about the environmental impact a lot.. but family stuff. I don't feel I can ever give somebody shit for their wreckless environmental practices because of this. Take hour long showers? Yeah, who am I to talk. Drive your dually to your office 5 minutes away? Yup, can't judge. Drink bottled water all day? Ahh, I can't say anything. Do you really need to bring your mansion-on-wheels camping? Well, you probably don't fly as much as I do.

I try to not be such a shithead to the environment in other ways.. but I'm pretty bad for the environment when it comes to flying.. and I'm very mindful of it. 

Helvegen

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2015, 10:32:34 AM »
I don't fly enough to care about this, barely once a year. My family all lives back east and my husband's on another continent, so not flying ever again for environmental reasons alone isn't really an option.

cschx

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2015, 10:34:42 AM »
I stopped flying entirely about six years ago, for this reason alone. It was an easy decision to make because air travel has become such a shitty experience in general.

It hasn't been a problem for me. When I need to go somewhere I take ground transportation, which is much cheaper anyway.

MandalayVA

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #20 on: October 22, 2015, 10:37:44 AM »
Not sure if you are a meat or dairy food consumer but you could consider dropping one or both from your diet growing and raising everything you eat on your own property to offset the carbon footprint of many flights per year.

Fixed that for you. 

Fishindude

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #21 on: October 22, 2015, 12:04:52 PM »
I read that a 727 burns approx. 4,500 gallons of fuel in a typical (4) hour flight.
At about 180 passengers, each passenger is responsible for 25 gallons of fuel.

Rightflyer

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #22 on: October 22, 2015, 12:32:49 PM »
I read that a 727 burns approx. 4,500 gallons of fuel in a typical (4) hour flight.
At about 180 passengers, each passenger is responsible for 25 gallons of fuel.

I also read that an M1A1 tank gets 2 gallons to the mile...and that's with only 4 passengers.

Sailor Sam

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #23 on: October 22, 2015, 12:37:23 PM »
I count myself as someone concerned for the environment, but as the OP points out my convictions don't come across very well in my job or my leisure. My ship burns around 60 barrels of bunker fuel per day. My wife flies 600 - 1000 hours per year. I have no idea how much jet fuel that might be, but I suspect the answer is: a lot. Right now, we live in opposite corners of the country, so we fly commercial pretty regularly.

Jack

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2015, 01:44:47 PM »
I have a business trip to Maryland next week, and this thread is making me want to ask the company if I can take Amtrak instead of flying. (Of course, I'm not badass enough to want to do an overnight trip in a coach seat...)

In the end, none of this really matters. We need to keep doing all these things so that the GMs and Fords and Toyotas and CSXs and Boeings and MAERSKs contained in your index funds keep making money, else your 4% SWRs will collapse and nobody will FIRE.

This is an example of the broken-window fallacy. Even if we cut (non-bicycling, non-walking) travel to the bare minimum we could still FIRE; it's just that a larger proportion of our investment returns would come from industries that don't do a lot of shipping (e.g. software).

If you have some guilt over unavoidable flying, carbon offsets are surprisingly cheap. Some actually go toward useful activities.

Got a recommendation?

Not sure if you are a meat or dairy food consumer but you could consider dropping one or both from your diet growing and raising everything you eat on your own property to offset the carbon footprint of many flights per year.

Fixed that for you. 

Yeah, but dropping meat and dairy will get you something like 90% of the way there. (Note: that's a wild guess, but the actual number is a big percentage.)

Miss Prim

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #25 on: October 23, 2015, 06:42:53 AM »
Well, I guess since I grow almost all my own food, I can environmentally afford to take an airplane trip now and then!

I really never thought about this.  I did think about the gas I used from my stove to water-bath can, and my extra freezer in the basement to store all of my frozen items.  Seriously, I think I have less of an environmental impact than most of my neighbors here who have the McMansions and drive gas-guzzling cars. 

I have planted a lot of trees on my property, does that count?

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zephyr911

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #26 on: October 23, 2015, 07:06:59 AM »
Got a recommendation?
You could send me $20/mo - the average cost of charging my Volt. Offsets 1,000 miles of ICE driving, or one average commercial flight... ish. ;)

But seriously - I have used, and can recommend, TerraPass. Their site lists current project info and standards if you want to dig into that. Primary categories are wind power, farm waste and landfill gas recapture (IOW, they turn poop and trash byproducts into combustible fuels).

nawhite

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #27 on: October 23, 2015, 07:15:08 AM »
I read that a 727 burns approx. 4,500 gallons of fuel in a typical (4) hour flight.
At about 180 passengers, each passenger is responsible for 25 gallons of fuel.

Here I was thinking "oh wow, I fly a lot with travel hacking, maybe I should care more about this?" I fly about 50 hours a year, all paid for with travel hacking (well, total cost in Sept 11th fees the past two years was $215 so not quite free). Then I saw this post and realized that since I don't drive at all for work (I work from home everyday) I'm still way ahead overall. Now I've learned how to stop worrying and love the bomb flight :-)

MandalayVA

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #28 on: October 23, 2015, 07:39:04 AM »
Not sure if you are a meat or dairy food consumer but you could consider dropping one or both from your diet growing and raising everything you eat on your own property to offset the carbon footprint of many flights per year.

Fixed that for you. 

Yeah, but dropping meat and dairy will get you something like 90% of the way there. (Note: that's a wild guess, but the actual number is a big percentage.)

I beg to differ.  National brands of non-preserved meat and dairy have farms and processors all over the place.  Many times one's fancy organic humanely raised chicken is coming from farther away than that pack of Tyson's drumsticks. 

However, I bow to my personal guru George Carlin's wisdom:

Quote
The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles … hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages … And we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet isn’t going anywhere. WE are!

We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Maybe a little Styrofoam … The planet’ll be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas.

The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we’re gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, ’cause that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed. And if it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new paradigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn’t share our prejudice toward plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn’t know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, “Why are we here?”

Plastic… asshole.”

zephyr911

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #29 on: October 23, 2015, 07:44:59 AM »
The above is a pretty good illustration of why I've always preferred to say I'm a humanitarian, not an environmentalist, even though I devote significant life energy to causes that most would label as the latter. We're stupid and we're fragile, and we're going to kill ourselves, not our planet, if we don't get our shit together. The fact that the universe will kill us in the far distant future is no reason to do the job for it right now.

We don't have to have an inflated sense of our own worth or importance to do what we can, when we can. In fact, I think an accurate sense of our place in it all would do even more to make us change our ways.

rtrnow

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #30 on: October 23, 2015, 07:56:34 AM »
Not sure if you are a meat or dairy food consumer but you could consider dropping one or both from your diet growing and raising everything you eat on your own property to offset the carbon footprint of many flights per year.

Fixed that for you. 

Yeah, but dropping meat and dairy will get you something like 90% of the way there. (Note: that's a wild guess, but the actual number is a big percentage.)

I beg to differ.  National brands of non-preserved meat and dairy have farms and processors all over the place.  Many times one's fancy organic humanely raised chicken is coming from farther away than that pack of Tyson's drumsticks. 



What's your point? The quoted poster makes a point about cutting out meat and dairy and you give an example bout buying meat.

A little internet research can allow most of us to source locally and pick up by bicycle too btw.


On another note to those of you here saying you don't care about CO2, are you climate change denies or just don't buy all the science linking CO2 emissions?

Jack

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #31 on: October 23, 2015, 08:04:51 AM »
Got a recommendation?
You could send me $20/mo - the average cost of charging my Volt. Offsets 1,000 miles of ICE driving, or one average commercial flight... ish. ;)

That wouldn't do any good; you'd drive a Volt whether I sent you money or not! To offset anything, the money has to actually cause a change in behavior.

Not sure if you are a meat or dairy food consumer but you could consider dropping one or both from your diet growing and raising everything you eat on your own property to offset the carbon footprint of many flights per year.

Fixed that for you. 

Yeah, but dropping meat and dairy will get you something like 90% of the way there. (Note: that's a wild guess, but the actual number is a big percentage.)

I beg to differ.  National brands of non-preserved meat and dairy have farms and processors all over the place.  Many times one's fancy organic humanely raised chicken is coming from farther away than that pack of Tyson's drumsticks. 

I think you missed my point. Transporting the meat to the market is only a relatively small part of it. The majority of meat's carbon footprint comes from the energy associated with feeding and watering the animals (including the production of the petroleum-based fertilizers, pesticides, etc.). If you took the resources used to grow the grain for a cow and grew crops directly for human consumption instead, you could feed probably 10 times as many people with the same amount of resources. (And even that may even be a gross underestimation.)

2Birds1Stone

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #32 on: October 23, 2015, 08:09:05 AM »
*weigh

Spork

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #33 on: October 23, 2015, 08:12:25 AM »


I think you missed my point. Transporting the meat to the market is only a relatively small part of it. The majority of meat's carbon footprint comes from the energy associated with feeding and watering the animals (including the production of the petroleum-based fertilizers, pesticides, etc.). If you took the resources used to grow the grain for a cow and grew crops directly for human consumption instead, you could feed probably 10 times as many people with the same amount of resources. (And even that may even be a gross underestimation.)

...or we could just eat pastured animals. 
* theoretically more healthy (though I am skeptical this is the panacea we are told it is)
* if done in combination with ending corn subsidies, it frees up lots of tax money and actually lets people see the actual costs of their meat.  Subsidizing feed corn is subsidizing meat (and in turn subsidizing things like fast food).  This also frees up land for growing crops for direct human consumption.

MandalayVA

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #34 on: October 23, 2015, 08:26:47 AM »

What's your point? The quoted poster makes a point about cutting out meat and dairy and you give an example bout buying meat.

A little internet research can allow most of us to source locally and pick up by bicycle too btw.

On another note to those of you here saying you don't care about CO2, are you climate change denies or just don't buy all the science linking CO2 emissions?

Most people don't want to do the research.  Strictly from a "carbon footprint" standpoint it's likely that the crap supermarket chicken comes from more locally than the farmers market chicken.  Just saying.  I would also add that at least in my local supermarkets the ones buying meat aren't buying whole chickens and chuck roasts and pork chops.  The only fresh meat that's getting bought is ground beef and only if it's on sale.  Otherwise, they're buying chicken nuggets, hot dogs, frozen entrees and stuff of that nature.  Remember, Americans don't like to cook. 

As to not caring about CO2, see Mr. Carlin's words above.

zephyr911

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #35 on: October 23, 2015, 08:36:41 AM »
That wouldn't do any good; you'd drive a Volt whether I sent you money or not! To offset anything, the money has to actually cause a change in behavior.
Stop trying to confuse me with facts and logic!
Alternately, "curses... foiled again"

On another note to those of you here saying you don't care about CO2, are you climate change denies or just don't buy all the science linking CO2 emissions?
Wait, what's the difference?

*weigh
I did Nazi dat kampfing.

Jack

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #36 on: October 23, 2015, 08:47:30 AM »
I think you missed my point. Transporting the meat to the market is only a relatively small part of it. The majority of meat's carbon footprint comes from the energy associated with feeding and watering the animals (including the production of the petroleum-based fertilizers, pesticides, etc.). If you took the resources used to grow the grain for a cow and grew crops directly for human consumption instead, you could feed probably 10 times as many people with the same amount of resources. (And even that may even be a gross underestimation.)

...or we could just eat pastured animals. 
* theoretically more healthy (though I am skeptical this is the panacea we are told it is)
* if done in combination with ending corn subsidies, it frees up lots of tax money and actually lets people see the actual costs of their meat.  Subsidizing feed corn is subsidizing meat (and in turn subsidizing things like fast food).  This also frees up land for growing crops for direct human consumption.

Ending corn subsidies would certainly help (mostly by raising the supermarket cost of meat, lowering consumption), but pasturing would have little effect. Even then, you still need 10x as many acres of pasture to produce the same amount of food as you could if you grew plants for humans instead.

Using land for pasturing animals only makes sense, environmentally speaking, when it's not fertile enough to be used for anything else.

Most people don't want to do the research.  Strictly from a "carbon footprint" standpoint it's likely that the crap supermarket chicken comes from more locally than the farmers market chicken.  Just saying.  I would also add that at least in my local supermarkets the ones buying meat aren't buying whole chickens and chuck roasts and pork chops.  The only fresh meat that's getting bought is ground beef and only if it's on sale.  Otherwise, they're buying chicken nuggets, hot dogs, frozen entrees and stuff of that nature.  Remember, Americans don't like to cook. 

In the absence of market distortions caused by subsidies, unit price would be a good proxy for carbon footprint -- generally, stuff that takes more energy to produce costs more. The trouble is, because "conventionally"-raised (i.e., petrochemically, industrially raised) meat is so heavily subsidized, it's very hard to tell whether the supermarket chickens would "naturally" be cheaper than the local/humane/organic/self-actualized hippie chickens or not.

(By the way, lest people get the wrong impression, I'll state for the record that I do eat meat, and when I do I buy the cheap "conventional" stuff -- but I buy whole chickens and large pork or beef roasts (or even primals) and break it down myself (or more often, have my wife do it) because it's usually cheaper per pound that way. (The exception is that ground chuck is cheaper than chuck roast, for some reason -- probably because of "pink slime," I guess.) However, since I recently learned just how bad meat production is for the planet I've been trying to cut back such that I start using meat as a "seasoning" as opposed to the bulk of the meal.)

MandalayVA

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #37 on: October 23, 2015, 09:03:29 AM »
(By the way, lest people get the wrong impression, I'll state for the record that I do eat meat, and when I do I buy the cheap "conventional" stuff)

AHA, I KNEW IT!  :D  My meat and poultry come from farms 20 and 30 miles away respectively.  With supermarket meat and egg prices skyrocketing around here, I'm paying roughly the same for much better stuff. 

I will say, however, that I'm really getting to loathe the "use meat as flavoring, not the main part" way of thinking.  I think it's based on eyeballing chain restaurant portions, which are grotesquely huge.  A twelve-ounce steak, which is standard in those places, is easily split between Mr. Mandalay and me.  A whole roast chicken will be four meals with meat and its carcass made into broth.  One doesn't need to eat a lot of meat to be satisfied as fat and protein are pretty satiating.


Landlord2015

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #38 on: October 23, 2015, 09:10:04 AM »
*weigh
I did Nazi dat kampfing.

I do not weight... if I need to fly then I do that but I do not fly so often...

Nazi? Hmm nazi are cool I think.

Anyway I live in Finland and Finland(Europe) did fight with Germany against Russia... because we did know that we needed to fight Russia anyway sooner or later at that time.

I am not saying I would want that Nazi would have won all of the world, but they are cool if you want to see a cool Nazi in a TV series with vampires then see The Strain:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2654620/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Germany today have very friendly relation with other countries and german tourists are everywhere in Europe.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2015, 09:17:57 AM by Landlord2015 »

AlanStache

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #39 on: October 23, 2015, 09:18:32 AM »
I fly a lot for work and sort of work in the aviation industry, I think in large part I sort of ignore the environmental impact of flying.  Most of my work travel it would be highly impractical to go by any other means.  I do very much think of the tons (literally) of fuel used per flight, often my work deals with the difference between take off weight and landing weight, and well that is all burnt fuel.  A new 737 can hold 6,875 gallons of fuel, that works out to like 40,000 lb.  But that is being used to take 120-200 people 3000 miles in a few hours. 

I guess on the up side is that there are lot of ways to boost efficiency and small fractional benefits can have big effects. 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wingtip_device  There are economic incentives for airlines to implement these savings and the infrastructure to turn the wrenches.  Along these lines would you take your car to the dealer to get 1% better gas mileage?  maybe but most would not, but an airline would very much take that 1%. 

1% of 40,000 is 400lb, use that much less twice per day every day for a year and you get 292,000lb less fuel used PER airplane PER year.  Delta has 800 airplanes.

re food choices: was vegetarian for a long time partly out of efficientcy/environmental reasons, am now a pescetarian who loves cheese. 

edit: forgot about the leased airplanes.

Philociraptor

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #40 on: October 23, 2015, 09:25:26 AM »
On another note to those of you here saying you don't care about CO2, are you climate change denies or just don't buy all the science linking CO2 emissions?

Like both MMM and Ramit say, you cut relentlessly on things you don't care about so you can save for the things you do. I see it similarly. I keep my thermostat range wider than the typical 72-75. I traded in my Mustang for an xD. I take cold water only showers.

But I feel best when I eat around a pound of cooked meat a day. I drive 15 minutes away from home and work to attend a Crossfit gym where I like the programming and people. I enjoy traveling by air to visit friends and family.

I guess a good rule would be that I will choose the less CO2 option when it doesn't negatively affect my perceived quality of life. But I don't let it change my behavior.

Jack

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #41 on: October 23, 2015, 09:39:03 AM »
(By the way, lest people get the wrong impression, I'll state for the record that I do eat meat, and when I do I buy the cheap "conventional" stuff)

AHA, I KNEW IT!  :D  My meat and poultry come from farms 20 and 30 miles away respectively.

So what? I live in Atlanta, and Gainesville (the "poultry capital of the world") is 50 miles up the Interstate. Even my conventional chicken is local! But I guarantee your hippie chickens require just as much farmland used for grain as my industrial ones do, and thus are not significantly different in terms of environmental footprint.

With supermarket meat and egg prices skyrocketing around here, I'm paying roughly the same for much better stuff. 

Now that's interesting; I'll have to look into whether it's also true here. I'm not going to pay much extra, but I'll happily buy a better product for about the same price...

captainawesome

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #42 on: October 23, 2015, 09:47:22 AM »
Environmental impact of flying, no. Envionmental impact of using plastics, now you are starting to get a little closer to the truth.  Environmental impacts of our common practice of unsustainable farming practices through constantly tearing up fields to plant corn or soy, absolutely.  I'm a huge propent of better farming through sustainable methods, which isn't what the US Govt values and pays farmers to do.

And anyone who tells me that eating as a vegan/vegetarian is more environmentally sound has done little to no research on the impacts created by producing soy and soy based products. 

Spork

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #43 on: October 23, 2015, 09:50:25 AM »
I think you missed my point. Transporting the meat to the market is only a relatively small part of it. The majority of meat's carbon footprint comes from the energy associated with feeding and watering the animals (including the production of the petroleum-based fertilizers, pesticides, etc.). If you took the resources used to grow the grain for a cow and grew crops directly for human consumption instead, you could feed probably 10 times as many people with the same amount of resources. (And even that may even be a gross underestimation.)

...or we could just eat pastured animals. 
* theoretically more healthy (though I am skeptical this is the panacea we are told it is)
* if done in combination with ending corn subsidies, it frees up lots of tax money and actually lets people see the actual costs of their meat.  Subsidizing feed corn is subsidizing meat (and in turn subsidizing things like fast food).  This also frees up land for growing crops for direct human consumption.

Ending corn subsidies would certainly help (mostly by raising the supermarket cost of meat, lowering consumption), but pasturing would have little effect. Even then, you still need 10x as many acres of pasture to produce the same amount of food as you could if you grew plants for humans instead.

Using land for pasturing animals only makes sense, environmentally speaking, when it's not fertile enough to be used for anything else.


Well you use prairie land... because that's really what works.  The theory is (and honestly: I don't know if I believe it):  ruminant animals actually are carbon negative because they promote grass growth by chewing off the tops and then pooping and working that into the soil. 

Whether that is true or not: feed corn is dumb.  It is a damn-near inedible product.  It consumes way too many acres.  And financially, it is grown at a loss.  The ONLY profit is offset from the subsidy.  It's also really dangerous (in my not-a-botanist opinion) in that we have a huge undiversified monoculture.  It is all the same strain.  An unexpected disease could reek havoc. 

And as I implied above: if you give people the real price of beef, they are likely to make other choices.  Or at least... make a choice to eat less of it.

I'm by no means vegetarian.  But I also love food... and that includes all sorts of delicious non-meaty things.  I'd much rather see 1000 acres of Brussels sprouts than 1000 acres of feed corn.

edit: bad spelling
« Last Edit: October 23, 2015, 09:52:05 AM by Spork »

Heywood57

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #44 on: October 23, 2015, 10:18:23 AM »
The aircraft is traveling from A to B with or without you on it.
The train is traveling from A to B with or without you on it.
The bus is traveling from A to B with or without you on it.

Trying to assign emissions on a trip to a passenger is funny.
Even if you fly, the train and bus still make the trip.

The weight of a single passenger on any of them is negligible compared to the entire mass.

Spork

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #45 on: October 23, 2015, 10:23:24 AM »
Cargo ships are the best thing going. You, individually, will never be buying all the cargo on the ship. You have to think of it in terms of per-capita use, and they are extremely efficient.


Sure, when you measure pollution per ton-miles, cargo ships are always going to win out.   That isn't my point, really.  My point is that if you want to improve, cargo becomes the elephant in the room.  Remember: these guys aren't burning some low-particulate diesel.  They're burning the cheapest, rawest low grade stuff they can find and they're burning it 24 hours a day.

We will get all up in arms that a Volkswagen is putting out an extra 50g of NOx by cheating on emissions, but when one ship puts out the CO2/NOx of about 50 million cars, that's a big damn target to try to improve.  Tiny changes will give you enormous results.

And "not shipping as much crap" is an easy way to improve things.  Personally, I would much rather pay an extra 50 cents a pound for fish than to have someone catch fish nearby, ice it down, ship it to China to process it and then ship it back. 

Full disclosure: I'm by no means an environmentalist and, to be honest, I'm a dirty Capitalist pig.  I am sure you'll find all sorts of Japanese/Chinese/European items all across my house.  But I do make small attempts to buy less stuff I won't use for long and try to not buy food processed overseas (unless we're talking some yummy local delicacy that I can only get from some far away region.)   There is a sensible middle ground here.

Spork

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #46 on: October 23, 2015, 10:25:17 AM »
The aircraft is traveling from A to B with or without you on it.
The train is traveling from A to B with or without you on it.
The bus is traveling from A to B with or without you on it.

Trying to assign emissions on a trip to a passenger is funny.
Even if you fly, the train and bus still make the trip.

The weight of a single passenger on any of them is negligible compared to the entire mass.

Yes and no.

If just me doesn't fly: no difference.

If 200 people a day stop flying between DFW and LGA... there will likely be one less airplane in the air.  Airlines are really big about figuring out how many flights a day make economical sense.

AlanStache

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #47 on: October 23, 2015, 10:32:31 AM »
The aircraft is traveling from A to B with or without you on it.
The train is traveling from A to B with or without you on it.
The bus is traveling from A to B with or without you on it.

Trying to assign emissions on a trip to a passenger is funny.
Even if you fly, the train and bus still make the trip.

The weight of a single passenger on any of them is negligible compared to the entire mass.

Netxlif tried to pull this years back to say that mailing a DVD added no pollution to the world as the mail carrier would be doing the route anyway.  At the time Netflix was like 5-10% of the mass of mail delivered, so yeah the post office would (and I assume has) scaled back without those DVD's.

This totally ignores the fact that suppliers adapt to the level of demand, not instantly but in time.

Glenstache

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #48 on: October 23, 2015, 10:59:55 AM »
The aircraft is traveling from A to B with or without you on it.
The train is traveling from A to B with or without you on it.
The bus is traveling from A to B with or without you on it.

Trying to assign emissions on a trip to a passenger is funny.
Even if you fly, the train and bus still make the trip.

The weight of a single passenger on any of them is negligible compared to the entire mass. See #10 at:
http://www.ethicsscoreboard.com/rb_fallacies.html

This is actually a quite common rationalization that shows up in a number of facets of life. It is also referred more generically as the Futility Illusion.  See: http://www.ethicsscoreboard.com/rb_fallacies.html

Quote
10. The Futility Illusion "If I don't do it, somebody else will."

It is a famous and time-honored rationalization that sidesteps doing the right thing because the wrong thing is certain to occur anyway. Thus journalists rush to be the first to turn rumors into front page "scoops," and middle managers go along with corporate shenanigans ordered by their bosses, making the calculation that their refusal will only hurt them without preventing the damage they have been asked to cause. The logic is faulty and self-serving, of course. Sometimes someone else won't do it. The soldiers asked to fire on their own people when the Iron Curtain governments were crumbling all refused, one after another. Sometimes someone else does it, but the impact of the refusal leads to a good result anyway. When Elliot Richardson was ordered by Richard Nixon to fire Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, he refused and resigned. Cox ended up being fired anyway, but Richardson's protest helped turn public opinion against the White House. Even if neither of these are the final result, the individual's determination to do right is always desirable in itself. The Futility Illusion is just a sad alternative to courage.

The discussion above makes a value judgement that assumes an ethical transgression. I don't intend to equate frequent fliers with Watergate/Nixon, just point out that it is a common pattern of argument that is generally flawed. In ethics the criteria are a bit soft, but in the special case of air travel the extent of the fallacy can actually be quantified by the relative efficiency of moving units of people (or cargo). 

Mntngoat

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Re: How many of you weight the environmental impact of flying?
« Reply #49 on: October 23, 2015, 11:01:03 AM »
those of you that struggle with the envirnomental aspects of flying....  Realize the plane is going wheather to take up a seat not right?