This week I had an opportunity to get away from my normal job for a week of training in New York. Unfortunately that means that I had to fly to get there. Airplanes come with a HUGE price tag in terms of emissions and the environment. So, in order to get to NY but still try to minimize my carbon footprint, I made a few strategic decisions:
- First of all, I chose to fly direct which would minimize my time spent on a plane.
- Second of all, I packed less in my luggage. I normally would have brought 2 pair of works shoes, tennis shoes, sneakers, and maybe even another pair of work shoes. Keeping this week’s Green Change in mind, I only brought 1 pair of work shoes and my tennis shoes. Since I only had black work shoes, I didn’t have to pack my brown pants either. Also, I refrained from packing a bunch of workout clothes since I probably won’t have time to workout more than once.
- Third of all, I didn’t have any of the soda/ snacks on the plane thus avoiding the packaging.
These changes may not seem huge, but given the environmental cost of flying, every little bit counts. When figuring out the carbon impact of airplanes, an “aviation multiplier” is used because the environmental impact of flying is more than just the sum of the gases emitted. The aviation multiplier helps account for the fact that plane emissions are worse because they are so far up in the atmosphere. Lighter planes will use less fuel and therefore have reduced emissions. Plus, since I packed fewer things, it was easier to stuff my suitcase into the overhead compartments.