Footprints in the sky

about 11 months ago
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When you fly long distance, say from Delhi to New York or from London to Melbourne, you might think as that one more thing you need to do in the bigger scheme of things. But many are now waking up to the massive amount of carbon footprint you leave behind as you fly around the globe.

Your economy class seat on that one return flight put an extra 1.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide in the air, which is equal to a reduction in polar summer sea ice cover by roughly the area of a downstairs bathroom or office cubicle. That’s the reason why many conscientious Nordic and Europeans have been deliberately cutting down on flights, wherever they can. This is known as “flight shame” and many Europeans are skipping flying altogether in favor of less harmful overland travel: buses, trains, cars. The Swedish national train company SJ last year reported a record 31.8 million customers, in a country of about 10 million people. Dutch airline KLM is encouraging its passengers to “fly responsibly,” and consider bringing fewer bags, buying carbon offsets, or even opting out of flying altogether.

But what does one do when there is simply no viable alternative? When public transport is less reliable or the land to be covered is just too much, and cruising on a ship is unthinkable, flying cannot be avoided.

Well, there are other ways to limit your carbon footprint – use as little of your car as possible, walk whenever you can, buy green energy, buy a more efficient car, eat vegetarian, wash clothes in cold water, recycle, hang out clothes to dry and not use a drier, upgrade light bulbs.

These are small ways but you can do your bit when flying is inevitable and you want to save the planet too!

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