What is the impact of air travel to our environment?

Traveling is something that most of us love to do for many reasons. Some of us do it because we love to explore, or we need a break from work or we just want to create memories – but what if we told you that traveling by plane is extremely harmful to the environment. Today we want to talk to you about the effects of air travel and give you tips on how you can make your travels more environmentally friendly.

The New York Times recently published an article with some staggering statistics.  Take one round-trip flight between New York and California, and you’ve generated about 20 percent of the greenhouse gases that your car emits over an entire year.  If you are like many people, flying may be a large portion of your carbon footprint.  According to some estimates, about 20,000 planes are in use around the world, serving three billion passengers annually. By 2040, more than 50,000 planes could be in service, and they are expected to fly more often.

If you’re flying, you’re adding a significant amount of planet-warming gases to the atmosphere — there’s no way around it. But there are some ways to make your airplane travel a little bit greener.

  • Fly Less On Shorter Distance Trips

Should you drive instead?  The longer the distance, the more efficient flying becomes because cruising requires less fuel than other stages of flight. So it’s certainly better to fly cross-country than to drive but if you’re taking a short trip, it may be better to drive.

  • When Flying Coach Is Actually A Good Idea

According to a study from the World Bank, the emissions associated with flying in business class are about three times as great as flying in coach. In business class and first class, seats are bigger, so fewer people are being moved by the same amount of fuel. The study estimates that a first-class seat could have a carbon footprint as much as nine times as big as an economy one.

  • Close Your Window Shades When Landing

When you land at a warm destination, flight attendants might ask you to shut your window shades, said Christine Boucher, a director of global environmental sustainability for Delta Air Lines. The reason? It reduces the amount of fuel used to cool the aircraft when it’s sitting at the gate!

Lourdes Martin

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