Thursday, April 24, 2008

Going Green

I've got an older sister who lives on a organic farm for whom "reduce, reuse, and recycle" isn't a trendy mantra, it's the way she has been living her life for years. I was kinda green, but not really into it until I saw The Story of Stuff, and really started learning about the three R's myself. I'm trying to use Freecycle to the best of my ability, asking myself if I really need something or just want it, and trying to recycle as much as I can. You wouldn't believe all of the "stuff" that comes off an airplane at the end of a flight. Cans, bottles, cups, glasses, plasticware and newspapers, all easily recyclable items, end up in one garbage bag and thrown in a bin. I usually carry in the papers to the FBO to ask if they recycle, and the answer is usually a disbelieving "No, they don't do that here." Well, it doesn't take much for one person to put aside a box for papers. It doesn't have to be a corporate decision. BTW, the only FBO I've seen with extensive recycling bins was the FBO at Kansas City Metro. Unfortunately, since I wasn't aware of this, everything had already gone in the general garbage bin. If we knew to expect this at every FBO, we could plan on separating...

Ok, so why am I talking about this Well, I kinda feel like I'm being hypocritical recycling a few newspapers off of an airplane that burns a couple thousand pounds of jet fuel on a two hour trip. If held personally responsible for these carbon emissions, I would never be able to make it up! With Earth Day just a few days ago, I was happy to hear there is a lot of attention being paid to such emissions. There was just The 3rd Aviation & Environment Summit 2008 (22-23 April) in Geneva, Switzerland, where the aviation industry has been working together relentlessly to further limit its environmental impact. Their vision is to achieve carbon neutral growth and to eventually become carbon-free. This vision is supported by a four-pillar strategy based on technological progress, infrastructure enhancements, operational improvements and suitable economic instruments. Additionally, that site links to, which will tell you everything you ever needed to know about aviation and climate change:

This website is an initiative of the commercial aviation industry. There are many myths and untruths about aviation’s impact on the environment. The aim of this website, developed by the commercial aviation industry, is to set the record straight. We recognise that aviation has an environmental impact and is a part of the problem. Aviation is also determined to be a part of the solution – and we are committed to doing everything we can to limit aviation’s impact on the environment. As an industry, we are taking a great many practical measures to limit our emissions. Each part of the aviation industry from airlines to airports to air navigation services providers to manufacturers is playing an important role. The pages throughout this site will show you the many initiatives and developments underway.
Here are the Questions answered on the site:
What is aviation’s contribution to climate change?
Isn’t it true that emissions at altitude have a far greater impact on the environment?
What is a contrail? What is their effect on climate change?
Do aircraft take the most direct route between point of departure and destination?
Can aircraft use biofuels or alternative fuel sources?
What are aircraft manufacturers doing to improve aircraft technology and design?
Are aircraft engines improving?
Isn’t travelling by train better for the environment than flying?
How does carbon offsetting work?
Is airport and airline waste recycled?
Why do we taxi for such a long time?
Why do we often circle for so long before we land?
Which form of transport contributes the most to climate change?
What sorts of things can I do to limit the climate change impact of my flight?
What is the EU emissions trading scheme, and how does it work?
How are quotas for emissions allocated under an emissions trading scheme?
What does the aviation industry think of its inclusion in the European emissions trading scheme?
Will green taxes help reduce emissions?
Should I be flying less?
Why don’t you pay fuel tax?
What is the aviation sector doing to reduce its impact on the environment?
How often do EU airlines renew their fleet?
Does an aeroplane create more greenhouse gases during take-off?
What is the impact of reducing the weight of aircraft on the emissions they produce?
What role does air transport play in transporting supplies across the world?
Should “food miles” be used as a way of measuring the environmental impact of transporting cargo?
What impact does air cargo have on the third world?

1 comment:

  1. The EPA and the FAA both testified early in April about the greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft. Both of the agencies felt that aircraft should be less of a worry than automobiles, since aircraft represent about 3% of the emissions of greenhouse gases in the U.S. every year.

    Joe Lieberman and John Warner have offered a bill, S.2191, that will set up emission trading that will include aircraft emissions. ICAO, the international civil aviation organization, of which the U.S. is a member, strongly supports a trading program.

    For more information about the testimony of the EPA and the FAA see