Could You Do a Year of No Flying?

October 21, 2009

As environmentalists who already believed that they themselves must create change, finding out how much they were adding to the problem was tough news. Here's an excerpt from their blog, Year of No Flying:

Our flights overseas were killing us, totally undoing every other green effort we were making. We hemmed and hawed, but global warming is still a numbers game. We wouldn't do faulty accounting at work, and couldn't bring ourselves to do it at home. If we need to reduce CO2 emissions by 90 percent by 2050, then that can't exclude the aviation sector, responsible for about 3 percent of global emissions, more than all but a few countries.

To kick off their year long journey, the couple hitched a ride on the MV Hanjin Madrid -- a container ship going from Seattle to Yokohama, Japan. Container ships aren't especially green, but as they explain: "From our position, because a container ship carries cargo, we're essentially hitching a free ride. Our presence and our dollars are insignificant when compared to the ... goods being transported, so our choice to travel or not travel by freighter won't affect the success or failure of the route ...." They recommend trying the 10-day journey next time you're heading East.

Anirvan and Barnali have been meeting with environmental activists along the way, from Ravi Gadad of Project DX in Portland, OR to Tokyo agricultural innovator Yoshihisa Haruyama who wants to bring fresh, local foods into Tokyo's 12-hour day offices through his company Trace.

Keep up with Anirvan and Barnali as they continue to eschew aviation -- what will it be next? a camel to Mongolia? a rowboat to Russia? -- and report back on the green news from abroad. Meanwhile, for environmental news at home, join in the International Day of Climate Action this Saturday, October 24. Find out more here.




No, I cannot do a year without flying.