Upon landing in Aberdeen for All Energy at the end of May I was greeted with the message “Welcome to Aberdeen. At [an unnameable airline] we are concerned about our environmental impact, please leave your newspaper in the front row for recycling”. It just made me really annoyed if I’m honest. It is yet another highlight of where we can focus our efforts on the wrong thing. Recycling a newspaper is not the equivalent to offsetting the flight you just too! We are also ignoring our consumption, as George Monbiot’s article discusses much more articulately than I can.
On my recent holiday to Canada there was a huge public effort to eat more sustainable fish and reducing wood consumption. Everywhere we went you could recycle paper and cardboard yet there was few opportunities to recycle plastics. Again it seems we are focusing our efforts in the wrong areas. No Canadian’s mentioned their tar sands exploits and the only Canadian I met working in the energy sector insinuated that Canada had so much oil in the ground it would last another 200 years so why would they focus efforts anywhere else.
There was no mention of the words carbon or emissions, which is particularly concerning for me considered we have recently had the first recording of 400 parts per million CO2 in our atmosphere. Recently I conducted my own carbon footprint online using this link, which highlights how much impact my travelling has on my personal CO2 emissions. It was more than double the national average (and that is not including business travel).
Today a commitment was made by airlines to reduce their carbon emissions, but does it go far enough? And does offsetting your emissions really help at all? I’m yet to be convinced about offsetting but in my naïve optimism, I have decided (come pay day) to offset set my emissions through the World Land Trust. While I recognise this is a sticking plaster over what is potentially a rather large environmental wound I think it goes some way towards reduce my impacts before I am willing to change my own behaviours.