View Full Version : Blowing your own environmental credit

1-25-11, 1:44pm
I often hear folks discuss how they are doing such and such for the environment, really comparing themselves to lesser folks. I believe that you can do a LOT of good things to help the environment and that is great, but then you can offset it with other actions. Get my meaning?

How about, great little car, small home etc, but lots of jet travel?
I feel that travelling is the invisible way we use up a lot of our environmental points we have banked up doing other good things.

Now I am not suggesting we not travel; and it is good that we do the other environmental actions. What I am suggesting is that it is pretty hard to compare how "well" we are doing in regards to other people. Do you kwim?

1-25-11, 6:02pm
Not quite sure where you are going with this. Are you asking where we blow our credits or where we are building up some credits?

FWIW, I resolved to not fly ever again as my effort towards helping my DGS' future. I have travelled to Europe, North and South Africa, Cuba, Bahamas, most of Canada and parts of the US but would have loved to travel in Japan, eastern Europe and South America.
Fortunately, my travel desire has reduced as I have been increasingly content with my peaceful life at home and grateful for what I have experienced and presently enjoy.
Not sure where that leaves my environmental credit though;)

1-25-11, 8:01pm
Yup, who cares what others think of you? Live your life according to your values.

1-25-11, 8:04pm
No I am getting at the delusion that some people are under; that they are doing so much for the environment, because they don't see the extent of some of their actions.

iris lily
1-25-11, 10:21pm
razz, I remember when you made that sacrifice, no flying, and that is a big one. I respect you for that. It's not one I will make.

1-25-11, 10:24pm
I agree and I think that travel is our un-greenest action as well. I also kind of think that buying clothes at department stores is somehow better in some way, at least quality-wise, but I know it really isn't. I wouldn't be surprised if the clothes from Macy's and the ones from Target were made on the same machines. I suppose that's not green but it's about human rights and local economy.

My DSIL, bless her intentions, will go on and on about all the green things they do, which are indeed many, but then drinks what looks like to me to be dozens of bottled teas a week.

1-25-11, 11:47pm
There will always be someone who, in relation to me, 1) does more and thinks they do less, or 2) does less and thinks they do more. Just when I think I'm doing pretty good, someone higher up the enviro-warrior food chain will criticize me for writing with plastic ink pens or drinking the Wrong coffee or using tampons. It never ends, you know?

If people in my life are open to learning about how they can do more (see how air travel impacts things, calculate their footprint, etc etc) I share with them what I know and then let it go. I would drive myself mad riding shotgun over everybody else's actions.

I figure, blessings on anyone who tries to change things for the better, in large ways or small. There are so many in the country - in the world - who don't (or can't) do anything at all to help.

1-25-11, 11:52pm
Even if your intentions are good, it can be complicated. We like the idea of buying our way out of the environmental problems, but it's often more wasteful to buy a new thing, however greenly made, than to go on using the old thing or buy something used. A friend of mine bragged how much gas a group of us were saving by taking motorcycles somewhere instead of a car, cuz the bikes got 50 mpg to the car's 35. But we rode Three bikes. So as a group, to go 100 miles we actually used twice as much gas even though each individual felt very virtuous. It's really difficult to wade through the sea of missed assumptions and intentional greenwashing nonsense sometimes, I think doing the best we can and not stressing over the things we miss is really all we can do.

ETA: Even flying can save CO2 over driving in certain circumstances. I need to go from phoenix to chicago and back, by myself. If I fly, using the example of an american airlines economy flight, I will produce 3034 pounds of CO2. If I drive my35 mpg car, I will produce 2012 pounds. However, if my vehicle only got 20 mpg, I would create 3521 pounds - 15-20% more than if I'd flown. By and large, I think avoiding flying and the kind of commitment Razz has made is an awesome accomplishment. This isn't to put her down at all, just to say that even the most black and white situations ... aren't, always, so black and white.


1-26-11, 12:19am
Especially since we've been fulltime RVers, so open to the accusations of spending that diesel traveling, that we've been extra conscious about looking at our TOTAL energy footprint, so made a huge effort to reduce that by extremely little use of water, producing our electricity with solar panels, living in less than 300 sq. ft. that seldom ever needs to be air conditioned or heated because we've trained ourselves to be comfortable from 55-95 degrees without either, buying what little we buy mostly used, eating low on the food chain, not commuting to jobs, etc.

But, in recent years, that has been of more concern (in 13 years, we've driven the motorhome about 65,000 miles), and was instrumental in our decision to buy this little lot at Glen Eden to have a home base, and travel less, and not so far afield.

We've only traveled by air once in the past ten years, but that was a trans-Atlantic flight, so burned up a LOT of energy credits, I'm sure. We don't plan any more anytime in the reasonable future.

It's hard. I think if we put our total energy and consumption footprint up against most, we'd still come out really good, but there is always room for improvement, and we are constantly rethinking priorities, and what's best to do in the future.

1-26-11, 12:19am
As hard as we all might try to be good environmental citizens, I've sure each of us has our short comings. But travel is one that seems to carry a pretty big carbon footprint. I think maybe that people who environmentally concious also have a tendency to want to learn about and see more of the world and the people we live with. So maybe the category of travel and environmentalism are married in thought or class. It's large step people have trouble giving up. I sure have a few friends who have the latest in solar power and hybrid carss, but travel often for pleasure internationally. I'm retired and had always put travel high on the list of things I thought I would enjoy, but anymore have resigned myself to being satisfied with mostly short trips. Which is not a bad thing. I've always thought of the eco-tourism as being a contradition of terms. I've yet to give up trying to see family and close friends who live a little further away.

There are probably other good examples of intentional or unintentional oversights a lot of environmently concious folks have, but travel is a good one. Another big one by my accounting would be anything beyond a small consumption of meat, especially from factory farms, and many kinds of seafood and shellfish.

1-26-11, 12:19pm
I figure, blessings on anyone who tries to change things for the better, in large ways or small. There are so many in the country - in the world - who don't (or can't) do anything at all to help.

Puglogic sums up my attitude. I don't see any point in establishing a green pecking order.

I'm no Ed Begley, but I do and have done my part environmentally and I wouldn't feel guilty about traveling in a jam-packed plane that's taking off with me or without me. I'm speaking philosophically--I hate flying and haven't done so for years, but I would like to get to Europe eventually.

1-26-11, 12:35pm
I refuse to compete with anyone else on the issue. I try to live my life in a manner I can be proud of, making conscious choices along the way.
I may never be as green as my neighbor but that is not my goal.

If I live my life, including several trips a year in my 9mpg motorhome and mitigate that with making other conscious choices such as commuting on my motorcycle in the spring/summer/fall and my hybrid vehicle when weather becomes an issue, I won't be held hostage by others opinions.

2-5-11, 3:33am
I like travel more in theory than in reality too. I've only twice ever left the continental U.S. (and one of those times was to go to Hawaii with my parents growing up!). In reality I hate planes. But still ... I'd kinda like to someday (though I still hate planes :)).