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On the Road

World Paddle Info

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Air Travel And The Environment The Paddler’s Planet-SUP Radio

Airplane Photo credit FAAOur love of paddling and love of life takes many of us to the far reaches of the planet.

But all of that travel comes with a cost to the environment—one that we can soften by being more aware of the impacts. Join Leslie and Christian for a good discussion of the environmental issues of air travel, this time on The Paddler’s Planet.

Travel is a wonderful experience that allows us to grow and enrich our lives. And each form of travel has its own set of impacts on the environment—mainly from the energy used to move us around. The Union of Concerned Scientists has calculated those impacts, showing a range from buses, hybrid cars, and trains at the low end of travel in terms of carbon emissions, all the way up to SUVs and flying—particularly first class (since those seats take up more space). (http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/clean_vehicles/

greentravel_report.pdf)Stand Up Paddle Car Shuttle Photo Credit Joan Vienot

That research shows that the little changes people make to reduce the impact of their daily lives can be totally overwhelmed by things like air travel and driving our cars. For example, the fuel used per person (about 20 gallons) for a relatively short round trip flight between New York and North Carolina is the same as it takes to make 1764 plastic water bottles. (http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2005/10/1/181114/667)

Many airlines allow the purchase of carbon offsets when a flight is booked. These offsets fund things like clean energy or environmental restoration projects that reduce carbon pollution. Delta Airlines, for example, allows travelers to purchase carbon offsets that account for the amount of pollution their specific trip will create. Those extra monies go to The Nature Conservancy for its use on forest conservation and replanting projects that will help store carbon and keep it out of the atmosphere.

Car Shuttle photo credit George E. SayourThe point is not to feel guilty about travel but rather to have full knowledge of its impacts and to make good decisions from that on how to travel more efficiently and to travel less.  For most of us there are great places to paddle and explore close to home. And if you do drive, bringing along some friends greatly improves efficiency by allowing more people to have the travel experience for basically the same amount of overall impact. Plus, it can be a lot more fun to bring along some friends. Learn more about the environmental issues of travel, this week on The Paddler’s Planet.

Enjoy the podcast now:

You can also listen on Stitcher Radio and iTunes

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