the side effects of air travel

The plane: a way to cross the greatest distances in the shortest possible time. You are able to see places you would never have guessed, and maybe to experience encounters that change your life as you know it.

What comes to my mind while boarding is: air pollution, greenhouse gases and aircraft noise that have become  harmful to humans and animals. Then I have a guilty conscience and intend to do better next time. But how am I supposed to do that?
Kerosene and pollution
Kerosene is a fuel used for the operation of aircraft. Incineration may release harmful substances such as aerosols, oxides of soda and water vapour. They have a significant contribution to global warming. Climate disasters, unfortunately, already seem like annual fixed dates.

Construction and operation
When a new airport is built, environmentalists usually climb onto the barricades. Why? Quite simply because apart from daily operations, airports also consume a lot of electricity and other resources. In addition, an airport requires a lot of space. Even if we do not have it, we can easily make room by  deforestation, cultivating land and chase animals away.


The climate damage
Especially when greenhouse gases and harmful substances such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, soot and sulfur particles as well as water vapor are released at altitudes, the degradation of those takes place very slowly and thus linger longer in our atmosphere and contribute more to the greenhouse effect. Like in a greenhouse heat is collected and it is getting hotter.

Our CO-2 budget
Often when we treat ourselves, we think about: how much does it cost and Can I afford that with my budget? But flying is not just about money. Basically, it is also about how much CO2 emissions we cause with our lifestyle and what effect those have.

As we share the earth as a home with all other creatures and their offspring, we must also keep them as clean and functional as possible. We have set ourselves the goal of keeping global warming within limits. So under 2 degrees.

Thats why every person has theoretically 2,300 kg of CO2 per year in their CO2 budget. But with a single flight this is exhausted, depending on where you are going.
Even everyday activities such as driving a car and everything else that causes CO2 emissions are „paid“ out of this pot.
Most people with a Western lifestyle, as you can imagine, live way beyond their own costs. Even me, that’s why I have a bad conscience.


Car sharing, bus or train
Some routes can really be tackled by bus, train or car. Of course, it is more convenient, usually faster and often cheaper to fly by plane. One should work on that and expand the offer for alternative means of travel. Because then maybe more people would get on a bus or the train.

It really pays off to take a bus as an alternative to the plane, at least for shorter distances. Depending on how well you  prepare for such a trip that can even be really fun .

Do I really need it?
Even  many business trips can be handled differently. Because with modern technologies, we not only save the burden on the environment, but also money and time. For me that sounds a lot more efficient.
A destination that is not at the end of the world can be beautiful too. We usually find many beautiful places in our home country. Maybe the family holiday can take place this year without a plane? Here you will find travel deals without a plane.
Compensate
Sometimes we are not able or willing enough to travel without air traffic. Then compensating is a possibility. Sites like
Co2mpensio and atmosfair allow you to balance your carbon footprint and invest in environmental projects such as reforestation. It is not the solution. Because the solution is: flying less, or more environmentally friendly technologies.But if it has to be the plane, then 23 Euro per ton of carbon dioxide are calculated, which you can donate. This will at least pay for the external costs that we all have to bear sooner or later because of the environmental impact.
Number of passengers
If you’re the only person on a train, traveling by train is not necessarily more environmentally friendly. It highly depends on how many people take the chance to travel more sustainable. So that means no matter whether bus, train, car or plane – they are only really environmentally friendly when they are busy.

But….Public transport such as Bus and rail are the best for the environment in terms of power consumption and CO2 emissions.
„Per seat and kilometer, rail and bus emit around 20 grams of CO2, the car 50 grams, the domestic plane 100 grams,“ explained Ulrich Höpfner, director of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (Ifeu).
 
It is not always easy not to fly. Especially when you are not alone or under time stress. Many people think it is exaggerated to wonder if there may not be an alternative to the plane. But no, that’s not it. Because hurricanes, species extinction, floods, droughts, tsunamis and climate change in themselves are worth avoiding.

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