Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I'm wondering...

...how David Suzuki feels about the zillions of hours he spends travelling around.

He's a passionate environmentalist, he hosts the Nature of Things, he was nominated as one of Canada's "Greatest Canadians", and he's published lots of great books about the environment, like the Sacred Balance. I've been lucky enough to hear him speak in person a couple of times. Each time I am struck by his passion, his conviction.. and a sense that he feels complete frustration with his audience. He just doesn't understand why the rest of the world doesn't see the problems we're creating for ourselves as a result of all our unsustainable activities.

He jets all over the place to try and get his message across... and air travel is apparently a big problem for greenhouse gas emissions. He is a great speaker, and an accessible speaker. Everyone who hears him understands what he's talking about - and feels motivated to do something. I think we need people like him to educate and motivate the rest of us.

But I still wonder... how does he feel every time he steps on a plane?


Caroline said...

Cost-benefit, I guess. He probably figures that his message will spur people and governments to action and this outweighs the jet fuel he is using (indirectly).

Simone said...

He also probably offsets his flights. Check out http://www.offsetters.com/ - it was set up by people that we know in Vancouver and they have recently partnered with Westjet - which is exciting. They have also recently set up a similar program for driving - maybe a better way to offset your driving if the greyhound doesn't cut it! Oh, a bit more "googling" reveals that the David Suzuki Foundation has their own Carbon Neutral Page with info about offsetting - http://www.davidsuzuki.org/Climate_Change/What_You_Can_Do/carbon_neutral.asp

Simone said...

oh, the driving program is www.cooldrivepass.ca (I meant to put that link in the previous comment)

Happy Owl said...

Simone - you're so right. I should have thought of that, having recently attended a carbon-neutral conference. D'oh!

It's a fabulous and brilliant strategy for combating global warming - and can have co-benefits by reducing emissions that aren't greenhouse gases but harm health... but here my ignorance speaking: what about where the emissions are actually happening vs. where the reductions are happening? My understanding is that these are not necessarily geographically related.

What I'm wondering is: is it theoretically possible to have a community that's offsetting it's entire emissions but is still polluted?

The adverse impact of this situation would not be related to greenhouse gases (which WAS the issue I raised in the original post, I know!)... but every time someone travels, there are also emissions of NOx, SOx, VOCs - things that create smog - and cause health problems.

Does this even vaguely make sense?