Another topic dear to the heart of Holifield Farm project manager, Robert West, is that of aviation. Amidst the excitement of a holiday or the ease of speedy travel, should the environmental impact of flying be a consideration?
An article by The Guardian, adapted from Duncan Clark’s The Rough Guide to Green Living, explores the percentage of greenhouse gas emissions caused by aviation, theorising that the often quoted ‘1.5%-2%’ could stretch as far as 13%-15%, or beyond.
The article goes on to point out, however, that ‘most people in the UK don’t regularly fly’ and that the emissions are largely due to ‘the air travel of a minority’.
Aside from using alternative modes of transport, or simply flying less, the article recommends ‘picking airlines that are closer to home’ and travelling light, for anyone wanting to make a positive change.
Some good news for those wanting to make such a change is that the most ‘eco-friendly’ flights may well also be the cheapest, as ‘budget airlines pack more passengers on each flight and typically have younger, more fuel-efficient fleets’.
The New York Times’ Tatiana Schlossberg suggests putting money towards replanting trees, or even donating to conservation programs in order to offset some of the impacts on the environment.
But what about the industry itself? In Flying towards a Sustainable Future, Air Transport Action Group’s Michael Gill notes that sustainable alternative fuels can be ‘up to 80% less carbon intensive than traditional fossil-based jet fuel’. Gill also highlights the importance of commercializing said fuels, and the need for governments to ‘put in place the right policy framework’ to help make this happen. Gill asserts that these goals ‘are attainable’, ending his article on the positive assertion that ‘if there’s any sector that has proven it can innovate to achieve what was once thought impossible, it’s the aviation industry.’
What do you think about the role aviation has to play in the quest for a more sustainable world?