Leaving on a (Carbon-Unfriendly) Jet Plane

I think it goes without saying that we all deserve a vacation every now and then.  I don't get to travel as much as I'd like, but when I do, I try to make it count.  And so it is that I'll be going on "blog hiatus" for a few weeks while I make my very first trip to Africa to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.

A trip like this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing for sure, but it is not without environmental consequences.  I've calculated my carbon footprint a number of times, and without travel, it looks pretty good - almost European good!  WITH travel, however, it's challenging.  The problem of course, is with planes and the type and amount of fuel that they consume. Cars are one thing... we all know that they use gas and that traditional combustion engines produce carbon emissions.  But car design and development cycles have responded much more quickly to the issue of fuel efficiency than planes, which have longer lifecycles and require massive amounts of effort to design, build and test.  Plane manufacturers like Boeing are tackling this issue of fuel efficiency, for sure, but widespread use of these planes is still years away.  In the meantime, one of the best things we can do is try to combine trips whenever possible, or offset our trips by purchasing carbon offsets from places like TerraPass.

If you're interested in finding out what your carbon footprint is like, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works sponsors a great carbon footprint calculator here.  If you're interested in finding out what climate change is doing to Mt. Kilimanjaro, stay tuned!  I'll tell you all about it when I return...

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