Last weekend while judging a local high school debate tournament, the affirmative team promoted enhancing communication amongst NATO allies to prevent wars and other global conflicts. They suggested ZOOM calls and other forms of virtual communication rather than traveling for in-person meetings. It got me think about air travel.
Air travel is expensive. If you were to compare Park City, Utah to Garden City, Kansas, the ratio of air trips per person would be significantly higher for Park City simply due to affluency. Many Park City folks travel regularly, sometimes monthly because they can. The beach, retreats, visiting friends and family, other ski resorts, and the list goes on…
When my friends from New Zealand visited me years ago, they had a hard time leaving Utah’s canyons and landscapes. Do we not realize and appreciate what we have in our own backyard? Not to mention the culture and natural gems that can be found in our neighboring states. The car, especially a fuel-efficient or electric one, will always trump the carbon footprint of a commercial plane seat.
Many now accept climate change and even claim to be eco-minded, but how many of our actions reflect our acceptance and desire to change? We may recycle and compost, reduce our energy and water usage, adapt our diet to eat less meat, buy more organic food and local products to reduce our footprint, but what about carbon-intensive “elephant in the room” air travel? Perhaps it’s time to alter our travel desires to local destinations and nix some business trips for the Zoom room. If NATO can do it, surely we can.
By Mary Closser