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Is it ethical to travel by airplane?

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Toby Hemingway's response on Permaculture Mailing List Apr 7 2012: 

None of us would know what permaculture was if Mollison hadn't spent a million miles or more on jets. And all the itinerant teachers I know follow Bill's injunction to go only where invited. I don't solicit travel jobs. Sure, some of us may have been seduced by the romance of hours in endless airport lines, being frisked by TSA goons, waking up in sterile hotel rooms or on smelly couches, and being away from those we love. But, akiva, consider the possibility that your colleagues are nearly as smart as you are and have weighed the impact of their travel, and have decided that the benefits outweigh the costs.

I just got back from 12 days of lectures and workshops in Canada and Washington State. I saw roughly 1000 people. My trip raised about $18,000 for local permaculture groups and non-profits. For some of the organizers who live very frugally, what they earned from my visit will support them for months. Two tar-sands engineers in Calgary told me that they will begin using fungi to decontaminate toxic sites instead of the chemical incineration they use now (and they are high enough in mega-petro corporations to make that happen). Two others are quitting their jobs. A salmon biologist told me "the last two days will change the next two years of my life." One lecture got 26 new members for a local permaculture guild. The husband of one of my hosts, who never cared about permaculture before, is now organizing neighborhood potlucks. And those are just a few of the dozens of effects I heard about; I suspect there are others. The tar-sands engineers alone will pay off my carbon footprint pretty much for the rest of my life, I think.

In the words of Larry Santoyo, it's not your footprint, it's your handprint. I'm pretty comfortable that my handprint outweighs my footprint. As Killian said, some systems thinking, instead of a dogmatic 'travel is always wrong,' openpermaculture.org

asked in Permaculture by (2.4k points)
Sustainable Aviation: Is it Possible ?

Climate mitigation has been considered particularly challenging for aviation, in part due to the difficulty of electrification. Biofuels produced from ligno-cellulosic feedstocks, in conjunction with operational changes to avoid contrails and nitrogen oxide emissions, have the potential to create a low-carbon or even a carbon-negative aviation sector.

Presenter: Thomas Cheney is currently working towards a Master's degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Northern British Columbia

1 Answer

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  • Permaculture Principle 1: "Observe the system" (before laying moral judgement)
  • Permaculture principle 4: "Accept feedback and self-regulate"... not dogma ("travel is bad") 
  • Check a carbon emissions offset calculator to find out how much to offset. and remember: carbon is not the only thing that needs to be offset
answered by (2.4k points)
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