Flying Green?

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By Maeve Hogel


The other day, I was making arrangements for traveling in South America after the COP is over. I was purchasing my plane ticket on Student Universe when I noticed, under a box asking me if I wanted to purchase travel insurance, a box that was labeled “Fly Green: Offset Emissions”. Show above, the box asked me if I was interested in taking 3500 lbs of CO2 out of the air and help with forestry projects in the US and China for the low low price of $24.95.

Airplanes are obviously a source of large emissions, but as someone who loves to travel, I’ve never been able to commit to idea of decreasing my use of airplanes in order to reduce my carbon footprint. I feel that many people probably feel a similar guilt when traveling, but are also unwilling to cut airplanes out of their lives. The ability to donate a little money after purchasing a plane ticket that goes to apparently taking CO2 out of the atmosphere could alleviate that guilt. However, what is the $24.95 actually going to? 3500 lbs of CO2 being taken out of the air how? In theory it seems like such a good idea, trying to offset your carbon emissions from flying through. But is this really just a way to feel less guilty and not actually a practical way to help the environment? Or is this an option we will be seeing more and more off when purchasing plane tickets in the future?


3 Replies to “Flying Green?”

  1. Maeve – I often think about this as well. When I fly back home to Los Angeles my flight sometimes is up to 7 hours long because of the layovers and such. I think about my growing carbon footprint but I also think about my desire to travel once I am out of college. I wonder if we’ll be able to develop a cleaner, greener way to fly. Here is an interesting article from the EPA that I found that I think you might find useful:

  2. Maeve, have you seen the proposed ideas of a “windowless plane” ? Well apparently taking the windows out of a plane makes the plane lighter and therefore uses less fuel. This windowless plane will be cheaper to build, and in turn will result in cheaper flights! This could be the next move towards reducing our carbon footprint in the sky. Often airfare is expensive and not many people will be willing to add an extra $24.95 to their bill. Air travel is certainly not something people are willing to give up. This seems like another way to “fly green” but will this plane actually become a reality?

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