What Would You Do if There Were No Airplanes?
Why airplanes might be the worst invention ever
Recently, I listened to Lisa speak about how she had to travel from Malta where she works to Spain for a very important exam. There were no direct flights between her chosen airports on the day she wanted to travel and because she couldn’t take extra days off from work, she had to make several connecting flights. It took her 5 flights to get from her city in Malta to her city in Spain and back in time for work.
After listening to her story and pondering a bit on it, I asked her „what would you do if there were no airplanes”?
I asked this question partly as a joke, but partly to hear how meticulously she had planned her trip before travelling. You see, I’ve known Lisa for a while, and she is very vocal about climate change. If there is anybody who would think of the climate and environmental impact of their actions, it is Lisa.
But it turned out that I was wrong. Lisa had not thought about the impact that boarding 5 huge aircraft to go between two cities would have on the environment. She had known about her travel for months in advance, but she didn’t bother to come up with the most environmentally efficient to travel. This is because just like all of us, she is a victim of something I want to call the “I can always catch a flight” mentality.
So the question I asked Lisa, I want to ask you now;
“What would you do if there were no airplanes”?
Since the Wright brothers invented airplanes in 1903, they have become a very convenient means of travel. Because of ease and speed of travel, we increasingly rely on airplanes for inter-city travel. But we never stop to ask ourselves, what is the cost of this convenience?
I don’t want to bore you with statistics about emissions by airplanes compared with emissions by other means of travel such as trains and water locomotives. You can do a quick google search if you are curious. You will find that airplanes pollute the environment massively compared to these other means of travel.
But you still have to travel between cities and countries right? Some of your travels will come up impromptu and you might not have enough time to think about efficiency or the environment when you book that flight.
In all honesty, I can’t blame you for those impromptu trips. But what about the trips where you have enough time to plan?
No matter how important you think your trip is, people travelled for more important trips before airplanes became a thing
So before you make that next trip, ask yourself if taking airplanes are the only option you have. Find out what other travel options exist for travel between your desired destination(s). If airplanes are the only options available, then what days and routes are the most efficient?
The most efficient routes are the travel routes where you expend the least amount of carbon monoxide.
If you must catch a flight, travel using the most efficient routes.
Most times this means using a direct flight, or the route with the least amount of connecting flights. Equally, the most efficient travel options produce the least amount of carbon monoxide. If you have the option of travelling by train or other less polluting means of travel, why are you taking an airplane? — who are you really trying to impress?
Luckily, there is increasing awareness of climate change and global warming and many people are taking active steps that help the planet. But going green doesn’t stop at food and recycling.
You cannot claim to be a champion for the climate while you are conveniently jetting around the world in airplanes without giving second thoughts to the consequences of your actions. This would be the height of hypocrisy.
Note: To protect identity, the names of individuals and some countries have been changed