John Travolta

Hints for reducing your environmental impact. Watch out, John Travolta may spoil it all in a 5 minutes fun ride with his private Boeing 707.
Everyday more people are concerned about the environment. They want to help. Some are at a loss, more concerned about recycling plastic grocery bags than the emissions generated by their brand new SUV. What is the right thing to do?
Most of the environmental impact comes from three sources only. We could greatly reduce the impact by setting consumer’s priorities straight:
(1)    Driving and flying less
(2)    Eating less meat
(3)    Moving to smaller houses
The reason is these three household areas of expenses account for 80% of greenhouse emissions and 67% of water pollution 1. The rest, for now, could be ignored.
Let’s take housing as an example. From 1970 to 2010 the size of the average house in the US has grown 42% 2. For the average middle class family, a bigger house means more lighting, more appliances, larger refrigerators, more heating/air-conditioning, more vacuuming, more yard power tools and more fertilizers for the lawn. Back in the 1970’s families were larger and lived in smaller houses, yet still, many people led fulfilling and satisfying lives. It is reasonable to think that moving back to a smaller house won’t necessarily hurt. Lots of energy, and money, would be saved.
But the key here is what to do with that money saved. After all we are not going to burn it; and going back to the shopping mall would undermine all the efforts.
The ideal situation would be to work less. If you can´t, plant a tree, go to the gym, hire a yoga guru, send your kids to a better university or sponsor a child in India - anything instead of high environmental impact moves such as buying a motor boat or travelling overseas.
To be honest, when it comes to the environment, I do not believe much in citizens’ personal action. I don’t think it works. Some individuals choose to ride their bike to work every day for the sake of the environment. Then, one idiot like John Travolta takes a fun ride with his private Boeing 707, and just in 5 minutes 3, he dumps into the atmosphere as much CO2 emissions as the biker’s savings in one year.
We're either in this together, or we call the whole thing off.
 (1) The Consumer’s Guide to Effective Environmental Choices. Practical advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists. Michael Brower Ph.D. Warren Leon Ph.D.
(2)    United States Census Bureau. Average square feet of floor area in new single-family houses
(3)    Based on 30 gallons/minute fuel consumption estimate. Actual fuel consumption depends on payload and engine configuration.

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