[Christie Aschwanden]Yet despite the danger, flying rarely provokes the kind of environmental shame that driving a Hummer or running the washer and dryer with a single item might. It’s hard to say exactly why, but I have a theory -- it’s easy to act like an environmentalist when it means buying cool new stuff like reusable grocery bags, a high-efficiency washer, or a hybrid car. When doing the green thing requires actual sacrifice or a substantial change in lifestyle, well, that’s where most of us draw the line.I stayed within 100 miles of my house for a year: The case against airplanes and for staying put. - Slate Magazine
...[Megan McArdle] So why, pray tell, do we spend so much time talking about suburban sprawl and sport utilities, and so little time talking about FedEx and European vacations?
The question answers itself, doesn’t it? Giving up air travel and overnight delivery is much more personally costly for the public intellectuals who write about this stuff than giving up a big SUV. If you live in one of the five or six major cities that contain virtually everyone who writes about climate change, having a small car (or no car), is a pretty easy adjustment to imagine. On the other hand, try to imagine giving up far-flung vacations, conferences, etc. -- especially since travel to interesting locales is one of the hidden perks of not-very-well remunerated positions at universities, public policy groups, nongovernmental organizations, and yes, news organizations.
If we’re going to get serious about greenhouse gasses, we need to get serious about air travel. Going to a distant conference should attract the kind of scorn among the chattering classes that is currently reserved for buying a Hummer.
Don’t be fooled: Every time you get on an airplane, you’re helping to shove a Bangladeshi’s home under water.