I’m not a fan of flying. Not that I’m afraid, of course. Flying is much safer than driving, so they tell us. But the carbon footprint is a lot larger, and of all the activities you can do to lower your carbon footprint, not flying is one of the big ones. Of all the ways to reduce your carbon footprint, a few basic items:
- become a vegetarian
- forego air travel
- ditch your car
- have fewer children (the biggest impact)
It was amazing then, today, to get an email from an airline company, wanting to celebrate Earth Day (with a prize of … flights!). Links to vote on your favorite causes were provided… but not one of them was regarding population growth/overpopulation.
It is the elephant in the room, of course. Having children in industrialized countries like America, places a huge load on the ecosystem (relative to other countries), but talking about it is somewhat taboo. There are, of course, some more radical ideas on the whole topic of human existence and population.
One question to ask someone who “cares about the environment” is to ask what they think the carrying capacity of the planet is, or should be (if it is possible to “will” a carrying capacity). And then ask them if they are having children, and how many [late edit]. Or ask them if they fly by air for vacation.
We live in a world where many of us need to fly or drive for work. If you don’t own a car or have kids, and fly for vacation once in a blue moon, then perhaps your footprint is smaller than those who own a car and commute. But having kids is the big one.
- What is the carrying capacity of the Earth, for humans? The estimates vary widely; from 100 million to 40 billion. The Georgia Guidestones call for a population of 500 million.
- Is Earth Day just another marketing day, like Christmas, Memorial Day, or Labor Day?
- How do you personally stack up with the big items above?
- Bringing these items up is difficult; how do you do it without antagonizing your audience?