Flights and private vehicles together contribute to over 10% of global emissions. Ships, trucks, trains, buses and bikes do too, but their per person emission is way lower.Though 10% might seem insignificant, if we continued with business-as-usual, they are expected to increase exponentially over the next decade.
I choose to not use any more numbers. I now choose to move into the yin-space of how I'm sensing into this whole transportation scene and its contribution to climate change.* And what we can do.
Firstly, when we talk about transportation, by focusing only on the emissions is a very narrow view 'we are missing the wood for the trees’, as they say! Here is more of the larger picture to be seen and acknowledged.
Aeroplane and car factories too!Fuel for driving and aviation, and for running all the infrastructure (airports, manufacturing, etc.) is got from oil-drilling and laying oil pipelines further adding to deforestation and displacement.
What I'd like to focus on here is not private choices, but the larger systemic issue. I'd like to stay focused on how capitalism / globalisation is designed to only increase unsustainable travel.
Globally, political interest is hugely subsidising the aviation & car industries to habituate people into driving private vehicles and frequent flying, taking away from investment in public transportation systems; and in fact, making it less and less accessible. This is capitalism by design. More vehicles on the road and in the air means a faster growing economy.
CLIMATE SANKALPA #3.1 Let’s join and support all movements to promote public transportation and create cycling paths. Let's resist all road-expansions, expressways and new airports. We already have more than enough! Let’s vote for those who have clearly stated this in their manifesto to come into power.
Let cycling be the first option for local travel. Bus and train for long distances. Let personal car driving and air travel be the last option. When we do need to drive or fly, let’s learn to acknowledge, connect to and stay with the ‘moral disturbance’ we feel about the destruction our action is causing.
CLIMATE SANKALPA #3.2 Let's increasingly plug out of global corporations and plug into small and local businesses, with more local clients and suppliers. Strengthening the local economy is the only way to significantly cut down unnecessary travel.
The global economy habituates people into mindless consumerism of everything, including tourism. Cheap flying has increased rampant tourism not only releasing more carbon emissions, but also trashing the planet. Including the Mount Everest you see below. All of those are discarded tents! Watch this hard-hitting video.
CLIMATE SANKALPA #3.3
The best way to travel around to see and experience world cultures is by land, unless you can't get a visa for a particular country or you need to cross the ocean. Make a leisurely and long tour-plan and travel by bus and train. Join groups like the ‘Green Silk Road’ which are undertaking yearly long-distance travels, connecting across cultures and having an authentic experiences.
Capitalists spend a lot of effort selling us carbon-offsetting, bio-diesel planes and electric cars, even if they naively believe that they are 'saving the world' by these actions. Aviation companies are now offering to accept payment from you to plant trees or support solar panels in a village to offset your carbon emissions. But the inconvenient truth here is that absolutely nothing can replace an ancient forest that has been cleared, killing all the life with it! And while these technological solutions do contribute to marginal changes, they keep us distracted from the real issue at hand here, which is the fundamental design of our economy.
CLIMATE SANKALPA #3.4Let us plant trees and support renewable energy projects by all means. But let us not mistake these ‘good-traveler’ pacifiers for the solution and get distracted by them. Let us stay focused on the larger picture and see how we can shift the capitalist game!