So I love the environment, and desire to explore our world. This involves flying, as I do not have a boat, or a hot air balloon. And I am still waiting on teleporting to become a viable means of getting around. I did not used to view flying in an airplane as an especially detrimental activity.

However, there is evidence that shows traveling by air is an activity that generates more pollution than we thought. This past week, an extremely large group of protesters set up shop outside of Heathrow Airport in London to voice their frustration with air travel and its polluting side effects. The protesters were trying to draw travelers’ attention to the impact on climate change of the carbon gases emitted by the aircraft in which they fly. A placard from one activist at Heathrow expressed it thus: “You Fly, They Die.”

More on air travel pollution:

Airplanes operate on petroleum fuel, which means they release large amounts of carbon dioxide when they fly. Commercial air travel is currently responsible for a relatively tiny part of the global carbon footprint —just 3.5% of total greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The unique chemistry of high-altitude jet emissions may produce an additional warming effect, while the explosive growth in air travel makes it one of the fastest-growing sources of carbon gases in the atmosphere. And unlike energy or automobiles, where carbon-free or lower-carbon alternatives already exist, even if they have yet to be widely adopted, there is no low-carbon way to fly…

But…

I dream of going to some of the world’s most beautiful places, and traveling there with my family one day as well – I hope to instill in others a sense of urgency and desire to protect our planet by showing them just how beautiful it is… and well maybe this makes me a hypocritical environmentalist but I am not going to give up air travel and going to exciting new places. In fact, I’m going to Costa Rica in a little over a week!

Where does this leave you, or me?

There are some options – including carbon offsets (terrapass is one, there are others just do some research), or purchasing your plane ticket from an airline you have done a little research on to find out if the airline engages in green practices, or consulting a green-travel website.

What other tips do you have?