Climate Apocalypse Alarmist
- Sep 20, 2018
- SL Rez
Air travel is one of the best examples of how we've created an infrastructure obstacle to lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Long-distance travel is woven into 1st world business models and into our personal lives.I'm really interested in this, because it's a very complex thing. Giving up air travel is easy in some ways and not others.
I work for a multi-national company and the management structure is dependent on significant air travel at the executive level. I'm located at a small branch office, but we get about a half-dozen high-level corporate managers visiting us every year. The U.S.-based corporate execs are constantly flying to Europe and Asia to oversee offices and cement relationships. Every year there's at least one (usually more) internal company conference that pulls in attendees from all over the world. Every year there are industry conferences that at least some of my co-workers are expected to attend, either to present as "thought leaders" or to staff a marketing booth of some kind. There's the training conference where we work in teams with employees from all over the U.S. as we complete job function exercises. And about 80% of the company's employees work as consultants, on-site with clients, which often requires air travel to get to the client office.
Video conferences are technically feasible, but they don't fulfill the very human need to build relationships with clients and with co-workers. There's a social aspect to business operations that would be badly affected by a moratorium on travel. As a sacrifice it is entirely feasible -- painful, but feasible -- but you can count on businesses to strongly resist the Stay Grounded movement.
And then there's the personal. The worse sacrifice I'll face giving up air travel is that I'll probably never see Scotland, at least not until retirement when I could get there by boat. A more expensive and physically draining journey, so probably realistically not an option I would select. All I'm giving up is a Bucket List vacation, but one of my co-workers is a Scots woman married to an American. She flies over to Scotland several times a year, and family of hers flies over to the U.S. Giving up air travel for her would mean rarely seeing her family (again, who has enough vacation time for boat travel?).
This level of sacrifice used to be just accepted, of course. Immigrants to another country knew they were leaving the old country behind and might never see family again. We could learn to sacrifice again, despite the emotional pain. We could reform businesses, scale-down multi-national corporate entities, do away with conferences and meetings that required travel outside the reach of trains. This would slow down the economy, and we would scale back instead of continuing our ponzi-scheme level of growth. We have no idea how to do that without economic collapse and yet more pain.
Eventually, this will happen, but -- given human nature -- not by choice. These conveniences will be wrested out of our grasping fingers by disasters and crumbling infra-structure, by famine, drought, and civil unrest.