I Flew Three Times in a Week

Jamie in Chile

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Jan 3, 2016
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  1. Vegetarian
My latest blog is about how I can justify flying three times in a week while being an environmentalist that does a blog trying to convince others to cut their emissions.

To see how I try to justify this, click here:

I found a lot of good vegan restaurants in Lima, Peru and one vegetarian restaurant when I was too lazy to do a 15-minute walk. However, I looked where the vegan restaurants are before booking the hotel. They were expensive by local salary and standards, but cheap by standards of a developed country.

In the US, I just went to the store and bought 3 days worth of food to save money. That covered all my food except for one Beyond Burger which I had to pay about $30 for as I was at Miami beach.
Perhaps the benefit of spending a lot of time with loved ones outweighs the suffering imposed on others?
Not objectively but understandable anyway. I fly from Sweden to England to see my mum on a yearly basis now we can afford it because she is old and we don't know how long she has left. I think it is perfectly reasonable.
I think few would argue with you. Also, it's only a short haul flight so the impact is significantly lower than the trip I've just taken back to Chile.

There are a few ways you can reduce the impact if you want:

--Always fly in the cheapest class with the smallest seats
--Fly morning or middle of the day rather than evening
--If you do fly in the evening, it's worst in winter (to do with contrail formation in the cold) so especially avoid winter evenings
--Chose more modern planes such as the Dreamliner 787, A320/321 neo, Avoid older, less efficient ones such as 767 and 777
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Difficult question, especially for vegan aviation enthusiasts (I happen to know about one...) Even worse that many of my favourites are exactly the old ones with a terrible, terrible emission rate. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

I really don't know. We don't live in the medieval times any more. Nobody travels on horseback nowadays.

What is the alternative to flying? What do you do if you need to arrive at a certain destination? Do you travel multiple days by train (think about the emission or electricity that's used) and/or by ship? Should we not travel at all, because of the emission?
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The alternative to most flights should be to not fly. Get an EV and take a huge road trip with at least 2 people in the car, or check out your local area or own state more on holidays. No language barrier, no jet lag, no airport queues, no culture barrier, money saved. Perhaps treat yourself to a 4* hotel with the money saved on the flight. As many pros as cons.

Some long-haul holidays can be replaced with short-haul holidays (using morning or middle of the day flights) for a big gain, like 60%-90% better. So if you really want exotic locations rather just your own country, one short haul return flight every 1-2 years is not such a big deal. For example, if you live in Florida or Texas, choose Costa Rica or Cuba rather than France.

In Europe/UK and within some of the major developed Asian countries, train is the answer but unfortunately that doesn't work as well in most of the rest of the world.

If you have months to spare and loads of money and are mega adventurous you can travel as far as you like by finding someone with a sail boat and negotiating passage with them. Unfortunately, this is the only way to go to somewhere 5,000 or 10,000 miles away with no emission and obviously isn't practical for 99% of people.

Another option (say for someone that lives in North America) is to replace Europe every 2 years for 2 weeks with Europe every 4 years for 4 weeks. But this is not the ideal option.
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I will say that flights, or at least long haul flights just for a holiday or business, is the only thing I'm asking you to give up or make a big change.

A lot of the other changes are just replacing one thing with another thing that's just as good or better like electric vehicles or vegetarian meals.
Since I moved to Mississippi I mostly just fly to visit family in Illinois and Indiana. I never drove that far and it would be more wear and tear on my car if I did. I like to do morning flights for arrival and late flights for coming back. Mom visits me whenever she’s on vacation, maybe 3-4 times a year. She stays here for a week or two. Sometimes she’ll fly, sometimes she’ll take the amtrak
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