Travel “For” The Planet
We live in a world on fire. We are burning up, our climate is changing, and we are losing control over the future of the environment. Quick! We must explore! We have to see everything before it’s gone. Right?
Andy Newman wrote the article, “If Seeing the World Helps Ruin It, Should We Stay Home?” for The New York Times, explaining why, in a way, long distance travel is selfish, but that the instinct to see something great before it disappears is understandable. By visiting these dying places, we are only pushing the problem one step closer to its edge.
“Going someplace far away, we now know, is the biggest single action a private citizen can take to worsen climate change,” said Newman. “One seat on a flight from New York to Los Angeles effectively adds months worth of human-generated carbon emissions to the atmosphere.”
So we must ask ourselves, what do we value more? A life well traveled, well explored, well lived — or a green, selfless, environmentally-friendly life.
Most Duxbury High School students agree that travel is important to them, and that they wouldn’t be willing to give it up.
Josie C., a junior at DHS said, “I think we should still fly on airplanes and just find a different source of energy that’s less detrimental to the environment.”
“It’s probably more important to save the environment, but traveling is personally one of my favorite things to do. It just seems like there’s so much more that we could be doing to help save the environment that doesn’t include getting rid of flight travel,” said Josie.
Josie brings her metal straw with her when she buys coffee every morning before school. She carpools with her friends, and tries not to use more gas than she has to. Fortunately, Josie is not the only member of DHS making these small efforts to save the environment.
Eva B. and Alanna N., two juniors at DHS, both said that they do research in the airlines they fly before booking a flight.
Eva has dreams to travel far and wide in her years after high school, but she is also aware that her dream has detrimental effects on the environment. “I plan on doing research on the airlines that I will take and doing as much non emission expelling travel as possible in the places I go — like walking or bike riding — although it’s not completely practical,” said Eva.
“It’s important to me to travel mindfully, and I know it won’t make the most positive impact on the world, but I’ll do everything in my power to make it as harmless as possible,” said Eva.
Alanna also had ideas for how she could offset the carbon emissions that she would produce by travelling. “I already live minimally, I already live a green life. I feel like if I take appropriate steps around it, flying isn’t as detrimental to the environment as it may sound.”
Alanna also suggested that people could use a carbon footprint calculator, something she frequently uses after flying long distances. “You can pay more for your flight to reduce carbon emissions. The program will then take that money to plant trees and give back to the environment,” said Alanna.
Mr. Scott, a physics teacher at DHS said that an increase of civilian travel is inevitable. “It’s going to be more and more difficult for people not to travel. My grandfather never lived more than a mile from where he was born. But I have moved 18 times all around the country – even in England for a couple of years.”
In just two generations, the ability to travel has completely changed, and that trend is only expected to continue.
Mr. Scott has is aware of how big of a threat climate change is posing for our planet, but he has hope for the future. “People are developing methods to remove C02 by breaking it down and running it through solar equipment,” said Mr. Scott.
He also brought up the damaging effects of driving a car, using electricity, or riding a ferry. “If you’re going to compare the damaging effects, you might as well say we shouldn’t go anywhere,” said Mr. Scott.
The truth is: we are meant to explore. With new technology and cheaper flights, it’s easier than it ever has been to see new places and immerse oneself in a completely foreign world. How could students just give that up?
There are ways to fight climate change in other ways, as many DHS students already do. Use as little single-use plastic as possible, carpool, donate to foundations that can make a bigger difference than we could, raise awareness, be aware.
Mr. Scott has hope for the generation coming, and you should too. Duxbury High School students are a part of a generation that is aware of the problem, and eager to fix it.