In a recent conversation between Thom Yorke and David Byrne in Wired, Yorke describes how Radiohead conducted a study to assess its carbon footprint, in the hopes of then being able to reduce it. But their biggest impact upon the environment turned out to be something out of their control: all their fans driving to their concerts.
It makes me wonder about my carbon footprint. It has to be ridiculously huge. Not because I drive to work, but because I fly. It’s one of those crazy tales of an academic couple, two professors who can’t, because the market is so tight in their fields, find tenure-track jobs in the same city. So I fly to work. Actually I drive to the airport, fly to a city 400 miles away, then drive again to campus. Two days later I do the same thing in reverse to get back home. As I say, my carbon footprint has got to be ridiculous.
In fact I know it is.
Using Friends of the Forest’s Carbon Calculator, I’ve just found that my flying to work churns out about 23 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year. The average American releases under a half metric ton of carbon dioxide from flying.
This is not just ridiculous, it’s despairingly ridiculous. I can refuse all the plastic bags I want at the grocery store, but in the end I’m one of the killers of the world.