Wednesday, 30 March 2011

At what cost?

Forgive me - I'm going to have one of my rare soapbox moments.

NGirl sent me this link today.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2J6fjVHQPew

It is only a 1 minute, 12 second clip, but WOW!

And to quote from the information that accompanied the link:

"This is a 24 hour observation of all of the large aircraft flights the world, condensed down to 1:11. From space we look like a bee hive of activity. What you will see, is a video showing air traffic around the world for 24 hours, taken from a satellite.

You won't believe this! The yellow dots are airplanes in the sky during a 24 hour period.

Stay with the picture. You will see the light of the day moving from the east to the west, as the Earth spins on it's axis. Also you will see the aircraft flow of traffic leaving the North American continent and traveling at night to arrive in the UK in the morning. Then you will see the flow changing, leaving the UK in the morning and flying to the American continent in daylight.

This is something that everyone should see. For us old-timers it is really fascinating. For our children/grandchildren it provides a superb learning moment and an opportunity to open up what could be a very interesting discussion. This is one of the coolest things ever seen. It surpasses the "World At Night" poster that NatGeo (I think) published about 20 years ago and my "America At Night" coffee mug. How many people do YOU think are in the sky at any given moment?

You can tell it was spring time in the north by the sun's foot print over the planet. You could see that it didn't set for long in the extreme north and it didn't quite rise in the extreme south. We are taught about the earth's tilt and how it causes summer and winter and how we had to imagine just what is going on. With this 24 hour observation of aircraft travel on the earth's surface we get to see the daylight pattern move as well. Remember watch the day to night..... Day is over in Australia when it starts."

This is truly hectic!

How many people have travelled in a plane and thought they were in one of only a couple in the air at that particular time?

Consider the carbon footprint of all those planes.  Consider what we are doing to the very air that we breathe, never mind the ozone layer, with all that jet fuel.  Consider the impact on our bodies, through being stationary in airplane seats, or through willingly embracing jet lag side effects, for extended periods of time.

Yes, I know that it is a convenient way to travel, and one which is much faster than the old sailing ships of yore, but how many of those trips are really necessary?  How many are taken, for the "sake of a holiday" or because someone has itchy feet?  How many business trips could rather be achieved through conference Skyping the customer?

How selfish has man become?

Me, me, me.  What about our planet?  Or can't we be bothered, because we won't be around when the proverbial truly hits the fan?

When are we going to spare a thought for this plant which we inhabit only briefly?  In the grand scheme of things each and every human is a really small, insignificant, fleeting inhabitant, but our negative impact is eternal.

One person at a time - and we can change the course we are currently on - just one person at a time.  Help me by spreading the word - please.

If we could try and keep all unnecessary air, or car travel, to a minimum, that is a good start.  Growing as much of your own fresh fruit and vegetables, walking or cycling to the shops, holiday-ing at home - discovering everything your area has to offer - they are all do-able.

We just have to stop being selfish and lazy.  And consider the long term ramifications of each action we take.

We can do it - we did it in times of yore. We don't have to revert to completely outdated methods of growing, harvesting, heating or lighting our homes, or clothing ourselves - we are wiser now.  But are we wise enough to effect a long lasting change of habit - not for our sakes, but for the sakes of our children, and their children, and... most importantly, for the sake of planet earth?

If we use what is freely available to all of us, for lighting, heating and cooking, we would make a significant difference to our footprint.  The sun is there for all - we just have to want to use its' bounty.

9 comments:

  1. My first thought was about all that jet fuel. Yuck. I refuse to fly anymore, and will miss out on seeing some of the worlds wonderful sites. But that is the way it is. Nothing is more unnatural to me than flying. You said it Dani, humans are selfish. I know very few Americans are willing to give up something for the greater good. Even for the sake of their children. Very disturbing.

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  2. Wow, like so many buzzing bees. I have never been on an airplane and as I agree with you I think I will try to keep it that way.

    They say that each airport can "affect the health of as many as 5 million people, air pollution levels from one 747 takeoff is similar to setting the local gas station on fire and then flying it over your head, and that the pollution from just one, two-minute 747 takeoff is equal to operating 2.4 million lawnmowers simultaneously." - http://www.lead.org.au/Lanv7n3/L73-4.html

    Scary stuff, especially considering that these thoughts were expressed way back in 1999. It's no doubt much worse now.

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  3. Jane - but you can see all the amazing wonders of this world - we have internet and Google and can travel extensively :-)

    Mr H. - that link is what nightmares are made of! I reckon that every person who leaps into a plane should be given that information to read. Then, let them decide if their trip is that urgent.

    But, to be totally honest, with all that I've said, our young grandson has flown down from up-country to spend his holidays (16 days) with us - it's that, or spend the entire time at his mothers' work or in aftercare. Do I seem like a hypocrite? I'd rather have him down here for these 16 days, in the fresh sea / farm air, than up-country. So I guess that makes me, in this instance, one of the selfish ones...

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  4. Dani, I had to bookmark that. It is something else. I don't fly anymore and never did much before 9/11. I'm not afraid to fly, just don't want to put up with all the crap to do it that people have to do now days. I don't travel much at all anyway. Problem here is that the stores I have to go to for supplies are from 20 to 60 miles away and that makes it tough. Sure wish someone would open one up around here!

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  5. David - I don't fly at all either (I've flown once in the past 15 years to attend my father-in-laws funeral.)

    Perhaps you should ask the GS to open a general store (grocery and general building supplies / laundry and showers) for all the TR residents? I'm sure you'd keep them busy. Perhaps you and JW could help with the construction... Or else - why not approach a store in Alpine to open a sub-branch in your area? If it's going to pay them to do so, I'm sure they would. Then all the TR residents will be happy and will have to travel less :-)

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  6. Dani, I don't think the people that own the GS want anymore than what they have. Years ago there was a couple of stores out here that did real good and that was before there were near as many people here as they are now. For some reason they just closed and no one else has ever opened one. Maybe one of these days? If I could afford it I'd probably do it.

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  7. David - reckon you'd make a killing ;) But you'd have to limit you opening tmies, otherwise you'd have no time for yourself. Just get the Alpine guys to supply you at cost + 10%, and 90 days terms, and away you go... And naturally, you'd get everyone there at TR to tell you EXACTLY what they're gonna need, and when - that way you won't carry dead stock :-)

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  8. You asked about our grey water system?
    First
    Second
    Ours is a simplified version - we walk, with watering cans.

    I thought your post was going to be about 'darkest' Africa. That is a map I have up at the bottom of my blog page - at night how the First World is lit up like Christmas, and Africa is mostly dark. Lights blaze over Jo'burg ...

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  9. Elephant Eye - I've seen that map before. It is beautiful watching the sun rise over the world. But the power consumption of the first world countries is scary - earth must shine like a beacon in the universe.

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