Transport

It’s best to live as close as you can to all the places that you need to regularly go to. Relatively more sustainable forms of transport include (roughly in descending order) walking, cycling, skating, scootering, rollerblading; electric vehicles (particularly if powered from renewable electricity); public transport; motorcycles; small, efficient cars; car sharing or renting if you don’t need to use a car often; and taxiing.

I like trains over driving or being a passenger in a car as I can sit and relax in a quiet carriage on Sydney trains, meditate, listen to SRF audio publications such as the Autobiography of a Yogi audiobook, read, or could even work on a laptop. Whereas being a passenger in a car I may offend the driver if I am not chatty. While when driving one may also listen to audio, driving can still be a challenge with traffic.

Hopefully it won’t be too much longer before autonomous, electric vehicles become mainstream. At that point, it will probably make less sense to own a car, and instead use such a vehicle as a taxi. This will cause less congestion, while having most of the benefits of owning and driving a car, without many of the disadvantages. Of course, it would consume less resources to work and live and do nearly everything close to or in one place, but that may not be feasible for many people. The high price of housing in Sydney, for example, makes it difficult to afford accommodation closer to work in business districts / urban hubs. However, more affordable accommodation options do exist, perhaps most notably and practically being micro-apartments, although micro-apartments may not be readily available. (AFAIK they aren’t in Sydney.)

Flights

Until we have zero-emission flights we should avoid flights altogether. See this Wikipedia article for an introduction. I thought the whole article was worth reading. Specifically for the impact per passenger kilometre, see this subsection of the same article. And for those who attend conferences of any kind, see this sub-subsection. And personally I would say non-attendance is preferable to attendance, while video conferencing is good. I don’t use loyalty cards including frequent flyer cards. For one thing I don’t like the extra cognitive load of tapping another card every time I make a supermarket purchase, etc., and getting bombarded with letters/emails that are really just promotions and enticing to spend more to get more points.

Concerning government expansions of airports around the world such as the Australian government going ahead with construction of a second Sydney airport it is pertinent to critique such a practice and note this subsubsection. However increasing fares is clearly insufficient in and of itself, as those wealthier ones who can afford to pay for the increased fares may continue to do so. However, taxes imposed on flights could be used to invest in zero-emissions flight technologies and other sustainability measures. Continuing to use fossil fuel for aviation (or anything) is not sustainable.

Also note that carbon offsets are suboptimal, as reafforestation, algal blooms, etc. needs to be taking past carbon emissions out of the atmosphere, and we need to stop all emissions now, or 20 years ago.

Advertisements