Aircraft have a significant impact on our atmosphere through their emission of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. Currently, over 3% of anthropogenic climate change is caused by aircraft emissions. Despite advancements in engine design, this percentage is expected to increase over the next several decades as travel increases. So I never fly for the purpose of taking photographs and I take daily action to minimize my contribution.
The most effective way to reduce pollution is to not produce it. My daily commute involves only walking and mass transit. When I must drive, I only do so in low emissions vehicles and I combine trips. To help offset my emissions, I pay a voluntary carbon offset tax. My studio uses a maximum of 200 watts of electricity, thanks to efficient computer processors, LED lighting, etc. I purchase used items whenever possible to lessen my consumption of raw materials, packaging, and shipping. My philosophy is to repair, not replace, and to only upgrade technology items when necessary. My studio produces about four liters of landfill waste every six months because nearly everything I use is recycled, repurposed, sold, or donated for future use.
To me, this isn’t enough. So I teach college courses in environmental science, geography, and atmospheric science. I strongly believe that the first step in solving environmental problems is raising awareness. All of our actions have an impact on our environment but with a little education, we can easily reduce this impact and make the world healthier for all species.
Feeling overwhelmed by how you can reduce your impact? Essentially, climate change is caused by two activities: fossil fuel consumption and animal-based agriculture. Carpooling, combining trips, utilizing mass transit, driving fuel efficient vehicles, and eating a plant-based diet are all examples of individual action that can significantly reduce your impact. Such actions also improve your respiratory and heart health by reducing air pollution and carcinogens.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead