It’s time we question our habits. How about our American habit of flying? I have family who don’t think twice about flying to Florida or the Bahamas for a mid-winter vacation. They scoff at me for taking a whole day to travel by train to get to Philadelphia from central Maine. I figure the gesture is a signal meaning they don’t want to feel bad for their own choice of travel. They’ve heard the science. They’re not willing to change — yet. How can I enjoy spectacular scenery if I know the carbon emissions are causing ice melt and sea rise among other catastrophic climate changes?

I sat down and calculated the carbon emissions from each flight of my trips during 2019. I went on two vacations and my share of the flights’ emissions was 800 lbs. of carbon dioxide. On one trip, I returned from Jackson, Mississippi, by train and bus instead of flying. That amount was less than half of the flight and amounted to 132 lbs. I calculated for half an hour my long distance trips, and knowing what I’ve contributed in one year to our carbon footprint has caused me to become passionate about traveling more with my electric car or just staying home more.

This year has just begun and already I’ve canceled my reservation for bicycling in Scotland. I substituted it with a tour in the Lowlands of South Carolina, somewhere I can get to by train instead. I aim to become more familiar with my own country and Canada. I’m excited to have a spot with Bike Maine the week long tour of a section of our own state. I wouldn’t know Aroostook County very well were it not for the trip two years ago where we followed the St. John River for most of a week. Yeah for Bicycle Coalition of Maine!

 

Annie Sheble

Unity


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