- 23 Oct 06, 10:25 AM
I have come in for a staggering amount of stick for our decision to fly to Jamaica (watch my report here). We set out to explore whether it is ever ethical to fly. If the response to the programme is anything to go by, in many people’s minds it is not.
But the fact is, most of us do.
Of course we knew that the idea of a man who claims to be “ethical” getting on a plane would upset some people, but what better way of illustrating how carbon intensive flying is?
As I made very clear in the film, that one flight pretty much bust my carbon budget, undoing most of those careful carbon reductions my family and I had been making...
Note also that we didn’t take the easy way out, and just pay £15.82 to offset the flight and then claim that we had sorted out the problem. As I said in the film “this project is about reducing my carbon emissions, not someone else’s.”
Professor Tim will be counting the carbon cost of my Jamaican jaunt until the Ethical Man project ends in March next year. And if you want to know whether I feel guilty about it, yes I do.
In fact this weekend I have been checking through the Energy Saving Trust’s advice for Energy Saving week to make sure that I am doing everything I can to reduce my carbon emissions at home. There weren’t any significant savings to be had, I am already following most of the Trust’s advice.
But, once again, the fact is most of us aren’t.
The British are the filthiest people in Europe in terms of their energy habits, according to a survey of 5,000 Europeans. No surprise there.
What is really striking is how much energy our bad habits waste. The Trust is looking at relatively small things like leaving appliances on standby, boiling too much water in the kettle, washing clothes at high temperatures, leaving lights on in unoccupied rooms and forgetting to unplug our phone chargers.
It reckons that if we all followed a more rigorous energy etiquette then we could save 43 million tons of carbon dioxide by 2010. To put it in language we all understand, that’s £11 billion pounds we could be trousering. To do your bit sign up at www.est.org.uk/commit.
And while we are on the subject of signing up to commitments, not one single one of my critics mentioned that my wife and I signed up to the Flight Pledge website. We both signed the silver pledge, undertaking to limit our flights to one long haul or two short haul flights in the next year. We signed a couple of weeks ago and so will have to abide by our commitment well beyond the period of the Ethical Man project.
If unplugging your phone charger can make such a big difference imagine if we all signed up to that?