|I have yet to see significant changes in the amount N. Americans travel|
What do you do when you want to see friends, but they live 1500 km away? It is a simple living dilemma. Stay and we don't get to see valued co-conspirators, go and increase our carbon footprint.
Recently our beautiful, generous mates in the next province over invited us to come and see them. Problem is, we live 1500 km away from each other.
How generous are they? They offered to pay for our air fare, our room and board for as long as we want to stay, and a car for our own personal use while we are there.
In seven years we have only left Vancouver Island once, for my brothers wedding. Even then, the event was only two ferry sails from home. Other than that trip, we have kept to within about a 50 km radius of our home since moving here.
Our no-travel living is quite a change from our previous life of near-constant car travel. We enjoyed a life of adventure and discovery out on the open road during our leisure time, and daily commuting was a part of having full time jobs in the city.
But then we asked ourselves what our lives might look like in a post-oil world. We asked, "Where do we want to be when we make the change to a low-carbon lifestyle, and can't travel as easily any more?
Our answer was the west coast of Canada, a place we have long loved for its natural, semi-wild setting. We moved, and stopped traveling. We didn't really plan it that way, it just kind of happened as we were slowly entranced by our locality, and felt less of a need to be somewhere else.
Then there is the expense, and the amount of carbon produced while using fossil fuel dependent modes of transportation.
One of the big problems facing humanity right now is climate change caused by the intense use of fossil fuels since the industrial revolution.
A great deal of those emissions were produced in the transportation sector.
"The combustion of fossil fuels. such as gasoline and diesel to transport people and goods is the second largest source of CO2 emissions, accounting for about 31% of total U.S. CO2 emissions and 26% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2010. This category includes transportation sources such as highway vehicles, air travel, marine transportation, and rail." - sourceThe Solutions?
As carbon is part of the problem, reducing carbon-intensive activity is part of the solution. So does this mean we can't travel to see friends any more? Visiting friends and family is the number one reason most people give for the purpose of their travel.
We would really like to see people, but they are all far away, and we can't easily walk, bike, or ride horses to traverse the distances between us, as much fun as that might be.
But the current offer on the table is so very generous and enticing.
We have the time, and they have the money. But can the planet handle our recreational, non-critical travel?
Do we miss our friends, or increase our carbon footprint? Should we stay, or should we go?
It's The Traveler's Dilemma.