Killing the World, One Flight at a Time

Don’t you hate snobby travelers? I mean they act so cosmopolitan and well-educated, like spending 4 days in Paris means that they are now in fact from France. You have to hear their stories; stories that always paint them in this light where they are so aware of the world’s beauty and their adventurous spirit has taken them to a place far better than you can ever go without travel. Oh travelers; the most self-centered of us all, so culturally literate, socially liberal, and completely obtuse to the way their narratives sound to the rest of us.

Well, hold your horses, fair traveler!! Maybe you are not as wonderful as you think you are.

According to a new study, tourism’s carbon impact is 3X larger than first estimated. Apparently global tourism accounts for 8% of carbon emissions. 8%!! And yes, that is a lot. And can you guess what type of people are mostly accountable for this? Well, citizens of affluent countries, of course. I mean travelling is a very expensive and selfish endeavor, what other people have the means to do such things other than people with expendable income?

According to one of the authors of the paper:

“If you have visitors from high income countries then they typically spend heavily on air travel, on shopping and hospitality where they go to. But if the travelers are from low income countries then they spend more on public transport and unprocessed food, the spending patterns are different for the different economies they come from.”

The report underlines the fact that when people earn more than $40,000 per annum, their carbon footprint from tourism increase 13% for every 10% rise in income.

And this is an issue that will not get better in the near future. I mean even the most high-minded traveler is not going to stop travelling or even change their habits. People love to brag, and the traveler is the biggest gasbag of them all. You think a silly little thing like carbon emissions are going to change behavior?

So the next time someone gets all high and mighty about how important travel is and that they are a better person than you for it, maybe have them read this article. I know it won’t change their inflated sense of self, but at least it will shut them up for the moment.