Monday, April 07, 2008

I was on a flight last week when the air hostess said, ‘At Air New Zealand we are passionate about the environment.’

‘No you’re not!’ I snorted. ‘If you were passionate about the environment you’d be Walk New Zealand.’

Just currently they have ninety-three planes in their fleet, with twenty-four on order and, if you lined them all up and said ‘Go!’ the first nine hundred and seventy-two people who managed to scramble on board would get a seat. Everyone else would have to stand or squeeze into the overhead lockers.

FACT: Air travel screws the environment.

GENERALISATION: As a species we love to fly. Almost as much as birds.

PREDICTION: Boeing reckons the size of its fleet will double by 2026.

ANOTHER PREDICTION: In 2003 200 million people used UK airports, by 2030 they reckon this figure will double.

ANOTHER GENERALISATION BASED ON THOSE PREDICTIONS: Unless they invent a userfriendly method of travel the environment is fully screwed. But I don’t need to tell you that, Al Gore has done it already.

What I want to know is, in our world of perpetual change – if your brand new top-of-the-range, latest model computer that comes with the hot and cold folding gateposts and the ability to hack into NASA can become ‘so last century’ within nano seconds of popping its box into the recycling bin – then how come those brain boxes out there who are continually inventing new stuff haven’t managed to come up with a plane that sends love throughout the environment instead of causing mass destruction?

Just quietly I find it hard enough to work out how they know about all the damage that is being caused in the first place – I mean, how do they know when they can’t SEE it?

Reason # 4567,678,856,434,543 why I would have never split the atom. Unless it could have been done with a hammer.

When you think about it – if they are busy inventing hybrid electric cars and cars that run on concoctions of peanut butter and old cooking oil – why can’t they come up with the same solution for planes? I read that Boeing has partnered up with a Brazilian biofuels firm but someone discovered that they would have to plant an area the size of Florida with soy beans to provide a fifteen percent blend of jet fuel for the whole U.S aircraft fleet. Call me crazy, but I don't think that's what you would call progress.

I know they’re investigating all manner of other things like letting the planes spend less time in the hair, using shorter and steeper approaches (plane rides will double as roller coasters – great if you’re nine, not so crash hot if you’re seventy-nine) – but from what I understand this is the equivalent of putting band aid on an amputation.

So I’ve come up with a solution. And it’s not grounding the world. Hell no, I am eternally grateful to the brains behind the Boeing. I have admitted before that I am a carbon earthquake when it comes to the amount of time I spend in the air. My life would be so much simpler if I had wings (however I imagine my health insurance premium would sky rocket. Would be rubbish at landing.)

I’m suggesting that they stick the brightest people in the world in a room and tell them that they have forty-eight hours to save air travel. Hell, if it worked on the film Apollo 13, I’m sure it can happen in real life.

Why hasn’t anyone thought of that before ? My solution is hardly rocket science.
Anyway, back to my flight on Air New Zealand. Remember how they said that they were passionate about the environment?

It was because they wanted everyone to recycle their newspapers.Don't know about you, but I just found it kind of ironic.

No comments: