Guilt Free Travel

Guilt free travel!

That’s what we want, don’t we?


We are all know how extravagant it is to fly around the place in airoplanes, but sometimes it is unavoidable, isn’t it? Of course, the best mode of travel would be the good old train, but who wants to sit on the train all bloody day, consuming nothing but time, when we could spend our time consuming consumer items while we were consuming time at the same time, if you get my drift?

So it’s basically the car or the plane. Let’s compare them.

As it turns out, the emissions per passenger in an airoplane are roughly the same as the emissions for a car travelling over the same distance. Your standard 747 work horse, can fit about 400 average size people, if the whole plane is economy class. (or about 350 fat people) Most planes fly at about 80% capacity, that’s 320 standard size people. The plane uses about 320 times more fuel than the family car, which guzzles about 12 litres per 100ks. So we can see that one person in one car is using about the same fuel as one plane passenger. Now that beggars the question, what if we fill the car up with people? Obviously, if the car has five occupants it will be five times more efficient than the plane. This is a crucial point. The figures have a lot of variables, but taking the car will always be way more efficient than the plane as long as it has at least 2 people in it, and ideally as many as you can possibly fit. So next time you flit off to Europe – Take the car!

Now let’s imagine we have to get to Camp Binbee, in Central Queensland. Camp Binbee is a meeting place for people who want to stop the evil Adani coal mine via N.V.D.A.(That’s non-violent direst action) We decide to go by car to cut down our emissions, tick box 1, we are driving a Hyundi Gets. Tick Box 2, and we have filled all the seats in the car. Tick Box 3. But it is a bloody long way: about 2500ks from Melbourne to Bowen, the nearest town. It will take about 26 hours if we drive non-stop, so we decide to take a couple of days. But we still feel guilty about our emissions, don’t we? We really need to do something to offset them. We must assuage our guilt. It is very bad for one’s well-being to sit in a car all day feeling guilty.

We all know the token gold coins you pay at the airport are a complete joke, our guilt is not assuaged in the slightest. But luckily for us, there are a plethora of organizations vying to offset our emissions for us. I personally recommend MyClimate, and that’s not because they give me  free trips around the world whenever it takes my fancy, they actually do a really a good job, and I’m not just saying that, I’ve seen it in every country I’ve visited. The good people at MyClimate have found that the bulk of our ‘travel guilt’ accumulates in our credit card, where it can be exorcized with a mere click of a button. You may well experience a wave of euphoria pulsating through your chakras at this moment, as the burden is lifted from your soul. Yes, it’s that easy!

The standard way of generating carbon offsets is by planting trees.

1 tree will absorb 20kilos of CO2 per year. According to we Australians generate about 20 tons of CO2 per person, per year.(and that is without the obligatory trip to Bali every year and Europe every second year). So, if you plant 1000 trees that should cover all your offsets for the rest of your life shouldn’t it? If only it were that simple. The first problem that springs to mind is: What happens when the trees die?    ( As they tend to do after about 40 years) Where does the CO2 go then? We should also ask ourselves, where the hell are we going to put all these bloody trees? There are 23 million souls in Australia, that’s 23 billion trees. Apparently we have cut down 3 billion trees in a mere 200 odd years. Well done team! So we could replace them all, and the entire country would be covered in forest and we would be reduced to eating gum leaves. But that still leaves 20 billion seedlings waiting for somewhere to grow. But if you want to go down that path you need only pay $100 to and they will plant 1,000 trees for you. Admittedly, some will have to be planted on Mars, but that’s good too. Mars needs more trees.

But surely it would be a darn site easier not to produce the emissions in the first place. (It’s hard to get the shit back in the cow after it has hit the fan, as the saying goes.) One way to stop emissions starting, would be to stop Adani’s coal mine from starting. Let’s take a little look at how this mine stacks up. Gautam Adani himself claims the mine will produce over 3 Gigatons tons (3 billion tons) of coal over the 60 year lifespan of the mine., If, heaven forbid, all that coal were burnt it would produce about 4.2 Gigatons tons of CO2. To put that in perspective, it’s a number with 9 zeros after it. 4.200,000,000 Does that help?

No, I didn’t think so. OK, let’s see what 3 gigatones of coal actually looks like: It would make a pile 365metres wide and 120 metres high. The Rialto tower is 250metre high. Now imagine all that filthy black soot being pumped into the sky, the air we breathe.

It would require 4 billion trees to soak up all that CO2, so get out your spade and get cracking!

We are faced with a stark choice: We either stop Adani right now, before he gets his foot in the door, or we plant trees till we run out of ground to put them in. So what would it actually take to convince Gautam Adani to pack his bags and piss off. How many people did it take to save the Franklin River? A few thousand determined individuals, that’s all. The vast majority of Australians are quite adamant that Adani must go. It would require less than one person out of every thousand of that overwhelming majority to get the job done. All it would take is a week or two out of our busy schedule to nip up to Central Queensland, do our N.V.D.A. training, then get out to the mine site and mill about getting in the way for a while, easy. Just like the Franklin campaign, it could become one of the defining moments of our lives. Something to tell the grand kids about over the campfire:

“What did you do in the climate war Grandpa?”

That’s when you assume a self satisfied air and wistfully reply:

“Well, Sweetie, we kept 3 billion tons of coal in the ground where it belongs.”

Then she leaps up and gives you a big hug and says:

“I love you Grandpa.”

Ben Boyang 2/10/19

If you want to find out more about taking direct action to stop Adani

go to Front Line Action on Coal

You may find it inspiring to watch this short video of Roger Hallam, who started the whole world-wide movement, Extinction Rebelion