16.05.2012 13:13

Greener thinking in aviation – and at home

Over the past few years my mindset has shifted in a slightly greener direction. Of course I’m not planning on leaving the modern, urban lifestyle, returning to the country and living life as it was 200 years ago. Instead, I plan on focusing on greener options in the world that surrounds me today.

In order to keep this planet a nice place to live for future generations, we have to focus on the small things that, when added together, make a difference. We should turn off the light when leaving the room, shut off the shower when shampooing our hair (the latter is not an issue with me, due to my limited amount of hair), and recycle waste both at home and at the office.

There is also more we can do. Heating our houses with geothermal electricity demands great investments, but it will pay itself back ten or 15 years from now. Solar panels are also getting smaller and more effective, and can be advantageous also in areas in which summers are shorter – such as Scandinavia. We should, of course, continue to maintain the availability of traditional sources of energy. Life without oil, gas and coal is not going to happen in years. But again, maybe we could start by at least considering alternative energies?

Someone might think that this sounds like a “wannabe green” approach in aviation – but airlines, just like any other companies and individuals, can still practice green thinking every day by making large and small decisions regarding their environmental footprint.

Admitting the facts is the first step: keeping aircraft in the air creates emissions, which affect the world’s natural heating and cooling systems. Is there anything we can do? Stopping flying altogether would be the most effective solution, but also not something anyone wants. So what’s the alternative approach?

Could we start with the little things? Could we try to save energy and cut emissions in our daily work? Yes we can. A good place to start is considering the volume of emissions our business decisions create. Finnair’s emissions calculator (http://www.finnaircargo.com/emissions/index.html) determines the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere on each route. Its figures are double-checked by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

By the way, do you know how much pollution your car generates? I don’t have my own car at the moment, but the last one I had, a 2003 model, created more than 200 g/km. This is a lot; these days, an equivalent model creates only120 g/km. I promise that my next car will be much more energy-efficient. Or maybe I could use these facts as justification for getting a motorcycle the next time I discuss it with my wife…

I wish you all a nice summer. Let’s enjoy the lovely world in which we live.