How Scientists Are Cutting Their Own Carbon Footprints

In the past few years, scientists and climate experts are all slowly realizing that even though their intentions in their studies are good, their actions still contribute to the overall global climate crisis, despite not being as big as corporations. This realization came in the form of carbon footprints, which these experts are now trying to shrink by flying less, consuming less meat and overall just limiting everything to a minimum.

One such scientist is Kim Cobb, who works as a Georgia Tech professor. Widely known as the Indiana Jones of climate science, Cobb is known to fly all over to study the effects of global warming in different locations. In fact, in the last three years, she’s flown 29 times to study, meet or talk about global warming and its effects on the planet. However, she only plans to fly only once next year, and it’s to attend an international science meeting.

"People want to be part of the solution, especially when they spent their whole lives with their noses stuck up against data showing the problem,” Cobb said. And it’s not just her since numerous scientists are all making collective efforts to try and lessen their carbon footprints by flying less.

However, the movement (and sentiment behind it) is not all echoed by everyone in the field. In fact, some activists and scientists are torn on the subject, and even calls “flight shaming” as the climate movement eating its own. This comes at a time when climate scientists and environmental advocates will be flying across the globe to attend major science conferences.

"I feel real torn about that. I don't want to clip her wings,” Indiana University's Shahzeen Attari, who calls Cobb an important climate communicator, said.

According to Pennsylvania State University's Michael Mann, the key is simply moderation.

"I don't tell people they need to become childless, off-the-grid hermits. And I'm not one myself. I do tell people that individual action is PART of the solution, and that there are many things we can do in our everyday lives that save us money, make us healthier, make us feel better about ourselves AND decrease our environmental footprint. Why wouldn't we do those things?" Mann said in a recent email.

Flying Comfortably Flying comfortably is important to maintaining a stress-free and healthy plane ride. Photo courtesy of Pixabay, public domain