I take it for granted that sailors, kayakers, surfers, windsurfers... all of us who enjoy playing on the water using natural sources of power... have some tendency to care about the environment. Surely we are attracted to these sports because we love the experience of being close to nature and escaping from the mechanical world of trains and cars and planes... not to mention jetskiers and stinkpotters.
I know it's a leap from that assertion to assume that we all share a concern for global warming and accept that it is mainly caused by human activity and that each of us ought to be doing something about it by reducing our carbon footprint. But some of us do think that way.
This week, for example, Michael who writes Canadian Ckayaker was worrying about Playground Earth and suggesting that kayakers like him should make only one overseas flight a year to paddle, present or teach about paddling.
Hmmm. He's making me feel guilty. In the next six months I am already planning two long overseas trips by air to go sailing, one to Spain and one to Australia. It's partly a quirk of the sailing calendar. As it happens two Laser Masters Worlds in countries that I want to visit are coming up close together. And I'm also thinking of at least one more trip this winter to train for Australia (and find those mushy peas in Sosua).
So it got me to thinking. How much carbon dioxide am I creating from my various sailing trips. Using the carbon calculator at What's My Carbon Footprint? ...
Typical local weekend regatta: 100 mile, 4 gallons of gas -- about 80 pounds CO2.
Drive to Florida and back for midwinter regatta: 2,800 miles, 120 gallons of gas -- about 2,400 pounds CO2.
Fly to Spain and back: 6,000 miles -- 2,340 pounds CO2.
Fly to Australia and back: 20,000 miles -- 7,800 pounds CO2.
To put that in context, the estimated annual per capita U.S. average resulting from home energy, transportation and household waste emissions is around 16,000 pounds of CO2.
Maybe Michael has a good point. What do you think?
Added: Some thoughts on the subject by Tim Coleman.