Happy Earth Day! Today we celebrate global environmental causes and reflect on the bounty and fragility of our sweet mama Earth. In school, we learned to recycle, reduce and reuse. Now, we’re looking at the impact that air travel has on our planet and focusing on some small adjustments we can make in our day-to-day business lives that can make a huge change.
When many of us imagine pollution as a concept, we envision factory smokestacks belching black clouds of soot. But according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), almost a third of all carbon dioxide emissions come from travel. Industry, by comparison, accounts for just 14% of overall emissions. UK-based advocacy group Friends of the Earth (FOE) estimates that air travel in particular is the single fastest-growing source of greenhouse gases. In fact, the world’s 16,000 commercial aircraft produce as much carbon dioxide every year as the United States does in total. That’s a lot, and it’s only going to get worse, as the EPA estimates a further 1.5% national increase in the production of carbon dioxide by 2020.
That’s where video conferencing can really help. Lifesize re-creates the experience of an in-person meeting, allowing you to collaborate with your team, pitch to clients and meet with investors without relying on air travel. Eliminating just one transcontinental flight a year saves the global warming equivalent of 3 tons of carbon dioxide per person, according to a 2013 article in the New York Times. If your company sends four people from your West Coast headquarters to a conference in Boston, the round-trip carbon production could power the average American home for two years. Flying transatlantically? Then you’ve produced more carbon dioxide than the average European citizen does in an entire year.
These are some scary numbers, but the good news is that it’s never been easier to do something about them. By making a few small adjustments – like adopting a video conferencing solution at your company – you can have a real, positive impact on the world’s future. So this Earth Day, we encourage you to consider replacing some of your travel plans with a high-quality video conference. You can even start with a free trial of Lifesize Cloud. The person on the other end of the call will thank you – and so will the Earth.