Saving the World with a “No Fly Pledge”

Weathermob lead meteorologist Eric Holthaus made waves recently (weather pun intended) when he announced first via Twitter and then through an article published on the online magazine Quartz that he was quitting air travel forever, due to the immensely negative impact jet travel – particularly frequent jet travel – has on the environment.  Holthaus makes some very compelling arguments, but for many of us, flying is simply part of life – especially for the frequent business travelers and “road warriors” among us, whose jobs depend on their commitment to racking up tens of thousands of air miles every year.

How can we scale back on our carbon footprint while continuing to pay our mortgages and keep the global economy churning?

Fortunately, there’s an easy and cost-effective solution: video conferencing.  Before we get into the details about how video conferencing can take the place of frequent air travel and thus cut down on the damage we’re doing to the environment, let’s take a look at the reason scaling back is important to begin with.

Holthaus made his decision to give up flying after he writing an earlier article for Quartz, summarizing a new report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  A group of 195 scientists from around the world convened by the UN to report on the state of the climate, the IPCC has won a Nobel Peace Prize for its ground-breaking work – and its 2013 report makes it clear that climate change is happening faster than ever. Both Holtaus’s article and the report itself are worth a read, but suffice it to say that if we as a global society don’t take immediate measures to curb our carbon output, the world of 2100 could look unrecognizable to us now, with ice caps that melt in the summer, frequent but unpredictable natural disasters, and worse.

So how can video conferencing help?  With solutions like LifeSize Icon Series and LifeSize UVC ClearSea, you get all the benefits of business travel without the massive carbon footprint.  High-definition picture and audio perfectly replicate the nuances of face-to-face communication, and a variety of interface functions make sharing files, documents, and other important information a breeze.  All told, video conferencing can save the environment – and your pocketbook – the accumulated cost of hundreds of thousands of miles in air travel.

So what do you think?  Is the environment worth saving?  Reversing climate change before we collectively reach the point of no return (which, according to the IPCC, could be in as little as a couple decades) is the responsibility of us all, and it will take more than Kyoto Protocols and global political resolutions.  It will require average people like us – billions of us all over the world – making the small everyday changes that, taken as a whole, add up to a global sea change.  You and your company can do your part by cutting back on travel, saying yes to environmentally friendly alternatives, and reducing dangerous carbon emissions.

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