Lesson in Practical Sustainability from the South Pacific

<p>International air traffic into Orlando International Airport has been on the rise in recent months because of the Open Skies accords negotiated between the United States government and European powers. If you have noticed flights to London&rsquo;s Heathrow airport from your city suddenly shifting to Gatwick, the cause is the same. Nevertheless, while transatlantic nonstop flights from Orlando have grown in frequency and variety, the aircraft have shrunk.<br /><br />It used to be that the Boeing 747 was the main aircraft of choice because of its payload and range. However, its smaller rivals have overtaken its duty cycle for many of the cities serving Orlando, including the 737.<br /><br /><img src="http://www.mistersustainable.com/images/a380.jpg" border="0" alt="" hspace="10" vspace="5" align="left" />For this reason, it was a real pleasure for me to fly to New York&rsquo;s JFK airport last week to see the Airbus A380 super jumbo on the ground. As my minuscule-by-comparison Embraer E-190 taxied, I saw the white mammoth from a distance and said under my breath, &ldquo;Gee, that doesn&rsquo;t seem so big.&rdquo; Then, I saw it parked adjacent to a 747 and gasped.<br /><br />Seeing such a large aircraft sitting on the ground, I pondered the awful conundrum which Al Gore and many of his allies (including this author) face: it&rsquo;s a big planet and air travel is the only practical option for locomotion in many cases. Considering the air pollution caused by air travel, what&rsquo;s a tree hugger to do?<br /><br />If you have followed my writings here for any time, then you know how I feel about the <a href="http://www.keyboard-culture-global-warming.com/2008/06/interview_with_in... target="_blank">Interstate Traveler Hydrogen Superhighway</a> but even that revolutionary conveyance can&rsquo;t be everything to everyone. Until something akin to Gene Roddenberry&rsquo;s vision of the future comes our way, we will be restricted to flying aluminum cylinders.</p>
<h3>A Noxious Convenience</h3>
<p><img src="http://www.mistersustainable.com/images/a380-5.jpg" border="0" alt="" hspace="10" vspace="5" align="left" />Jets cause enormous harm to the environment and exacerbate the global climate crisis. Considering the size of the Airbus A380 super jumbo jet, what can we do to allow for free movement from city to city and continent to continent while reducing the carbon footprint? <strong>Enter&nbsp;ASPIRE, the Asia and South Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions</strong>. Spearheaded by the island nation of New Zealand (which I had the distinct pleasure of visiting in February), ASPIRE advocates such commonsense changes as upgraded air traffic control systems to allow for more direct routes and continuous descent trajectories. That doesn&rsquo;t sound overly complex, does it? It is not nor should it be. However, attempts to upgrade the air traffic control system of the United States has been bogged down by numerous challenges over the years and lost all of its momentum.<br /><br />This is not a partisan issue but action by the United States Congress and Obama administration is the order of the day if we want to extend the powerful reductions in the carbon footprint of air travel from ASPIRE across North America. So, if you live in the United States, I exhort you to write your Congressman and Senators. They need to hear from you. Likewise, call the White House comment line and register your opinion that it&rsquo;s time for the Federal Aviation Administration to have an air traffic control infrastructure for the new millennium, <strong>which operates on the satellite-based global positioning system, GPS!</strong><br /><br />Even if you do not live in the United States or have American citizenship, you can call the White House comment line. We need everyone&rsquo;s voice to resuscitate America&rsquo;s ATC upgrade.<br /><br />You can read more about ASPIRE at <a href="http://www.airways.co.nz/ASPIRE/_content/aspire.asp" target="_blank">airways.co.nz/ASPIRE/_content/aspire.asp</a></p>
<p><span style="font-size: xx-small;"><em><strong><span style="color: #006600;">&gt;&gt; <a href="http://www.keyboard-culture-global-warming.com">Be sure to visit Corbett's high-traffic expert blog on Keyboard Culture to read more.</a></span></strong></em></span></p>
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