I came across a tweet back in January 2018, I almost ignored it, the bar graph (pictured below) at first seemed too dense for me to bother with, then I read the accompanying text because it mentioned a carbon budget on a per person basis.
It’s a CO2 budget that has been allocated to each and everyone of us with the aim is to explain how damaging modern travel is and what steps we can take to minimize the damage by budgeting for it. All of us contributing, working within the means of the budget would be averting the 2 degree rise in temperature that is projected to happen.
I was fascinated with this suggestion of a budget, it’s easy to understand when I’m not tempted at the next tweet on my feed. Then I was dismayed for a few reasons because:
- I didn’t know I had a budget nor any responsibility and I consider myself as someone informed on issues effecting the environment.
- It’s one of those really informative tweets on Twitter that doesn’t get much traction.
- How many people would immediately scoff at the idea of adhering to a budget that relates to jet travel, something we take it for granted?
How to Mainstream This?
Then one idea dawned on me; for this information to gain wider attention and possible acceptance, it would have to be on the mainstream news outlets and repeated like a PSA, (no chance of that happening) or this information needs someone in the mainstream to publically subscribe to this budget for everyone else to understand what it means in a real life situation with regular reminders (I already do, but who cares about me?).
You’d need someone bigger, someone significant, importantly someone collaborative and creative, and who wears their life onscreen warts and all so it’s genuine.
I thought of Casey Neistat, Casey has the large following, a very public life and he’s open to collaborations and actively seeks to shake things up from time to time in what he does. His new vblog series, ‘368' exemplifies this and he directly cites ‘Original: How Non-Conformists Change the World’. 1,2. Casey lends himself to being open minded. SIDE NOTE: The style in his new videos are wild!
Prior to the new 368 YouTube series, Casey has shown a willingness to help smaller individuals on the platform either through the ‘Make a Wish Foundation’ or promoting, raising awareness of the work of upcoming creators. Recently Casey made an episode with a blind YouTuber. Viewers got to relate to Molly, it was fun to watch Casey and Molly explain what could initially be a puzzlling contradiction for viewers. Importantly, audiences walk away knowing what is possible!
Casey is inspirational stuff. To be in his position and then actively have the time and energy to devote to making a positive difference to people’s lives beyond just being entertaining. Casey doesn’t have to do that.
Casey does though because he’s genuine, and passionate with his film making and with making human connections. It’s one of his themes. He travels the world with his passion on his heart and through his channel. Casey’s passion through no fault of his own has an environmental cost however, and it’s left out of the realities of his blog.
Any fan of his would be drawn to his kind of lifestyle; the one that would enable any artist creative freedom, but what about the CO2 emissions that are also enabling it?
Casey is regularly taking flights, especially First Class as he’s famous for video blogging some of the newest first class cabins; travelling all over the world blowing way past the budget afforded to him. Reading the results in the bar graphs, fossil fuel jet travel is the least environmentally friendly form of transportation, and not all jet travel is equal. First class is vastly more damaging than economy class in terms of CO2 emissions. Take a look at the simplifed version of the CO2 budget below.
In short, one first class flight produces more carbon than all the carbon emitted by a single American across an entire year! I certainly didn’t realise how damaging flying was until now. Did you?
Could Casey Explain the CO2 Budget to a Wider Audience by Simply Practising It?
So what if Casey took the CO2 budget into account and just stopped flying for a month or year on YouTube? Visualising such a change on his blog would generate more publicity and awareness over the reach of a single Twitter thread. 3.
You’re thinking that this would be a negative limitation for Casey? I don’t think so, Casey is always the creative. I imagine vastly more upsides than downsides. I also assume Casey would be creative inside his CO2 budget if he felt the need to leave New York on one of his excursions. 4.
Working With Limitations
There are plenty of creators out on the Internet working with tighter constraints on their time and money, making do with whatever they have, whether it’s making do with an old second hand video camera, a slow laptop or they are building a channel alongside a full-time job. We’re always being reminded (by Casey included in his more motivational moments) that our creative tools are only necessary to a point. The rest is up to us and our imagination and perseverance.
streetview.portraits on Instagram is an interesting example of someone working with serious limitations and still expressing herself creatively. Labelling herself as Agoraphobic Traveller, Jacqui Kenny travels the earth using only Google Street View. In the process she has created a way to make hundreds of images she would find near impossible to do because of her fear of going out into the world. Jacqui has sidestepped a non-negotiable limitation placed on her, and has still built a large following alongside selling her prints!
My Point Is.
What if the luxury of travel, just wasn’t an option for Casey temporarily, just as it isn’t at all for Jacqui.
In true creator style, Casey would conjure up alternative vlog content. Maybe somewhere down the line there is a ‘comprehensive’ review of an electric plane for Casey to review (he’d also be side stepping his limitation and mainstreaming the greener alternative for our benefit).
I’m not asking Casey to turn into an eco-friendly warrior, to advocate for veganism, lower taxes on avocados, and wear yoga pants instead of his new suit, to turn his channel upside down and kneecap his brand. I’m just talking about mainstreaming the consequences of jet travel with fossil fuels.
Jet travel IS harming the planet and our children’s futures at a scale we can’t immediately fathom and connect the dots towards. A CO2 budget is one part of an equation to help with understanding this issue, increasing our awareness is the second part, normalizing the idea and practicing it should be the final part, and it becomes as common knowledge as knowing to buy a reusable bottle over a plastic disposable one.
Any push into mainstream acceptance of reducing jet travel by fossil fuels has the chance to accelerate greener solutions like electric aircraft.
We as a species are already on a travelator that we can’t hit the ‘Stop’ button on, on our way to a destination resulting in our world warming in negative ways. However, I’ll do, and suggest anything to apply the brakes to help. Thanks for reading. Casey, I hope you read this too!
- I actually had the idea of writing this article back in January before Casey even went on his break in order to set up the 368 series.
- I bought this book because Casey mentioned it in a recent episode. The book looks at the bottlenecks and social factors around implementing good ideas.
- It doesn’t have to be Casey, I’ve chosen to write about Casey because I can get behind him as a person and I watch him more than anyone else.
- Let’s remember, PieDiePie is YouTube’s largest creator by following and he mostly just stays in his basement making videos!
- Having said all that, Casey could just make regular donations to offset his flying by making donations to Atmos for green energy projectsif he already doesn’t. It wouldn’t have the same effect as its something being mentioned rather than experienced.