Don’t leave so many lights on around the house. Cut down on driving. Avoid flying to faraway destinations. The laundry list of global warming “don’ts” can be a real downer.

When we’re asked to give up so many modern conveniences, it feels like we’re being deprived. It’s one of the major problems that global warming strategists confront again and again: How do you convince people to sacrifice something that has become part and parcel of daily life?

The Christian Science Monitor addressed this question in a good piece about air travel. As the price to fly plunges, more people are taking long flights — and the skies are getting dirtier as a result:

"People aren't going to give up airline travel easily. For long-distance travel, there's really no practical replacement. "We think the free movement of people and goods is a pretty fundamental right," says Graham Lancaster, a spokesman for Britain's Federation of Tour Operators."

But is it also someone’s “fundamental right” to add all that CO2 to the atmosphere?

There’s no easy solution to this problem. Great Britain has upped the taxes on flights, and some governments are considering making airline travel part of a carbon cap-and-trade system.

But to us, it seems like some of the solution must come from consumers themselves — and we recommend compromise. What if, for example, we all took two flights per year? Not as much fun as 12 flights, for sure — but not exactly Spartan, either.

Story by Kiera Butler. This article originally appeared in Plenty in February 2007. This story was added to in July 2009.

Copyright Environ Press 2007.

Consumers unlikely to reduce flights
As the price to fly plunges, more people are taking long flights—and the skies are getting dirtier as a result.