Lessons From Eyjafjallajökull: Air Freight Is Going To Kill Us All

Submitted by Charles Frost on Wed, 04/21/2010 - 12:22.

Lessons From Eyjafjallajökull: Air Freight Is Going To Kill Us All

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto on 04.21.10


It isn't a particularly big volcano by Icelandic standards. Even its name is boring; it translates into English as "island-mountains glacier." But it has been fascinating to watch its effects around the world. Jeff Rubin says "It may well be a dress rehearsal for what lies ahead."

lessons from volcano aviation carbon emissions photo planes on ground
Globe and Mail

In the Guardian, Anthony Kleanthous writes about how the volcano shows our lack of sustainability.

Had we taken steps already to redesign our economy according to the principles of sustainable development, the grounding of our air fleet would have been far easier to take. There would already be affordable, high-speed direct rail links between all major European cities. Businesses would be equipped with state-of-the-art videoconferencing facilities and making fuller use of the formidable communications and information resources of the internet. Aircraft would be more efficient. Airlines would be paying duty on fuel in the same way that car drivers do, changing the economics of travel in a way that favoured more sustainable alternatives. Citizens would be used to holidaying closer to home. Only those with enough money and pressing reasons to fly would be inconvenienced.

More in the Guardian.

He's right. A quick search shows the ridiculous, unsustainable waste in transporting completely unnecessary crap around the world in airplanes.

In Boston, they are running out of certain kinds of fish. According to CNN, Boston-based Black Pearl Seafood was supposed to import 25 tons of fresh fish from a London warehouse, fish with a wholesale value of $320,000. "None of it left the ground," said Black Pearl owner Dick Martin. "They're just backed up like cords of wood with no end in sight."

BMW is having problems putting cars together in South Carolina; they fly the transmissions in from Germany.

lessons from volcano aviation carbon emissions photo flowers from new zealand

In New Zealand, business is booming; with no salmon from Norway and no orchids from Amsterdam, the center of the international flower trade, they are picking up the slack. According to another CNN article:

"We're all working overtime; for the first time we may add weekend shifts to keep up with demand," said Rosewarne, whose company is now shipping 200 tons of salmon to fine-dining restaurants and retail stores in Japan, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

lessons from volcano aviation carbon emissions photo greenhouses kenya
Kelly Rossiter

In Kenya, the greenhouses by the shores of Lake Naivasha, flowers are being fed to the animals since they can't be shipped to Europe. Florists are beside themselves. Ian Lloyd, a wedding florist in Wilmslow, Cheshire, complains to the Telegraph:

"Some of the exotic foliages and flowers we use are in short supply. Purple has been the in colour this season but if you're a bride and you have your heart set on purple orchids, you might be disappointed."

lessons from volcano aviation carbon emissions photo fruit marks spencer
Bonnie Alter

And as Bonnie mentioned earlier, stores are running out of pre-sliced fruit.

Purple orchids. Fish for Boston, as if it isn't beside an ocean. Car Transmissions! We know the carbon footprint of flying, yet we fly the most ridiculous, non-essential things because we can. Perhaps there is a lesson here, that there are some conveniences we should do without.

From: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/04/lessons-from-iceland-volcano.php