Aerial photograph of crossed jet aircraft contrails.Although they are increasingly efficient, aircraft have a significant impact on our atmosphere through their emission of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. Currently, over 3% of anthropogenic climate change is caused by aircraft emissions. Despite advancements in engine design, this percentage is expected to increase over the next several decades as air travel increases. So I take action to minimize my contribution through daily lifestyle choices.

The most effective way to reduce pollution is to not produce it. My daily commute involves only walking and mass transit, a portion of which employs hybrid buses. When I must drive, I only do so in low emissions vehicles and I combine trips. To help offset my transportation emissions, I pay a voluntary carbon offset tax. My photography studio was built into an existing structure and uses a maximum of 200 watts of electricity, thanks to efficient computer processors, LED lighting, etc. But there’s more to pollution than just cars and light switches. I purchase used items whenever possible to lessen my consumption of raw materials, packaging, and shipping, all of which generate considerable pollution. My philosophy is to repair, not replace, and to only upgrade technology items when absolutely necessary. My studio produces about four liters of landfill waste every six months because nearly everything I use is recycled, composted, repurposed, or donated for future use.

To me, this isn’t enough. So I teach. For more than a decade, I’ve taught college courses in environmental science, geography, and atmospheric science. I strongly believe that the first step in solving environmental problems is raising awareness. All of our actions have an impact on our environment but with a little education, we can easily reduce this impact and make the world healthier for all species.