We have grappled around our carbon footprint quite a lot recently, and again we feel like we have been very naïve.
As you probably know, we planned our trip to Bali and Green School in order to become more green ourselves and make sure our girls get their eyes opened to the actual status of our planet. We want them to become green, maybe leaders and hopefully change the world.
The visa choices in Indonesia
The contradiction in this is that in order to spend a year on Bali, you as a parent either have to obtain a social visa or a multiple entry visa. The only expetion is if you have a job and a sponsor within the country or are retired. On a social visa, you can stay on Bali for 6 months, but your passport must be submitted to the immigration office every month for renewal. Now, that means you don`t have your passport. If an emergency should happen and you need to fly to Singapore or wherever, in order to get required medical help, -well; then you don`t have your passport. The multiple entry visa is a one year one. But, you must leave the country every 60 days.
I think most people are closest to themselves. They choose the security of having access to their own passports over avoiding the visaruns. At least that was our choice, and so far we`ve been to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. -And we have three more visaruns to go before we head home. As Indonesia is a country of islands and far away from other countries, all but one GS parent we know of, use airflights on their visaruns.
The carbon footprint of flying
For anyone familiar with the carbon footprint of a flight, I guess the equation is easy; one year on Bali causes us to build up a carbonfootprint way beyond an average person. That applies for most Green School families. If you chose to look at it from that perspective, Green School is no longer the greenest school on earth. It is maybe one of the most pollutive of all. Luckly there are some initiatives going on at school in order to see if it can be changed, and we sincerely hope they succeed!
The carbon footprint calculation on airflights alone, can be further expanded; I think most families who come to Bali have visitors. Most of whom would not have travelled that far if it wasn`t for their opportunity to visit someone here. We are fortunate to have many dear friends and family members that have chosen to come visit us. We sat down and made the calculation of the carbonfootprint all the flights ourselves and our friends have done or will do, due to our year on Bali. It summed up to 136 tonnes of CO2 equivalents!
We should have stayed home
According to littleclimate.com an average person causes 4,5 tonnes of carbon emission from burning fuel per year. According to the authors of A good life for all within planetary boundaries, if we divided the amount of carbon that we can still burn equally between everyone on earth, each person could emit 1.6 tonnes of CO2 equivalents per year until 2100. That would give us a 66% chance of staying beneath 2°C of global warming. That is generally accepted as a threshold for dangerous climate change. However, if you use the figures as of 2018 for human population and remaining carbon budget, that falls to 1.2 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per person per year. That’s less than a one-way economy flight from Bali to Norway!
-And here we are, the two of us being the direct cause of 136 tonnes this year! We should simply have stayed home… We can ideally not allow ourselves to fly ever again. And gamble that Karla and Dina become excellent green leaders who in fact become able to change the world….