Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Green flying

Here's some good reflections on the possibilities of making air travel more green, less damaging to the atmosphere: LINK to the website of George Monbiot.

Timely that a friend sent it to me as I've just jetted across the U.S. to meetings in California.

Monbiot reflects on the use of airships as possible alternatives to airplanes. He notes that people always thing of the Hindenburg and says that, "It’s as if, every time someone proposed travelling on a cruise ship, you were to ask, 'but what about the Titanic?'" He mentions that several small companies are working on airships. Unfortunately he doesn't mention by name, but I'm proud that one of them, SkyYacht, is just two blocks from where I live (LINK).

For those who read science fiction, there are lots of alternative visions to the Hindenburg. From a genesis I've never understood, there's a whole subsection of science fiction that features airships. Here's a passage from one of my favorite science fiction books, Diamond Age by Neil Stephenson:
Sunrise found the three airships hovering over the South China Sea, no land visible. The ocean was relatively shallow here, but only Hackworth and a few engineers knew that. The Hackworths had a passable view from their stateroom window, but John woke up early and staked out a place on the diamond floor of the ballroom, ordered an espresso and a Times from the waiter, and passed the time pleasantly while Gwen and Fiona got themselves ready for the day. All around them he could hear children speculating on what was about to happen.

LINK to this passage in WIRED and LINK to the book
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