Conservationists Take Nine Flights A Year, Despite Knowing Danger To Environment, Study Shows


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Dec 13, 2014
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Something I think we all knew....
Evidence of the proverbial “pot calling the kettle black”.......

Of course this piece was written in a somewhat chastising tone, and made to raise awareness of a problem, with the requisite “recommendations” for changing behavior. However, I would venture to predict that those this article details will continue to preach from their ivory covered pedestals about the bad behaviors of us neanderthals who don’t subscribe to the environmentalist “religion”, all the while continuing doing the same thing everyone else does.

Of course there is no better example of an environmental protectionist than the true “hunter-conservationist” but the vast majority of the people this article was intended to reach would never acknowledge that fact.


Conservationists may preach about the importance of going green to save the planet, but most have a carbon footprint which is virtually no different to anyone else, a new study has shown.

Scientists as Cambridge University were keen to find out whether being fully informed about global warming, plastic in the ocean or the environmental impact of eating meat, triggers more ethical behaviour.

But when they examined the lifestyles of conservation scientists they discovered most still flew frequently – an average of nine flights a year – ate meat or fish approximately five times a week and rarely purchased carbon offsets for their own emissions.

They were also less green in travelling to work than medics, and kept more dogs and cats. A recent study suggested pets are a hefty ecological burden. It takes more than two acres of grazing pasture to keep a medium-sized dog fed with meat, while the eco-footprint of a cat is similar to a Volkswagen Golf.

Even the study’s four authors - all conservation scientists - admitted that between them they took 31 flights in 2016 and had each eaten two meat dinners in the week before submitting the research.

“As conservationists we must do a great deal more to lead by example,” said lead author Dr Andrew Balmford, Professor of Conservation Science at Cambridge.

“Obvious starting points include changing the ways we interact, so that attending frequent international meetings is no longer regarded as essential to making scientific progress. For many of us flying is probably the largest contributor to our personal emissions.

“While it may be hard to accept, we have to start acknowledging that increased education alone is perhaps not the panacea we would hope.”

The study is the first to compare the environmental footprint of conservationists to other groupings. The actions of 300 conservation scientists were compared to 207 economists and 227 medics from the University of Cambridge and the University of Vermont in the US.

They found that fellow conservationists recycled more and ate less meat than either economists or medics, but their combined carbon footprint was only 16 per cent less than that of economists, and 7 per cent lower than the medics.

The researchers concluded that there was little correlation between the extent of environmental knowledge and environmentally-friendly behavior. They suggest that measures should focus on making it easier to make green choices, such as by making public transport more affordable rather than simply educating people on the impact of carbon or plastic.

“I don’t think conservationists are hypocrites, I think that we are human – meaning that some decisions are rational, and others, we rationalise,” said study co-author Dr Brendan Fisher from Vermont’s Gund Institute for Environment and Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.

“Our results show that conservationists pick and choose from a buffet of pro-environmental behaviours the same as everyone else.

“We might eat less meat and compost more, but we fly more – and many of us still commute significant distances in gas cars.”

Overall footprint scores were higher for males, US nationals, and people with higher degrees and larger incomes, but were unrelated to environmental knowledge.

Dr Fisher said the study supports the idea that ‘values’ are a key driver of behaviour. Across the professions, attaching a high value to the environment was consistently associated with a lower footprint: fewer personal flights and less food waste, for example.

“It doesn’t matter if you are a medic, economist, or conservationist, our study shows that one of the most significant drivers of your behaviour is how much you value the environment,” Dr Fisher said.

“Economists who care about the environment behave as well as conservationists.”
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Interesting and just what greenie “conservationists” wont believe about themselves.
Hmmm, maybe I should fly twice to Africa in 2018? NOT! First I can’t afford it.
First, we should ban all politicians from flying.........and using Twitter!
Reading that article made me hungry.. I think I'll go make me a hamburger and feed the dogs while I am at it
I like flying all over including Africa. Looking forward to the next Delta 200.
Working for an oil company, it still makes me laugh when "environmentalists" chastise me for "destroying" the earth, yet they still drive cars, heat their homes with natural gas (either directly or from a nat gas power plant), use plastic products, etc.
I can assure all of you that I will be flying off and on for the rest of my life, long as I am healthy enough to do so, but not likely nine times a year. Last time I checked there were no highways nor gas stations going to London, Paris, Frankfurt or Johannesburg!
I like flying all over including Africa. Looking forward to the next Delta 200.

I'm taking it early May, who knows may see you in departure
Year to date I have flown just over 149 segments (flights) on delta airlines. I guess that makes me somewhat of a bad person! But my horse and buggy can't get me to all the places I have to travel to.
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