Flying and eating healthier (for the world, that is)

The Freakonomics blog on the New York Times’ website has two interesting posts today on carbon emissions. Daniel Hamermesh cites a Yahoo! News story about the world’s only carbon-neutral airline, which charges passengers by the pound. But don’t get too worked up: though “Derrie-Air” advertised in Philadelphia papers, it’s not real. Instead, it’s a one-day ploy to “stimulate discussion on a timely environmental topic of interest to all citizens,” as explains (and the blog points out up front). In the second post, Stephen Dubner details why eating locally may not help the environment, as widely believed. His post critiques four arguments for eating locally produced food, among them its supposed environmental benefits. If everyone in the world ate locally produced food, he asks, would the planet really be better off?

Figuring out how to produce food and how to transport everything with a smaller carbon footprint will be imperative upon us in the next few years. Even lighthearted examinations of what we can or should be doing to address the issues are helpful, and worth a read now.

P.S. If Derrie-Air’s payment formula becomes widely accepted by real airlines, one of these guys will be paying a lot more than the others to hit the skies.

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