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I Fly Too Much | Change the Conversation


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Externality Defined

An externality is a side effect or consequence of an activity that affects other parties without this consequence being reflected in the cost.

The kind of change the world needs is not a straight or easy path

By Tri Vo

I am a millennial by birth, but my business training has been old school. Much to the dismay of my student loans, the merits of a good handshake seemed to be half the curriculum at the McCombs School of Business. As a dealmaker, meeting face-to-face and perhaps sharing a meal made all the difference in progressing conversations. The result: I fly too much. A few years ago I tried to quantify my carbon footprint. ( I recommend footprintcalculator.org as a starting place). I avoid shopping whenever possible and have always lived about 5 minutes from everywhere I’ve worked, so I expected my footprint to be pretty reasonable.

Turns out, flying is one of the worst activities I could be doing from an emissions perspective, and it made up the vast majority of my footprint. In fact, the global aviation industry makes up roughly 2% of all human-induced carbon dioxide emissions.1 Like every other millennial (as seen on every dating profile!), one of my favorite hobbies was compounding the issue: travel. My lifestyle was not climate-friendly. 

As we rebuild our way of life with the true cost of externalities in consideration—perhaps for the first time—expect contradictions and hypocrisy. Perhaps, go easy on that celebrity flying private on his way to a “save the turtles” benefit or your friend celebrating an anniversary with a steak dinner. The kind of change that the world needs is not a straight and easy path, and if we truly understand that, we can approach both the problems and solutions with compassion.


Tri is the founder and President of CarbonBetter. He expanded his energy business beyond logistics to help tackle climate change from the inside. When he’s not helping his team support energy and decarbonization clients, you can find him spending time with his family. Connect with Tri on LinkedIn and subscribe below to be notified about new stories.


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