I'm leaving my job as the founder and CEO of BookFinder.com, after almost 13 years. I love what I do, but sometimes you have to leave even though things are good, or you'll never discover anything new.
I'm sitting on the subway, headed home. I just got off a plane from Canada. This'll be my last flight. At least for a while.
The BookFinder.com team (from the US, Germany, and Canada) spent the last week in Canada, training, planning, hanging out. There were also goodbye speeches, cake, and gifts -- I've been lucky to be able to work with such nice people over the years.
It'll be hard to emotionally separate myself from BookFinder.com, but separating from air travel will likely be harder. Growing up in a family of post-1965 transnational immigrants, our history is deeply connected with the democratization of air travel -- countless flights to and from India, Canada, Nigeria, and the United States. Our stories begin and end in airports.
A couple of years back, Barnali and I realized that our carbon footprint is bigger than that of 90% of Americans. We'd made a conscious decision to live car-free in a dense urban community. The numbers shocked us. We dug deeper. The culprit? Air travel.
Our flights overseas were killing us, totally undoing every other green effort we were making. We hemmed and hawed, but global warming is still a numbers game. We wouldn't do faulty accounting at work, and couldn't bring ourselves to do it at home. If we need to reduce CO2 emissions by 90% by 2050, then that can't exclude the aviation sector, responsible for about 3% of global emissions, more than all but a few countries.
Barnali and I are going to spend the next year challenging ourselves to live aviation-free, traveling across continents, talking to environmentalists and planners, and trying to explore solutions to this particularly inconvenient problem -- be that greener aviation technologies, or imagining a post-aviation future. Our project could be a failure, but at this time of impending ecological crisis, we feel moved to try to explore these questions. I hope you'll follow us as we learn.