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The Sustainable Network by Sarah Sorensen

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Chapter 14. Detravelization

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He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

One of the more sustainable impacts the network can have is its capability to reduce the carbon emissions generated via human transportation and travel. The network’s capability to connect people to the resources and information they need from wherever they are, using a variety of new applications and services, has exploded this past decade. Do you really need to travel for business? Is it absolutely essential to be in the same room for that meeting? How about going into the office every day? Remote office capabilities, web and video conferencing, and even “virtual worlds” allow individuals and businesses to substitute or reduce commutes and travel, and are predicted to yield between $15 billion and $30 billion in gross savings through 2020.[174]

Don’t underestimate the amount of carbon emissions generated via the fossil fuels consumed to operate and maintain airplanes, cars, trains, buses, and other modes of powered transportation (approximately 2–3% of the world’s annual carbon emissions). Detravelization can have a significant impact. For example, in the U.S., automobile emissions alone account for about 20% of the country’s GHG emissions,[175] which is one reason green statistics in the media often use the phrase, “It’s like taking xx number of cars off the ...

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