How is it possible that with so much discussion around climate change we continue to have carbon dioxide spewing celebrations endorsed by our local, provincial and federal governments? The time has come to reconsider having the Snowbirds fly at Canadian airshows and other community celebrations. Although there has been growing backlash against the Snowbirds for a number of years due to dangerous public accidents, pilot deaths and community groups opposing the use of a symbol of war at family-focused events, now is the time for the 'greening' of the Snowbirds due to their high environmental price.

The Snowbirds have more than 65 scheduled appearances in 2008. If each performance is only one hour in duration (excluding practice and flying to and from the event), 65 performances at an estimated 27.9 tons of C02 per hour = 1,813.5 tons of CO2 generated in 2008 alone.

Carbon Emissions

Fuel statistics on the Snowbirds suggests that each plane burns an estimated 1000 liters of fuel per hour. If each liter produces 3.1kg of CO2 then each plane creates 3.1 tons of CO2 per hour. If there are 9 planes, each producing 3.1 tons of CO2 per hour, the result is an estimated 27.9 tons of CO2 in just one hour. These estimates do not include the Snowbirds’ practice and travel time.

The cost of the Snowbirds performing is an enormous amount of greenhouses gases in the skies. No community or government —municipal or federal — can justify such a carbon emission intensive performance as the Canadian Snowbirds as a celebratory event.

Iain Hunter, a journalist with the Times Colonist, wrote that the Snowbirds should stop flying altogether because of their contribution to global warming. He writes, 'Aviation — especially the transcontinental and intercontinental kind —is a significant source of the emissions that contribute to what we know as global warming'. Air travel is one of the fastest growing sources of global-warming gases.

Carbon Neutral

Wouldn’t it be great if the Snowbirds voluntarily became carbon neutral? The Snowbirds could attempt to offset the carbon emissions they produce during their performances through carbon offsetting. This eco-gesture would go a long way to encouraging other Canadians to consider offsetting their own carbon footprint. However, it is important to remember that carbon offsetting is not an exact science and does not magically take greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. Charlie Kronick, head of Greenpeace's climate and energy campaign UK, said in a statement, ‘The truth is, once you've put a ton of CO2 into the atmosphere there's nothing offsetting can do to stop it changing our climate.’

Sustainable Celebrations

Snowbird performances, even though entertaining, are an unnecessary luxury that must be reconfigured due to their high carbon emission cost. As more and more Canadians are taking steps to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, no government agency has the right to authorize a Snowbird performance without full public disclosure of the greenhouse gases released during their performance. Sure people love the Snowbirds, but isn't time they start setting a positive green example to the many individuals that look up to them?

Communities and government agencies can work together to organize sustainable alternative celebrations that don’t damage the environment or have such a high carbon footprint. With all the information about climate change so readily available, we can no longer pretend to be ignorant of the consequences of our actions.

Contact the Snowbirds

Contact the Snowbirds and ask them to consider voluntarily posting information about their carbon emissions (including practice and travel time) on their website, allowing the public to decide if their high carbon dioxide output is worth their performance: http://www. snowbirds. forces. gc. ca/

Via:www.greenmuze. ??m

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