Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Bicoastal Zigzag

It's with no small amount of irony that I reflect on the juxtaposition of my growing focus on sustainability [see my recent blog series from July 28 through Aug 12] and the goofiness of the travel schedule for my current road trip. It's embarrassing.

Right now I'm in Charlottesville VA after completing the first segment of a seven-week odyssey where I'll only be home for two brief stretches. Here's the sequence of my peregrinations:

Leg One—East Coast
o Aug 17-18 Shannon Farm (Afton VA) for FIC meetings
o Aug 19-21 Twin Oaks (Louisa VA) for the Twin Oaks Communities Conference

Leg Two—West Coast
o Aug 25-28 Yulupa (Santa Rosa CA) for facilitation training
o Aug 29-Sep 4 Las Vegas NV visiting my kids

Leg Three—East Coast
o Sept 8-11 Shannon Farm (Afton VA) for facilitation training
o Sept 13-14 home for 40 hours!

Leg Four—Third Coast
o Sept 16-18 Kalamazoo MI for process workshops with the Peace Center
o Sept 19 home for 16 hours!

Leg Five—West Coast
o Sept 23-25 Westminster Woods (Occidental CA) for FIC's Art of Community Gathering
o Sept 26-28 Frog Song (Cotati CA) for the FIC fall organizational meetings
o Oct 4 home for the sorghum harvest!

Note that I'll be at Shannon Farm twice and in Sonoma County CA twice in this sequence, but only after going to the other place in between. Oog! There's a ton of train miles embedded in this itinerary, and also about 5000 driving miles (to schlep books to each of the conferences in VA and CA). When I originally put my fall travel together, I had hoped to do the CA facilitation training right in front of the Art of Community event, but the scheduling didn't work out for the training participants (resulting in my doing a lot more training—of the Amtrak variety).

As I race around the continent advocating for the principles of social sustainability, it's reasonable to question whether my delivery is exemplifying the principles of environmental sustainability. While the dollars work out (that is, the cost of my travel is more than covered by the income earned and travel subsidies I'll receive), am I really doing all that I can (and should) to make each gallon of fuel count?

It's hard to say. I feel better when I travel by train (which is a relatively efficient way to move people long distances), and on each leg of my journeys by automobile we'll be using a van that gets close to 40 mpg, and doing our best to fill the vehicle with people and goods. At what point though, does it make sense to travel less, to start working with purpose toward the coming time when it won't be possible to travel more? Is it enough to wait until I'm priced out? In pursuit of one good, am I undercutting another?

This is a tough apple-to-oranges question and as I contemplate the answer, my mind zigzags almost as much as my itinerary.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I could not handle that much time on a trai- I'd be looking at SW Airline discounted flights on the web