Stuff I saw while flying yesterday


It’s a complicated world. That’s what I always feel when flying. Somehow, the eco-details of an airplane flight always feel soaked in irony–maybe because flying itself is pretty deeply unsustainable. Here are some things I saw on a recent flight:

An art exhibition in the Atlanta airport: clothes made from recycled materials

Smoke from burning sugarcane fields rising up, then spreading throughout the atmosphere below the plane

Rather than trash containers, plug-in mini trash compacters in the airport that open their doors automatically when you walk up

A napkin from a flight attendant accompanying a packet of totally non-napkin-worthy cookies

Hundreds of suburban neighborhoods designed with cul-de-sacs, on which houses might be very near (but unconnected to) major roads

My biggest pet peeve in the world: automatic toilets in airport bathrooms, flushing needlessly, again and again

Mountaintop removal sites in West Virginia

Big poultry barns in the Carolinas

Flight attendants promising to recycle newspapers if passengers would hand them over

A dirty look from a Starbucks employee when I asked her to fill my reusable cup