New York Times reporter Andy Newman has followed up on his guilt-ridden travel piece in the paper’s um, Travel section (headlined under the buzzkillking title, “Travel’s Climate Problem – If to see the world is also to help destroy it, should we just stay home?”). Page two of Monday’s New York Times featured a "story behind the story" from Newman responding to readers crushed that Newman actually went on holiday abroad: “Weighing the Cost of Personal Travel.” (For some reason it’s not yet online but only available printed on dead tree, which is rather ironic.)
In that previous article, Newman found a scientific paper that warned even family vacations shrunk “sea ice” to a measurable degree, causing Newman to suffer hysterical liberal guilt over his vacation: “When I did that calculation, I pictured myself standing on a pickup-truck-sized sheet of ice as it broke apart and plunged me into frigid waters. A polar bear glared hungrily at me.”
In his follow-up Monday, Newman used the language of religion to describe his environmental sins of taking a holiday with his family. Fortunately he received “dispensation” from the Vatican of Vacations, i.e. the National Resources Defense Council, a left-wing environmental organization with some wacky ideas about mercury, and to whom the New York Times Co. has given glowing coverage as well as grant money in the past.
I asked Peter Miller, a director at the Natural Resources Defense Council who also serves on the board of the country’s biggest carbon-offset registry, if I had bought my way to a clean conscience.
Miller, an unyielding environmental priest, gave a stern, moralizing answer.
It does make an incremental contribution in the right direction. But there is the rest of your life and your family’s life that is still responsible for helping cause climate change.
Still, Newman made the best of it, concluding:
As dispensations go, I’ll take it.
Over the course of two articles, Newman failed to address the carbon elephant in the room: The myriad "Journeys" sponsored by the New York Times company for readers unaccountably eager to hang out with Times journalists: 24 in July, 25 in August, 30 in September....numbers that include six cruises still to depart this year (detailed lovingly in a glossy catalog). The “Journey’s” F.A.Q. page seems to say nothing about carbon offsets.
So, don’t expect the New York Times Co. to take the logical next steps by killing off the paper’s travel section and discontinue the paper's own fancy branded cruises (cruise ships, Newman assures us, are even more polluting than planes) and other expensive multi-day “journeys” to other cities both in America and worldwide.