Report by Olli Borg (Finland)
All human activities have an impact on the environment – also flying, sports etc. The impacts vary from local to global.
The local impacts have been a problem on many mountain sites (especially in national parks etc.). The local impacts may include :
- Disturbance of wildlife (eg. breeding)
- Excessive wear of vegetation
From an environmental point of view, these are all minor issues. Nevertheless, the world is changing and we have to face it. It is our responsibility to react and ensure the use of our flying sites in the future.
By far the best way is to adapt our activity to reduce the negative impacts on the environment. To help the task, the FAI has established an environmental commission that has agreed on codes of conduct for the disciplines.
Some methods to reduce impacts:
- Reduce traffic by use of eg buses
- Organize car parking
- Take care of (collect, recycle) wastes
- Prohibit / restrict the use of sensitive areas
- Information to pilots and all concerned
- Noise control
All the mentioned methods are in fact very easy to organize!
As meet / competition organizers it is OUR duty to assure that the environment is taken into account in our events. For every meet someone in the organization should be appointed to assure that the environmental policy is put into practice. The person in charge should be given sufficient rights (there is an analogy to dealing with the media or press).
The environmental codes and policy of an event can be advertised to obtain a positive image on the media. This is essential in order to get the general attitude on our side.
Global impacts are becoming more important and are of great concern around the world. This is an issue that we have to face in the near future.
Global impacts are related to the greenhouse-effect. The major concern is of carbon dioxide. This is directly connected with the use of fossil fuels (almost all energy we use!).
As free-flight pilots, we are on the safe side from the start (wind & thermals = solar power)! This should also be used as a positive argument in the media!
The issue will be the traffic and towing. In the future we may be facing requirements to reduce the emissions (policy of constant development).