The graph above depicts your skydiving emissions2, 3, 4 in relation to driving a new European passenger car for 30.000km5 and a transatlantic return flight.6, 7, 8
Data for the graphs are based on median emissions for commonly operated skydiving aircraft. Depending on the aircraft your home dropzone uses, those figures can be considerably higher. Have a look at the comparison sheet here to see emissions for your aircraft. For reference, the following graph compares the Supervan (lowest emissions) to the MI-8 Helicopter (highest emissions):
Next up: What about all that time flying in the windtunnel?9, 10, 11
Let's also have a look at how we compare to the average EU citizen:12
As a quick resume, here are the graphs above in numbers:
Skydiving is a very entertaining but also highly polluting activity. It is important to be aware of the impact our sport has on the environment. Also, to be able to have an informed discussion, it is generally more favorable to talk about facts and figures instead of using words such as less and more. Of course this data may vary greatly depending on the source. For the calculations above, real world fuel burn data was gathered from multiple skydiving aircraft operators and wind tunnels. If something seems off to you, please get in touch so we can figure out together whether some data on this website needs to be adjusted.
Let's face it, the most efficient way to reduce your skydiving footprint would be to skydive less. 100 jumps equal 1,4t of CO2 emissions.4 Maybe don't go for every possible funjump and spend some of your good weather days going for a swim or a hike instead.
Subsequently, it matters which aircraft you are flying with. Skydiving from a single engine aircraft can reduce your emissions by up to 60% in comparison to the MI-8 Helicopter. Flying back and forth between continents for your skydiving activity increases your footprint considerably. If you don't want to quit skydiving just yet and none of the following options are enticing to you, but you want to reduce your footprint, you could still choose to only go to events happening close to you, at dropzones operating single engine airplanes.
Furthermore, there is the option of offsetting the carbon emissions of your jumps. The price to offset emissions for 100 jumps is 35€.13 Bear in mind that tracking the actual effect of offsetting is a complicated matter and that offsetting might not be the ethical choice.14
Lastly, ask yourself if every single roadtrip is really worth it. Your car is likely one of the major contributors to your overall carbon footprint. Switch to public transport or start cycling instead. This might also be beneficial to your health.15
As an event organiser you could also choose a local dropzone for your event. This might not entail the same weather guarantee, but would heavily reduce your participants' travel emissions. Additionally, you could include a nature day during your event. This would be a good weather day on which the entire camp doesn't jump and pursues an alternative activity.
As a dropzone (and most likely you are doing this already) you could try to operate your plane as efficiently as possible: short taxi, fast loading and no long holds for that one skydiver who still needs to finish up packing. You might also want to consider switching to a single engine aircraft as this will not only cut your CO2 emissions considerably, but might also reduce your operating costs and generate a higher profit margin.
Wind tunnel operators could choose energy from renewable sources. This will likely increase the price per kWh, but given that they are big consumers they have the power of negotiation, as has been demonstrated by some wind tunnels that already made the switch without experiencing any significant price increases or passing on costs to their customers.16