It is no secret that skydiving is bad for the environment, it doesn't take rocket science to figure out each load is using fossil fuel which is essentially damaging to the environment. Many companies, people and organizations around the world continue to try become more 'green' in an attempt to slow down emissions, an initiative which has been strongly inspired by the global warming buzz which has been increasingly present over the past decade or so.
Skydiving has been put on the list of most environmentally damaging hobbies/sports activities a few times, this because of the fuel used in each load. Though it's certainly not that black and white, and one has to look at little bit deeper, down to that layer of thought called logic.
To quote a member of the dropzone forums in an environmental thread.
"While skydiving may consume more fuel per participant then, say, soccer. He (the writer of the article that the thread is discussing) ignores the fuel consumed by the millions of fans who drive to soccer stadiums around the world every week. Therefore, the impact of soccer as a whole, makes skydiving look like a drop in the bucket."
Let's quickly look at some numbers and see just how 'bad' skydiving is in comparison to other sporting events.
In soccer for example, the world’s largest spectator sport- stadiums can hold from 40 000 to in excess of 100 000 spectators, and often these stadiums are full. The FIFA World Cup this year is in South Africa, and the South African chief organizer of the World Cup is suggesting a possible 300 000 foreign visitors. Including flights to the country, local flights between games and transport that's a lot of fossil fuel! This is of course just one example of a sport where the transportation of the spectators seems to outweigh the emissions of skydiving.
The fact that skydiving is an activity which is based around aeroplanes often tends to trigger people into thinking that conventional sports are a lot less damaging to the environment. But it is important to take into account the details and nature of each activity and not just look at which one appears at first glance to be damaging.
Trying to become more environmentally aware does not mean that one must stop all activities that are harmful to the environment, because with that logic one would likely never leave their room. It's about trying to make a difference, looking for greener ways to continue what you're currently doing. There will be times when you will have to sacrifice comfort should you want to become more environmentally friendly, though this is a personal choice you should make on your own.
With that said; There are dropzones who are getting into the green swing of things and attempting to cut their emissions the best they can, while at times positively enhancing the dropzone as well.
Skydive Lake Wanaka is just one dropzone who has recently purchased a P-750 X-Stol jumpship. They stated in a press release they have upgraded their current Cresco to the Cresco P-750 in an attempt to cut down on the amount of loads done per day by increasing the size of their aircraft and doubling the amount of possible passengers per load. This is just one case where a small investment allows for progressive environmental support while at the same time increasing the quality of the dropzone. The P-750 is not only larger than the current Cresco, but it is more comfortable, has larger windows and a quieter engine.
The current Cresco has an average fuel consumption of 180 litres/h while the P-750 X-Stol has an average fuel consumption of 192 litres/h, an increase of just 12 litres an hour while being able to hold twice the amount of passengers.