Re: FAA -- Environmental Champions?
"Trains and autos need much more land than aviation."
Roads and car-parks cover vast amounts of land, trains less so and airports even less. It's a question of numbers.
"Aviation is much more fuel efficient than autos per passenger-mile."
Only once airborne. Take-offs apparently burn a lot of juice. Still, aeroplanes do only take-off once per journey and those can be long so that can be a minor consideration for long-haul flights.
"Aircraft and airports are far less noisy than they were a few decades ago."
Very true, especially since they binned my beloved Concorde; that one used to shake the world, lovely though she was. But current designs have a limit to how quiet they can be while remaining profitable enough for the bosses and shareholders. Absent returning to airships with silenced engines, something I would truly love to see, noise is not going away any time soon. Even miles away from their homes, aeroplanes can disturb our Summer afternoons. It's just how the physics works.
"My time living next to a mid-sized airport was far more peaceful than my time living next to train tracks."
That one's down to local conditions. Some railway tracks are used by huge, unending freight trains that are awesomely seismic in their passage, others less so. Some airports are relatively quiet, others are Heathrow. It's like our allotment of Dark Sky, either you are lucky to have some or not. Our experiences of local noise and pollution is spotty, semi-random and not personal. It's just our bad luck if we live near a bad one.
Though I'd imagine Mr. Musty, Mr. Bozo and others have relatively silent skies over each of their many houses.