Last year I supported the Flight Free 2020 campaign… then Covid came and most of us couldn’t fly anyway!
This year flying may still not be possible for many due to Covid, but even so I have chosen to pledge to be flight free for 2021 and use it as an opportunity to talk about this topic.
It’s not just about individual change – ‘carbon footprint’ was a concept created by fossil fuel companies to falsely move the onus onto us – but there are important conversations to have around flying and climate justice.
Only 5-20% of the population have ever flown, and a tiny elite percentage make up the majority of flights. Flying has a uniquely intense carbon impact with just one flight producing more emissions than individuals in some countries emit in a year, with these generally being the countries that will suffer the most from climate change. ‘Sustainable aviation’ just isn’t there yet, and there aren’t yet ways around a zero carbon world without flying less.
Voluntarily reduction is an important part of the solution. I want to spread the word that we can still have amazing experiences without flying and that’s why the Flight Free 2021 campaign is so important!
There are also big systemic changes in this area we can support too such as blocking airport expansion, frequent flyer levies, (affordable) new long distance train links, removing subsidies from the industry (whilst supporting a just transition of jobs) and increased aviation tax, supporting the use of comms technology post-Covid to reduce the need for business travel, and a move towards slow-cations (e.g. jobs that allow remote working whilst travelling).
I’m sure I will fly again, but consciously and meaningfully. Seeing the world gives experiences that can provide a greater sense of global empathy, and of course people need to see families they live apart from.