It all started 12 years ago, when I chose to take the train home from British Columbia to Montreal instead of flying. At the time, it wasn’t a conscious decision to never fly again, it was simply a choice I made for that specific trip. I’ve stayed very informed about climate change all of my adult life; most of my actions and decisions are largely directed by my will to be an environmentally friendly citizen on this planet.
More recently, I’ve become more and more concerned about this alarming situation we’re in. Anxiety seemed to be slowly replacing my usual positivity about our future. I was starting to feel overwhelmed, sad, and alone, even if I know I’m not.
I’ve noticed that as humans, our need for validation and recognition is growing quickly, especially in this age of social media. As I searched the Internet for signs of this validation, I wanted to know if others, like me, refused to take the plane because of its environmental impact. That’s when I found the organization “We stay on the Ground” and its campaign “Flight Free 2020”.
Most would say that refusing to fly is quite radical, simply because it’s so accessible and popular. But times have changed. We must follow suit. During my early twenties, we used to skip a semester or two to travel the world with nothing but our backpacks and all our savings! These days, kids are rather skipping school to save the planet…
The bottom line is that taking the plane is very often unnecessary and it causes a great deal of air pollution. Why are we doing this? In my opinion, flying for recreational means cannot be justified in this day and age. It cannot. We must try to simplify our lives, see the world differently and decrease our carbon footprints. There are many ways to do this. Not flying is just one of those.
When you’re trying to apply big changes to your lifestyle, it’s much less daunting to isolate your decision instead of thinking: “This is IT.” I invite you to isolate the next year in your lives and picture it flight-free. Break it down to one season at a time. If you’re used to escaping in the cold winter months, please consider a closer destination or perhaps try to embrace the snow and learn a new winter sport!
I’ve chosen to help spread the word about this Flight Free campaign because I believe in it. I encourage all you who think that this makes sense to take on the challenge and pledge not to fly for one year. Start with just one year. You won’t be doing it alone. 100,000 Canadians, maybe more, will be doing the same as you.
People worldwide are pledging to stay on the ground. Citizens in Sweden, in the UK, in Belgium, in France, in Germany, in Norway and in Denmark are all working towards the same goal. This has quickly become an international movement. We don’t need to visit each other’s countries to understand each other. We are beyond that point. We are in this together.