How do you feel about New Year’s Resolutions? Are they a welcome prompt to self improvement? Do you feel optimistic and excited?
Or do you groan at the thought, already anticipating the day you break your resolution and feel guilty?
At Flight Free UK we love a New Year’s resolution. The flight free movement started with Maja Rosén’s New Year’s resolution that, when people told her about their flights, she would talk to them about the climate. From that sprang the campaign to ask 100,000 Swedes to stop flying for a year. We believe that taking a flight free year is absolutely the best New Year’s resolution you can make.
This time last year we were asking people if taking the Flight Free 2020 pledge could be their New Year’s resolution. Of course, no one could have predicted what happened next. Record numbers of people stayed grounded, but not through choice. For many it has been a miserable year, and we totally understand people wanting to get out of here at the first opportunity.
But before you click ‘book’ on that flight, could you make a different choice?
Depending on how much you fly normally, not flying will make more difference to your carbon footprint than almost anything else. Forgoing just one long-haul flight would have more benefit than even a really demanding resolution like going vegan. (Of course, you can do both. All areas of our emissions need to come down, and reducing the amount of meat and dairy you consume is very much worth doing too.)
"We believe that taking a flight free year is absolutely the best New Year’s resolution you can make."
And while your heart might sink at the thought of having to stay put in 2021 too, the good news is that you don’t have to! There are lots of fabulous destinations within reach. The spectacular British coastline, quirky European cities, the Alps, even Mediterranean resorts, can all be enjoyed without flying.
In 2020 we’ve had a chance to reflect on what’s important to us. We’ve kept in touch with friends and family without the need for high-carbon transport. Family Zooms aren’t ideal, but they can be part of the mix. We’ve been forced to explore our own neighbourhoods and take pleasure in the nature on our doorsteps, and it has helped us to feel grounded.
Instead of being a restriction, let’s make this a positive choice. This year, when you travel, make the journey part of your adventure. Spend less time stressing at the airport and more time gazing out of the window. Savour the journey and chill.
"Instead of being a restriction, let’s make this a positive choice."
And you won’t be alone. Sticking to a New Year’s resolution is much easier if you do it with someone else. If you pledge to be flight free you will have the support of thousands of like-minded people. And if you talk to your friends about your pledge, there are good reasons to think they might fly less too. It’s a social contagion, which is so much better than a viral one!