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Why 100,000?

Maja Rosén, one of the founders of the Swedish Flygfritt campaign, explains the reasoning behind having a 100,000 threshold

FlightFree UK
11 Mar 3 min read

The message of We Stay On The Ground is clear: we need to refrain from all flights that are not absolutely necessary.

There are several reasons for only promising to take a flight-free year if the target of 100,000 is reached. Some people are prepared to refrain from flying no matter what others do, once they realise how big the climate impact from flying really is. However, a lot of people feel that it doesn’t make a difference what they do as individuals.

But if they know that 100,000 people will do the same it motivates people who otherwise wouldn’t have made the decision to sign up. It is a way to take collective responsibility to decrease emissions.

When we are out talking to people in the streets this has led to many interesting conversations. If we ask people if they are prepared to take a flight-free year many people hesitate, but if we say that they only promise if we reach the target more people say they would be willing to do so. When we ask people the hypothetical question if they would give up flying if everyone around them did, a lot of people realise how much we are affected by what other people do – it has a much bigger impact than reading about what we should do. Thus, the target is an effective way to motivate people to sign up for the campaign.

Another important aspect of having a conditional target is that it is more motivating for those who have already signed up to convince others to do the same. A target raises fighting spirit. Last year a lot of people worked hard to make friends and family take the pledge and also recruit people in other ways, such as arranging campaign days. This is a way to talk about the climate impact from flying without destroying the mood. The focus is on how much of a difference one can make by signing up.

If 100,000 people sign up it will not only be a large reduction in emissions, it will also send a clear signal to our politicians that many of us are prepared to change our lifestyles in order to save the climate. Also, each of the 100,000 will affect people around them by taking a flight-free year.

We have noticed that once people decide to sign up for a flight-free year, they seem to change perspective, and start focusing on how much of a difference it makes not to fly, rather than trying to ignore the climate impact from flying. We hope, and believe, that most people who signed up for Flight Free 2019 will choose to take a flight-free year despite the fact that we did not reach the goal of 100,000. In total 14,500 people signed up which we are very pleased with. It took six months to reach 1000 pledges. The last couple of days before New Year’s Eve the same amount signed up per day! We could definitely have reached the goal last year if we had had more time, but we only started working actively with the campaign in August. This year we have much better prerequisites to reach the goal.

Another important aspect of having the goal of 100,000 is that it creates more interest from the media. We have been contacted by media from many different countries and that probably wouldn’t have happened without the target. It creates interest and engagement.

But of course we encourage everyone to refrain from flying no matter how many people sign up, and not only for one year.

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