This might be a bit controversial, but I’m going to write it anyway........
As environmental issues are once again currently mainstream and we are all being encouraged to reduce our plastic waste, I thought I’d throw something else into the climate ring - air travel!
It’s something I made the decision to stop doing quite a few years ago now and the following couple of paragraphs more or less sum up why........
Air Travel’s Impact on Climate Change - Taken from the ETA website
Just one return flight from London to New York produces a greater carbon footprint than a whole year’s personal allowance needed to keep the climate safe.
Our carbon footprint is the estimated amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) given out as we travel, buy food, heat our homes and enjoy our usual lifestyles.
The average personal footprint in Britain is 7.1t (2013). To get down to a fair share of the world’s total; this must be cut to 1.2t. On every flight to New York and back, each traveller emits about 1.2t of CO2. If we fly, air travel overshadows all our other impacts.
Air travel is really worse than this because it puts out more pollution than just CO2. For example, water vapour at high levels forms thin clouds that have a warming effect. We can see trails visibly blanketing the earth. This and other effects mean that air travel has more than twice the warming effect of the carbon dioxide alone – the whole is referred to as radiative forcing. So each flight adds more to climate change than we should be emitting altogether.
OK, so we all want (and sometimes need) our holidays, but do they really need to involve flying? I do wonder if most people just don’t realise how their flight to Spain is essentially completely cancelling out anything else that they do. Things like recycling, reusing, planting trees, not eating meat, walking to work, doing yoga, buying local and healthy food etc etc.
“But it’s only a one off” is so often said, but how many other people are also saying this, making your flight, one of 1000’s of other one offs.
Last summer, we went on holiday to Spain and France, but we didn’t fly, we walked out of our front door, with rucksacks on our backs and got on a train! Calculating the exact savings is a complicated process but the table below, taken from Seat61, is good enough to give you the general idea.
I’m in the wedding business and I see and hear sooooo many tales about weddings abroad and tropical honeymoons, and I suppose I know that nothing will really change until there’s some sort of government intervention that makes flying super expensive. But if by writing this, I can make just one person “think” about the damage that their next flight is causing, then just maybe that thinking will one day turn into “doing” and who knows, NOT flying might even become the latest trend, just like not buying plastic has.