When I was growing up flying on holiday was not something you expected to do. As a child of the sixties we either went to our granny’s – a mere 30 miles away or it was a caravan holiday at Findhorn, Moray. I remember one of my classmates going to Skye one year and thinking how exotic and far away that was! My first flight was on a school geography trip to Iceland and after that I was hooked. Not so much on flying but on visiting new exciting places. The world, on that trip, had literally opened up for me and I wanted to explore it all.
Without doubt, I’m responsible for the emission of hundreds of tonnes of CO2. Over the decades I have taken planes as if they were buses. It was about getting from A to B as quickly as possible. Initially, before the Scottish Airports were so developed, this meant the overnight bus from Aberdeen to London. More recently, with frequent flights from Scotland that part of the journey was eliminated – hurrah! Flying just got more and more convenient and with the advent of budget airlines, it just got so much cheaper as well. What was there not to like?
I can honestly say, hand on heart, that when I was hopping on and off planes in the 80s, 90s and even into the early millennium, I wasn’t aware of the climate change movement or the consequences of flying to our planet but…I simply can’t claim that now. Can any of us? It’s an inconvenient question, I certainly have to ask myself. Can I really justify travelling by plane in 2019? The answer is, of course, a resounding, no. So…deep breath…I have signed a pledge to go for a year without flying. I’m hoping to extend this promise but for now, a year without a trip abroad, seems like enough of a challenge.
And it’s not just carbon emissions, either. My carbon conversations radar, after my last airport visit, was picking up the single use of plastic bags; coffee and drink cups; endless packaging and very little recycling. Lights were constantly on. There seemed to be nothing in the way of renewable energy supplies. The whole flying industry seems, to me, to be an ecological nightmare. Ouch! So, there we are. I’ve laid my cards on the table. I might well have to eat humble pie when winter sets in and I think longingly for a beach in The Canaries. And that long held wish to visit Japan…?
The no flight movement I’ve joined is based on the Swedish, Flygfritt concept and there are various options – even cutting down on the number of flights you take, is encouraged. There is also a British version of Flight Free pledge. As I discovered, and have written about in a previous blog, the idea of carbon offsetting your flight, doesn’t really work. I’m going to have to rethink a huge part of my life. I don’t want to come across as smug or virtuous. What do I say to my friends who have a trip to Costa Rica booked?
I would be really interested to hear from anyone else who is thinking of stopping flying – maybe we could get a support group going? Please get in touch; I suspect my flight detox might be quite a challenge.