At COP26, the UN Secretary General told us “Our fragile planet is hanging by a thread. We are still knocking on the door of climate catastrophe. It is time to go into emergency mode – or our chance of reaching net zero will itself be zero.” While systemic change is the most critical change required in this “emergency mode”, given the level of the climate crisis, I believe those of us in the “developed” world must also make the changes that are directly within our control – reducing our individual greenhouse gas emissions. I took the flight free pledge because it’s a significant, direct way to reduce my own greenhouse gas emissions.
Traveling internationally without flying presents more of a challenge in Ireland as compared with most European countries because we are an island nation. I choose to look at that as adding a bit more adventure to the travel experience because it means taking a ferry for part of the journey. I also choose to look at the journey as more of an integral part of my travel experience. Realistically, I will probably take fewer, but longer trips abroad.
I also subscribe to the idea that if we work to make the communities where we live the best they can be – with ample nature, pleasant walks, safe cycle paths, welcoming public spaces, we will feel the need to “escape” to other places less frequently.
I am not against flying per se. But until it becomes much less polluting, considering approximately 80% of the world’s population have never flown, and that I am lucky to have a decent standard of living and have availed of flights in the past, I can’t justify it in my own life at this point.