Purposeful Travel by Sophia Macpherson

To Fly or Not to Fly?

@mikaelaloach

Solutions for sustainable air travel are slow and close to unheard of. We look back at the advice given in the past week by Flight Free 2020 founder, Anna Hughes, and campaigner, Mikaela Loach.

The aviation industry is expected to account for 22% of man-made CO2 emissions by 2050 if we don't change our travel behaviours.

The topic of air travel is controversial and frankly, confusing. But by opening up this discussion and looking at different viewpoints, it allows us to work together to find a viable and practical solution to travelling more sustainably. Travelling ‘sustainably’ can mean a lot of things, but last week we looked into how we can all really cut down our carbon footprint, whilst not compromising our lifestyles completely.

The first perspective we took into account was from Anna Hughes; the founder of the UK Flight Free 2020 campaign who hasn’t flown in 10 years. The campaign asks 100,000 people to pledge to stay grounded for a year in order to reduce their carbon footprint, re-discover the joys of overland travel, and start to shift the social norm away from aviation. We were also joined by Mikaela Loach, a student activist and member of the campaign.

As a round-up of weeks information, we’ve condensed both Anna and Mikaela’s advice into a few simple points:

1. Remember, travel is a privilege

To put things into perspective, less than 12% of the world’s population have taken a flight. Going to new places and discovering cultures is a gift and as conscious travellers, we must respect this process and approach it with care.

2. Always ask yourself: do I really need to travel?

Everyone needs a little R&R in the fast-paced, hurried world we live in, but do we really need to fly away to find this escape? Probably not. When looking for a holiday, look local. If you really need to leave the country, look at the options you have where you can travel by train, bus or even car.

3. Make your trip count

4. If you really have to fly… travel with a cause

Even though carbon offsetting is problematic and we have much to learn about its effectiveness, it is largely the only accessible option we have when flying is unavoidable. The best way to approach offsetting is to take responsibility for it; do your own research and find your own projects and companies to give money to. Give money to grass-root projects and companies that have a Science Based Target, that can show you where your money goes and that will contribute to social and environmental causes.

If we have learnt anything in the last week, it is to always ask yourself why you are travelling. With the travel sector being the second fastest growing industry in the world, we are in no place to be complacent and lazy with our travel habits. When it comes to air travel, be harsh with yourself and think about the real ways you can give back, if you really have to fly.

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