I don’t know how much of it is wilful ignorance and how much is actual ignorance, but many people I know are in complete denial about how bad flying is. They are the kind of people who would say they ‘believe’ in climate change and want to do their bit for the environment, but will happily brag about how many flights they’ve been on.
We actually had this conversation with one of my husbands friends who came to visit us from the UK recently and it was just incredible. Obviously the UK is an island and yes that makes it harder to get anywhere else without flying (thankfully he did take the Eurostar to visit us) but the sheer gratuitousness of the number of flights was shocking, and left me speechless. Travelling seems to have become this game of one up man-ship totally disconnected from the reality in which we are living and the harms that it causes.
We’re at the point where we can’t just do the small things like turn off the lights when we are not using them and recycle, we need to do big, actual lifestyle change type things like changing the way we travel.
The Stay Grounded organisation has loads of great facts on the climate impact of aviation, and this image from them sums up why flying is incompatible with meeting climate targets in any kind of equitable way:
If you are rich enough to fly frequently, luckily you are also rich enough to choose where you live and organise your life in such a way that you don’t have to (i.e. it’s not necessary for your job, or to see your family or to escape grimy living conditions). And not flying doesn’t mean not travelling! The Man in Seat 61 has great tips on how to travel by train to just about anywhere!