Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Climate Change: Try not to fly

How are people reducing their ecological impact to deal with climate change? In Sweden, they're giving up flying:

The number of Swedes taking the train for domestic journeys has risen as plane journeys inside the country have fallen, reflecting rapidly growing public concern about the climate crisis.

“Flygskam”, or flight shame, the feeling of being embarrassed or ashamed to take the plane because of the environmental impact, has become a social media buzzword along with the hashtag #jagstannarp√•marken, which translates as #stayontheground.

Echoing the schoolgirl climate activist Greta Thunberg’s refusal to fly because of the harm to the environment, a survey published last week by Swedish Railways (SJ) found 37% of respondents chose to travel by rail instead of air, compared with 26% last autumn and 20% in early 2018.

Its relatively easy in Sweden, because they have a decent rail network, with 200km/h links between most major cities, and scheduled services which actually use them. But its still a substantial shift towards flying only when necessary, or not flying at all.

Obviously its harder in New Zealand, due to our shit-to-nonexistent rail service and Cook Strait in the middle. But we already have a no-fly movement in New Zealand. And following The Spinoff's advice to talk about what you're doing to normalise it, I'll break the "don't talk about my life" rule for once. Yes, I still fly. But not much. A couple of years ago, I decided I'd cap my discretionary air travel at two return domestic trips a year. I offset, of course (and Air New Zealand's scheme is pretty good), but the most effective offset is not to emit in the first place. If there's something unavoidable, like a wedding or a funeral, then I fly to that if I have to, and double the offset for every extra flight I make (fortunately those are few and far between). So, no flying to Auckland every couple of months for larps, no ducking over the Tasman for a weekend to raid restraunts, no international holidays and no larp-tour of Europe for me. It's not as environmentally friendly as it could be, but its a start, and I'm hoping to wind it down as my obligations elsewhere decrease.