Thoughts On Tourism: Air Travel

A mere 1% of the population causes half of global aviation emissions, The Guardian reported recently.

My friend/colleague Chris Searles has a nonprofit called BioIntegrity that’s putting the word out about nature-based climate solutions. Chris polled a climate-action Facebook group the other day, “Should this 1% pay — out of their own pockets — to offset their aviation admissions?”

My response:

Yes! They should. At one point in my working life, I was part of this 1%, flying up to 11 times a year for a total of over 40k miles a year.

After I stopped the work-related flights, I purchased carbon offsets for them, and for every other flight I could remember taking in my adult life. I chose Gold Standard credits at the recommendation of a colleague I trust as a “low-footprint expert.”

The price was peanuts, maybe a couple hundred dollars or so if memory serves.

I have quit flying. And, I feel I should not fly again except possibly in extreme emergency (if such a scenario even exists), and if I do, I should purchase triple carbon offsets.

Just because I have made this choice doesn’t give me any right to tell anyone else they should. (More about that later.) But I do hope a lot of people, particularly those of you who agree with this blog’s message, will quit flying entirely, or radically curtail your flights, and when you do fly, purchase carbon offsets. They’re cheap. If you can afford to fly, you can afford to buy carbon offsets. (I made a post about carbon offsets awhile back; will dig it up for you. –> OK, here you go! Mitigating Your Footprint with Carbon Offsets.)

Further Exploration:

The Systemic Climate Action Facebook Group

BioIntegrity Facebook page

BioIntegrity website

• (Update Jan 5, 2022): I just found out there’s a “Flight-Free Community,” with branches in the USA, UK, and Australia. I just visited the Flight Free USA website and took the flight-free pledge for life; was going in that direction anyway but this helped me make it official. I love the personal stories from people on the Flight Free USA page. My favorite observation is from a guy named Joshua Spodek in New York City: “People think of planes bringing them to distant loved ones, forgetting that flying in general makes them far away in the first place, relying on planes to fix the problem that planes created.” And the story from a guy in Cali who looks my age or older and has pedaled 100,000 miles on his electric bicycle!!! Wow!! (I heard about the FF community when a friend in the Socially Conscious FIRE Facebook group shared about it. I’m so happy to be constantly finding more deep-green-supportive communities to add to my resource files, for you and for me too!)