To Our Climate-Forward Administration: Stay Home; Stop Jetting Around!

Please let’s minimize longdistance travel by political leaders! The White House claims to prioritize climate action. Air travel has a major eco footprint. Use tele-conferencing, etc — not as glamorous but much more in keeping with climate policy.

Hope they are at least buying carbon offsets for all this flying.

In response to a friend who commented to the effect that at least these our current Pres, VP, and First Lady are using their travel to spread compassion, unlike Politician X who just does it to get attention:

I choose neither of those; I choose Option C; I choose curtailing the constant flying and other extreme longdistance travel. Climate is a stated priority of the new administration; they have now an opportunity to walk their talk and set an example.

The great thing about extending compassion is it can be done without physically traveling, thanks to modern communication technologies which bring us face to face with no need to engage in extreme travel.

And in response to the conventional wisdom that a politician needs to appear in person to be remembered and known:

Jimmy Carter turned down the heat and put on a sweater while sitting in the White House, to model conservation during the oil embargo of the 1970s. He didn’t have to travel anywhere to do this still-widely-remembered (by, ahem, those of us who are of a certain age) action.

We quite simply have to adopt new ways. Climate emergency is ringing the alarm louder and louder. This rockstar-like jetting around that politicians indulge themselves in is deadly from a climate standpoint, AND from a standpoint of tax dollars and resource stewardship. Greta Thunberg might just be correct when she laments that no politicians are really climate allies. That shouldn’t stop us from calling out the ones who claim to prioritize climate action but are still being dinosaurs, doing fossil-fueled photo-op business as usual.

If they cut back their travel and people start to give them flak for not leaving Washington, they can always say they want to use our tax dollars to maximum benefit to do the people’s business. And they can use it as a demonstration of their commitment to climate action.

Also — real leaders aren’t just about doing whatever it takes to rack up votes and recognition. Whether they succeed in getting elected or not, whether they have widespread recognition or not, real leaders that care passionately about some important issue will find a way to serve and advance that cause regardless.

WalkYourTalk #ClimateAction #SetAnExample

Further Reading:

My tweet earlier this week to President, First Lady, Vice-President: “Dear @POTUS and @FLOTUS and @VP : Please match your climate words with ACTION by stopping all of your non-emergency air travel. Set an example for the world! Tele-technology works great for most things.”

• News articles that prompted this tweet. (Digging them up for you; stand by.)

— “Jill Biden’s travels show range of missions and emotions” (Darlene Superville, “… wrapping up a hectic, two-day swing through Dallas, Houston and Phoenix to promote COVID-19 vaccinations … Within the span of 36 hours this past week, Biden went from clinking cups of beer with Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, at an Astros baseball game in Houston to joining the president in Florida to comfort families whose loved ones were lost or missing after the Surfside condo collapse. … Jill Biden’s pace of travel is on par with the president’s. The week before her stops in Texas and Arizona, she pushed vaccinations in Mississippi and Tennessee, and again days later in the Florida cities of Kissimmee and Tampa. … spending most of the Fourth of July weekend appearing in Maine, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania at events celebrating progress on fighting the coronavirus.” (My head spins.)

— “Harris Back On the Road After Opening Weeks in Washington” (Darlene Superville, (A whirlwind of public-relations travel, including what the White House is calling the “America’s Back Together” tour.)