To Fly Or Not To Fly: That Is The (Wrong?) Question
In response to the ongoing discussion of fellow academics on whether we need to stop flying or fly less, I offer to put it in the context of change making, focusing on the adaptive nature of the challenge we face, the need to craft an appealing vision of sustainable and fair travel, and why we need a click moment.
My grandparents never flew anywhere. My parents flew for the first time in 1982 when they were in their 30s. I flew for the first time when I was 22 (traveling from Israel to Australia for a 3-month adventure down under). My two kids’ first flight was when they were just babies, traveling to meet their family in Israel.
I thought about my own generational history of flights as I was reading with great interest the discussion of fellow academics, many of them climate scientists who have been debating whether we need to stop flying and how we can be more mindful of our own climate impacts overall. These questions were raised in the context of Greta Thunberg’s no- flying commitment, which was demonstrated in her travel to the U.S. on a sailboat, as well as the flight shaming movement that brought attention to the climate impacts of the aviation industry and travel in general.
Reading the tweets and articles of many esteemed colleagues I started asking myself if we are perhaps having the wrong debate. I’m feeling that we’re getting into technical debates that are important, but at the same time get us to lose sight of the bigger picture and the overall challenge we all have in mind: How to effectively fight climate change? So, I’d like to try and zoom out from the question of ‘to fly or not to fly’ to consider if this is indeed the right or the best question we should ask.