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Flying: Exceptional Circumstances




I have vowed not to fly again in my life. This has been an immensely difficult decision, as a man who was known as a global traveller for many years. Researching the environmental impacts, I simply find it too difficult to consider myself a deep ecologist whilst still taking trips in such a destructive manner. 


This decision has, over the past few years, led to multiple surprising benefits that I will explore in another piece, but what I want to add here is a caveat. 


Environmentalism is often a weighing up of a few horrible choices and electing for the least bad! This isn’t always easy, typically meaning we make moral judgements calls on, for example, increased water use for organic materials, more land for less herbicide, complex financial social justice issues for highly nutritious food. This flying predicament is more personal. What about what I consider to be justified reasons? The one that stands out is a family member's funeral. I have decided, having flown for my Grandmothers funeral, then electing to not fly to my Grandfathers, that I WILL fly to funerals of those I love if getting there is otherwise impossible/prohibitively expensive. 


So, if this situation arises (it may; I have family and close friends abroad), I will enact my ‘exceptional circumstances flying plan.’ This is simple. I will take the most ecological route and I will offset the C02e emissions five times over with the most trusted offset I can find (offsetting is pretty unreliable and questionable, so on a rare occasion of flying I'll play it safe). This will likely be one where I plant the trees/increase the biodiversity with a project close to home, so I can care for them/the land into the future. 


This is, in a sense, another form of self-taxation. Can we make a trend of it? What if we all began a 5x offset vow for the carbon we emit for luxurious modern conveniences. What would that cost the individual? Would we be increasing global forest cover and rewilding more land than we destroy? What is the tipping point? Of course, first we should reduce our use of planes, cars and overall consumption. But for the things we must do or cannot refuse? 5x offset! 

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