To fly or not to fly

To fly or not to fly one more time, this is the question that concerns us now. Daniel Mittler, political director of environmental NGO Greenpeace, says that “the first step is to reduce the amount we fly.”

So I ask myself, didn’t we have already more than our share of flying?

Peter and I took our first trip from Australia to Germany in 1977. I believe at that time air-travel was still fairly expensive. However, over the years it became much less costly. This is why we thought nothing of it, travelling from Sydney to Berlin more and more frequently. Little did we think of the environmental cost. And now, towards the end of our lives, we still think, it would be nice if we could travel like this one more time. These are our emotions talking. However, when we think rationally, we must say, we really should leave it to others now, to take these overseas trips. Didn’t we have more than our share?

So really, who does need to be a frequent flyer all the time? How difficult would it be for people to become less frequent flyers? How difficult would it be for the aviation industry to reduce flights rather than increase them all the time? How many people depend for their jobs on the aviation industry? What other jobs can people do if there are less jobs for them in the aviation industry?

Today our politicians went on and on about it how disastrous the number of jobless people because of the Coronavirus has become, and that they want to do their utmost to get people into jobs again. I ask myself, where should these jobs come from? Do our politicians want to achieve that all aviation jobs and all hospitality jobs that depended on aviation, be restored? Do they want an economy the same as it was before the virus appeared? Do they actually have any environmental considerations? Do they just think of the economy and that people need jobs?

What sort of jobs does our society need at this point? I can think of many, many. To my mind it is absolutely possible for everybody to do some kind of work. In some jobs there is even a desparate shortage of workers. So, why is there so much fear of unemployment rising in the future? Can somebody please explain this to me?

Just yesterday I published a copy of an article by DW about the cost of air-travel. For your perusal I selected here a few extractions about this subject:

“A few years ago, environmental group Germanwatch estimated that a single person taking one roundtrip flight from Germany to the Caribbean produces the same amount of damaging emissions as 80 average residents of Tanzania do in an entire year: around four metric tons of CO2.”

“On an individual level, there is no other human activity that emits as much over such a short period of time as aviation, because it is so energy-intensive,” Gössling explains.

“Daniel Mittler, political director of environmental NGO Greenpeace, agrees that fossil fuels need to be more expensive. “The first step is to end all fossil fuel subsidies, including those going to aviation and to properly tax the aviation industry,” he told DW.

“For Mittler, it comes down to individual choice as much as anything else and he believes that while efficiency gains are vital, the first step is to reduce the amount we fly.”

“We need to move towards a more sharing and caring way of living on this planet,” he says, adding that doing without the weekend shop in New York might be one of the least painful ways of contributing to that.”

“We need a prosperity that is based on community and based on real wealth of collective vision, rather than one that is based on relentless consumption. Aviation is a symbol of the kind of consumption that we need to leave behind.”

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