Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Tony Blair says ‘Carry on Flying’

The UK Prime Minister Tony Blair says that there is no need to cut back on long haul flights to exotic holiday locations. Instead he is putting his trust in science to solve climate change without him needing to make any change to his life style. Read more in the Guardian online.

However, individuals can and need to reduce their personal environmental impact and we can all cut back on flying. If you have friends and family on the other side of the world then you will need to fly to see them. You may be expected to fly for work (but trains can be quicker for a short distance, when you factor in the waiting time in airports). And for holidays, why not explore the beauty of your own country and the neighbouring ones? I haven’t left Europe since I was working in Malawi 15 years ago (when I also had holidays in nearby Botswana and Zimbabwe). I haven’t finished exploring the UK (a small country!) and Europe offers many wonderful destinations that can be reached by ferry and rail. Though, yes I do sometimes take the plane.

Why not sign up to the Flight Pledge and resolve to fly less?
To search the alternative options for reaching your destination and to avoid flying, visit No Fly Travel.


Anonymous said...

In the U.S., there is not much choice in alternatives. You either fly or drive and driving is even more wasteful than flying. I do agree that we all can do more to cutback, but there is very little I can do. I have to drive 44 miles round every day to get to work.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi Brian, That sounds like a long commute to me, but i guess its much more normal over there. Yes I know its more difficult in the US. Europe is lucky in having better public transport and distances between major towns are often much shorter. But even in the US I think you can buy fuel efficient vehicles, which helps.

Catherine said...

I've been waiting my whole life to be able to afford to visit the northern hemisphere. Finally I can, and the whole green lobby is conspiring to make me guilty about it. I've explored most corners of New Zealand - as for neighbouring countries, there aren't any. You could fly right across Europe in the same distance that it takes us to get to Australia.
I do believe in not taking short breaks - none of those quick trips "across the ditch" for a weekend shopping. Much better to go for as long as possible and less often.
I get a newsletter from a firm called "Intrepid Travel". They are moving to make their whole office operation energy neutral, and they are going to charge a little extra on their prices to buy carbon credits. I'm very suspicious of carbon credits. To me, it's like saying "you can beat someone up, if you give someone else first aid later".

Do you know the "green girls global" blog?

You may also be interested in my friend Mary's blog
She is an ecologically minded documentary film maker and she lives in Edinbugh

Crafty Green Poet said...

HI Catherine, I'm not saying don't fly I'm saying fly less. I'm also not trying to make people feel guilty, just think about their environmental impact. A once in a lifetime visit across the world is like visiting friends and family who live on the other side of the world, do it and don't feel guilty! The real problem is people taking several long haul flights every year because they don't have the imagination to see alternative holiday destinations closer to home, and people in the UK flying between cities where it is quicker to take the train. Its not so long since we all thought we would be soon destroyed in a nuclear winter that so far hasn't happened, now its environmnetal meltdown we're all worried about. I do think that supplies of fuel at some point are going to run out and flying less won't be a matter of choice. I'm with you on carbon credits, they're a total cop out. I know the Green Girls Global blog, and thanks for giving me the link to your friends blog. Looks interesting.

Catherine said...

When I looked at the no flight website I realised that most years I could sign one of the two levels of pledges just on my normal flying! I guess the several long haul flights a year lifestyle is foreign to me.
As for short haul flights, there aren't too many in New Zealand where it is quicker to take the train. And the stretch of water in the middle is a bit of a barrier. We drive and take the ferry if we have the whole family, if it's just one person flying is cheaper than taking the car on the ferry - for my coming trip to quilt symposium it is a one hour flight or 5 hours by road/3 hours by ferry/ another 2 hours by road (best driving speed). Trains and buses would be very slow as there aren't many a day.
I'm pondering how hard it would be to change to public transport for work instead of taking my car. It would be slower, but I could read and write on the bus. I wouldn't save much money, petrol is cheaper here than the UK and my car is quite small.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi again Catherine - yes, the Flight Pledge does allow people like you and me to take our usual number of flights! We're lucky in Edinburgh having really good public transport to most areas of town and town is fairly compact too. We really can do very well without a car here in Edinburgh. Even when we want to escape town there are good links to a lot of the ither interesting areas of Scotland and also ferries now leave from nearby Rosyth so we can get to Europe without flying pretty easily. I know its different elsewhere. A lot depends on local authorities and transport companies as well as individual effort.