By Fabia Hultin Morger
13 december 2019
Climate change had been an important topic in my life since I was a little child. My dad has been part of a Swiss nature protection group for 50 years (he started very young!) and his concern about the destruction of bogs and free-flowing rivers quickly became my concerns, too. When I was little, we often took the train to go on holidays in Italy, partly because of the adventure, partly because we all knew that flying was less than ideal. Still, we took the occasional flight to the Canary Islands or Ireland because it was easy and cheap. If it was so easy and cheap, surely it couldn’t be too bad for the climate?
That’s what I kept thinking when I grew up to become a frequent-flyer adult. I live abroad and needed to visit family, wanted to see the world… None of this is inherently a bad reason to fly. I compensated my flights and thought it was enough. I might put a lot of carbon in the air but I paid someone to plant some trees on the other end of the world, so all was well, right? Well, humanity’s carbon emissions kept rising and I started to realize that compensating for something that needed to be dramatically reduced wouldn’t work if nobody stopped doing the bad thing. When measuring my carbon footprint it became crystal clear: I could recycle cans for my whole life, as long as I kept flying several times a year, my carbon footprint would always shoot through the roof.
This realization went hand in hand with another, more positive discovery: it’s perfectly doable to travel and see the world without flying! I started re-discovering the train trips we had undertaken as children and found out that it’s perfectly possible to get around without a plane. So, in September 2018 I decided quit taking flights and am pledging to stay flight free in 2020. Will you join me?