Would you stop flying for a year to save the world?
If you don't ride a plane in 2019, you can enjoy traveling for the rest of your life ...
If you don't get on a plane in 2019 ... © Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash
Do not travel by plane during 2019. That is the proposal of the Swedish Maja Rosen and Lotta Hammar, to which some 7,800 people have already joined - almost all of them, their countrymen - through Facebook, while about 3,700 have been interested and about 1,000 more have been added through their website westayontheground.org.
“Flight-free 2019 is a campaign in which people promise to remain on the ground for the next year, as long as we achieve that 100,000 Swedes in total they commit to do the same. In this way, we can make a great change to the weather together. It is also a way to show each other, as well as to our political leaders, that many of us are willing to do whatever it takes to save the weather, ”Rosen tells us.
She has not been on a plane for ten years, precisely, not to damage the planet anymore. Since then, he says he has been "struggling" to know what to say to his acquaintances when they talk to him about his next plane trips.
“On the one hand, you don't want to be a spoiler, but, at the same time, we are in the middle of a severe climate crisis. I think a lot of people would be willing to give up flying if they knew how serious the situation is and how much it affects the weather to fly; many are not aware, ”he explains. “I also think that those who do know it, do not think it will make much difference to give up flying, since everyone is flying more than ever. But if there are many of us who make this decision, there will be a big difference. ”
Can you imagine spending ten years without flying ...? © Getty Images
According to International Air Transport Association (IATA), more than four billion people flew over the past year. With all this, aviation was just the 2% of global CO2 emissions. However, according to the study The Illusion of Green Flyingfrom the European NGO Finance and Trade WatchIf we took into account all the greenhouse gas emissions of the industry - fuel extraction, machinery manufacturing, airport construction, etc. - we would arrive at 5%.
"For every ton of CO2 emitted, three square meters of Arctic polar cap melts," they warn. So, for example, in a Round trip flight from Vienna to the Canary Islands, approximately 4.5 square meters of polar cap would be thawed. Or, put another way: if aviation were a country, it would contaminate as much as France.
Another worrying aspect is the unstoppable growth of the industrial pollution ranges, since from 1990 to 2010, global global CO2 emissions increased by 25%, while those due to aviation did 70%, according to report data . At that rate, it seems that greenhouse gases emitted by airplanes will have multiplied by eight in 2050, and will represent 20% of global emissions.
It seems that efforts not to pollute are not enough ... © Getty Images
However, it seems that organizations like the aforementioned IATA have taken action on the matter. So, in your website on aviation and climate change, in which it admits thorny issues - such as NOx and water vapor emissions may have a harmful multiplier effect at higher altitudes-, he affirms that, although the number of passengers grows an average of 5% each year, aviation has achieved that the increase in its emissions only adds up to around 3% per period thanks to investment in new technologies and the acquisition of more sustainable practices.
However, none of that seems to convince those who conduct the study, or Rosen and Hammar. "The climate crisis is acute, and if we do not start reducing emissions in the next two years, at least in half, Many places in the world will be uninhabitable in 20 years. Therefore, people who love to travel should definitely do everything possible to reduce them, ”they explain.
Thus, the promise of not taking a plane during the next year should, according to her, be seen as “an opportunity to explore places where you may not have been before, and try to travel by train ”- better than by car, although, in his opinion, doing it by road would be less polluting than flying if you were driving with all seats occupied. "For example, many Swedes travel to Thailand on vacation instead of enjoying the beautiful beaches that can be reached by train closer to home," he says.
Traveling by train is much more respectful of the environment © Getty Images
And he adds: “Many of the people with whom I have spoken that have made the decision not to fly say that they now appreciate much more what they can really do without damaging the weather, and that they have had many exciting experiences and encounters that would have been lost if they flew" But will it be enough for the environment to refrain from flying for only one year, as Rosen and Hammar propose? "Research has shown that a short term commitment increases the chances of a longer-term behavior change, ”they answer.
“I think that once you have spent a year without flying, you start thinking about it in a different way and you realize the climate impact it has. It seems to me that most of the people who have signed They will think twice before flying unnecessarily in the future. In fact, many of those who have registered have told us that they have begun to think about the weather in a different way, and that they also try to live in a kinder way with the environment, so this is a way to wake up people and start acting to save the weather. ”
For now, his campaign, which began in January of this year - although it has been really driven since August, after the end of the maternal leave of both - is far from getting the 100,000 attached that were proposed at first and that would make the action valid, because they have until the end of this year to get it. However, these two mothers do not cease their efforts to raise awareness: they will soon release a video, they want to take their proposal to other countries -to stop flying in 2020- and they even think that, before the 31st of this month, the firms will register a rise in the form of New Year's resolutions. Will it be one of yours?
A sacrifice now so that our children can fly in the future © Getty Images