In Sweden the anti-flying movement is growing rapidly. It’s spread from there to Finland, Denmark and Norway, and now widely across Europe and other countries. So much so that Thomas Cook Scandinavia actually listed it as a threat to its business, with noticeably fewer people choosing to fly on summer holidays.
Much of it has come from a movement of young people refusing to go to school on Fridays while protesting about climate change and the lack of action.
That movement has spread widely over Europe. So much so that a number of celebrities have announced they will no longer fly to perform if the distance is too great.
New phrases are being used: “secret flyer” – used as an insult for people who try to hide that they do. “Train Bragging” – the ability to say you went from A to B by train and are supporting the environment by doing so.
There’s a growing interest in and growth of booking sites that allow full holidays to be booked by train, in a way that full package deals have been available by air.
There’s a growing feeling that aviation isn’t doing anything like enough to cut emissions and that a single aircraft using jet fuel is massively more damaging per journey than just about anything else. Co2 calculators for a single London to SFO trip for example show around 1 ton per passenger in a premium economy seat.
The argument goes “imagine having a 1 ton block of Co2 sat on your drive every time you took such a flight” – perhaps you’d think twice?
Governments are being criticised for not taxing aviation fuel in the same way they do gasoline.
If the UK taxed avgas the same way it does petrol fuel costs would rise about 70% and airlines would be crippled.
The argument goes that aviation must do much more far faster. Flying passenger numbers doubled in the last 15 years from around 2 billion to 4 billion. That’s expected to rise again in the next 15 years to 8.7 billion.
How do we account for the environment damage? How do we make people aware? Should we all take far more personal responsibility?
Clearly people won’t stop flying. Even more so in countries like India, Japan, Australia and the US where rail and geography just aren’t viable or developed sufficiently.
Time is always at a premium, we all only have so much. Then again what do we do about Co2 and global warming?
Young people are asking questions. They’re also prepared to change to do something about it. Airlines may find that they have to change far faster if they’re business over the next 20 years, is going to stay in favour as the demand for alternatives grows, especially in well connected countries on the continent of Europe and in China.
After all, nothing lasts forever.