People are travelling more than ever and if you are in the green space and you travel, you get called out! Here’s How You Can Travel in The Era of Flight Shame!
When Greta Thunberg made the Swedish phrase ‘flygskam’ known worldwide last year, it stuck in my mind. An important concept, but how does it translate to a Canadian context where we don’t have many options for ‘train bragging’ – or even bus bragging? Here’s How You Can Travel in The Era of Flight Shame!
Is Travel a Lifestyle?
Flair Airlines has recently offered $700 unlimited travel in Canada, for 3 months.
In a country where it could cost that much to take ONE round trip, this is much more than a deal. It’s a beacon of opportunity. You would be crazy NOT to go for it, right? Aside from in between Montreal/Ottawa/Toronto, there are limited bus and train options nationwide.
However, would I have taken multiple flights in the next 3 months if this deal weren’t on? No. As one researcher asks, “Do we really need to fly as much as we do, or is the amount we fly induced by the industry?” More flights and access to flights won’t make our lives that much better- instead we are headed into yet another loop of consumption, a rat race of ‘deals for deals sake’, similar to the fast fashion industry.
On an individual level, the aviation industry accounts for 4-9% of an individual’s greenhouse gas emissions. That is by North American standards, though: one transatlantic flight consumes the same amount of CO2 as a person in the global south consumes in an entire year.
At first glance, the internet will bring you to a statistic that air travel is only responsible for 2% of the world’s greenhouse gases, whereas the fashion industry and food waste contribute 8% and 25% respectively. Reading this, it’s easy to shrug your shoulders and book that flight, buy second hand and eat your greens.
However, the 2% statistic only includes the CO2 generated by burning jet fuel. It does not account for aviation emissions including the warming effects of nitrogen oxide, contrails, or water vapour. It also does not account for the construction of planes, nor the infrastructure required on the ground.
How You Can Travel in The Era of Flight Shame
Some would argue that travel is, for them, a fundamental source of happiness, and that they shouldn’t be deprived of it. I agree, and so does a study titled Doing makes you happier than owning from Cornell University: novel experiences provide a more holistic sense of well-being over shopping, in addition to longer lasting memories.
Here are some ideas to get you travelling, saving money, and savouring novel experiences!
Related post: Carbon Offsetting For Travel: How To, Why To, When To?
Travel doesn’t have to mean far. If nothing else, travelling is a mindset: you can have a terrible time on the other side of the world, just as how your mind can be blown by finding the right experience near home! The same study from Cornell University states that “…anticipating experiences may confer greater social benefits, making people feel more connected and happier overall.” What better place to start than at home?
Book ahead for local experiences to look forward to with people you love. You get to eat food from places you’ve always wanted to, see shows you’ve always meant to check out and go for leisurely walks in new neighbourhoods. Top the day off with getting to sleep in your own comfy bed, and savings in the bank!
Related post: How Slow Travel Might Be The Remedy To Fast Lifestyles
Go Regional – Slowly!
When did travel become synonymous with planes? Although Canadian cities are spread out, Canada has no shortage of cutesy cabin stays, camping trips, and winter getaways. I live in Manitoba- one of the less touristy parts of the country, yet still have no trouble finding awesome road trips, hikes, cabins and yurt stays.
So get started, Canada! Check out your province in the Great Canadian Bucket List. Search your Provincial and National Parks for a new spot to check out. Ask your community on social media for local/regional recommendations.
Experiences Over Things
Feeling the flight shame? Listen to it, and gain context: What’s the big picture of your consumption? How you live at home reflects how you’ll navigate your travel choices, so prioritizing experiences over things is a great place to start.
This approach will help you replace ‘flight shame’ with a unique travel story to be proud of.