If you care about the environment, should you fly?

6th November 2013

Environmentalists have been in the news recently proclaiming their views on flying. With the particulates and emissions from aircraft believed to be major contributors to climate change, most environmentalists urge people to cut down their air travel. Some, like George Monbiot, urge us not to fly at all. Following the release of a recent IPCC report in September, meteorologist Eric Holthaus made news by tweeting that he would no longer take any flights. But this week one campaigner, Brendan May, has encouraged more people to fly, stating: ‘I wish more environmentalists would fly.’

In support of his view, Mr May argues that travel is essential for getting a global perspective on the environmental challenges we face, rather than becoming bogged down in local issues that are ‘peripheral’ when viewed from the world stage. Many might respond that for environmentalists to fly more is hypocritical and sending a potentially damaging message to the wider public but Mr May’s article touches on a very important question about the value of travel.

The ITC’s Why Travel? project explores our underlying motivations for travel from a wide range of perspectives in order to better understand why we travel. See www.whytravel.org for more information.