I’ve been living with this nagging issue for a few years now. After a long period of many intercontinental business trips and working assigments as well as foreign vacation travel from a UK home, I’ve had a self-inflicted period of choosing to live and work abroad in Australia, USA & Norway. I have thereby been travelling by air more often (and paradoxically with ever cheaper airlines) for domestic or vacation reasons, and family members as well as myself.
I still firmly believe that everyone who wants to hold an international opinion, needs to get out more and see the world – I’ve been very “lucky” in that respect.
But of course the carbon-footprint and oil-dependency of air-travel is inescapable in both global-warming and energy sustainability terms. (Funny just typing that I can just see my Dad saying, some oooh 35/40 years ago, whilst looking up a high-altitude vapour trails criss-crossing the skies , that the scale of aircraft environmental damage was obvious.)
I also firmly believe that even with increasingly sophisticated remote-team-working possibilities, that if international working is part of our economy, then there is still a need for person-to-person working in the flesh to achieve shared understanding and concensus in decision-making. But that brings economic globalization itself into the sustainability equation too.
Anyway, the relative significance of air-travel to other carbon-footprint contributions is plain to see. It was Sue Blackmore that I first saw pledge to give-up air travel – I wonder how close to completely giving-up she actually achieved.
So as well as pledging not to contribute further to the primary problem of global population 😉 I intend that my next move, will be “home” and to a working pattern that can be conducted satisfactorily close to home with less remote team-working needed within one year. Minimal if not zero air-travel. (And I’ll consider voting for anyone that pledges to tax air travel generally – and penalize the cheap carriers disproportionately – and specifically subsidize educational exchange travel with 20% of the take.)