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Thursday, 14 June 2018

Come fly with me

There is a new awakening: flying is bad for the planet (NYT-2017). This awakening creates a major collision between our belief in climate change, and our need or want for air travelling to faraway - or even nearby - destinations, either for business or vacation. A recent VPRO Backlight episode introduced an intriguing analogy: travelling is the new smoking.

Once, smoking - like travelling - was only for the rich. Advertising for smoking and travelling made the common people believe that smoking and travelling was a need (to belong) or a want (eg, fun). The earliest government required healthcare warnings for smoking arrived in 1966 (NCBI).

NYT-2013: "in 2008, the European Union decided to bring aviation into its emissions control plan: “We believe that those of us who can afford to pay for an air ticket can also afford to pay for the pollution from their travel,” says [] the European commissioner for climate action."

The 2014 study, “Smoking Prevalence and Cigarette Consumption in 187 Countries, 1980-2012”, showed that "age-standardized smoking prevalence decreased by 42% for women and 25% for men between 1980 and 2012. [] But substantial population growth between 1980 and 2012 contributed to a 41% increase in the number of male daily smokers and a 7% increase for females." (source). Note LO: bold markings by me.

Although smoking may have hit all-time lows (eg, CDC, Guardian), there is still a substantial number of some 17% who continue smoking. Their need or want is stronger than their belief that smoking is unhealthy. They may only achieve the awakening stage after being personally diagnosed with a (lethal) disease.

Compared to smoking, flying is safe, albeit in pure statistical terms (eg, BBCFortune-2017, Guardian-2014). Compared to smoking, flying is cheap following heavy competition and low (airport and ticket) taxation (IATA). Both will make it hard to convince people to stop flying.

Moreover, the debate on the validity of climate change undermines the belief that "flying is bad for the planet" (NYT-2017). It doesn't help that "people like Al Gore or Richard Branson [] crisscross the world, often by private jet, proclaiming their devotion to the environment." (NYT-2013)

NYT-2013: “For many people in New York City, who don’t drive much and live in apartments, [air travel] is probably going to be by far the largest part of their carbon footprint”. FT-2015: "By 2050, 6.5 billion people, two-thirds of all humanity, will live and work in cities. In 1950 fewer than one billion did so." Also see my 2016 blog and UN-2014.

Urbanisation (my blogs) is creating a need and want to escape our megacities of 10+ million people. Cities of some 100 million people are already being projected for this century (Guardian-2018). The belief that urbanisation is bad for our planet is still remote or absent.

Come Fly With Me (1958) by Frank Sinatra - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away
If you can use some exotic booze, there's a bar in far Bombay
Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away


Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise