‘If you care about our climate and the future of humanity, you should not fly anymore. This is poisoning the Mother-Earth, it is slowly killing the environment and the generations to come. Use alternative transportation, instead. You need to cross the ocean? You can always paddle.’
Oh, really? Give me a break. I don’t even talk about practical reasons.
It is getting warmer on our planet year by year, no doubt about it. We’ve heard lots of noise about it and this is a fact. No need to argue.
What is not a fact, though, is the scientific proof between the global warming and human activity. Actually, there’s lack of it.
Oh, yeah, the ‘white noise’ in the media just don’t count, sorry. The so-called climate experts, such as Hollywood celebrities, also do not count. They do their job perfectly as actors or models. Their statements could be dramatic and make a lot of bubbles in the media. But they’re just not climatologists. Period.
The scientific community has no single point of view on the problem. So far, I haven’t seen any evidence that we, the humans, 100 per cent caused global warming. Even 50 per cent, to be honest. Yes, human activity has caused the poisoning of the planet; we’ve seen those wastelands or the floating islands of trash in the world’s oceans. This is a fact. But it’s not related to global warming.
So back to flying. I can’t believe that the Earth is flat only because George Clooney thinks so. But I love him as an actor. I don’t understand also why some badly educated girl, Greta, makes big time statements on the things she has no clue about. See my point?
I will continue flying when needed. It is absolutely not just moral. It is absolutely common sense. This goes first.
Unless you provide me with scientific proof shared by scholars, not celebrities.
Is it immoral for me to continue flying?
In North Cyprus, where I live, we have casinos, which are very popular particularly with Greek Cypriots and Turkish mainlanders, who flood into the North, as gambling is illegal in their countries. That’s maybe fine, except that smoking is still allowed in these establishments, indeed positively encouraged, so the interior of our casinos are permanently covered in a fug of odorous yellow smoke. You remember the scene, don’t you, from 30 or 40 years ago, before lighting up was banned indoors in most civilised places? Of course you do, if you’re above a certain age.
I compare flying today to how we accepted smoking back then – normal, and for many, essential ways of life. Up to now, so is flying. It’s been socially acceptable, indeed desirable, since 1903 or thereabouts.
Knowing what we know now, about just how dirty an aeroplane is, and how it’s helping to potentially make life on our planet more and more problematic, it is slowly getting increasingly tough to justify flying unless absolutely necessary.
So, what actually does necessary mean? Maybe you can justify a flight on the grounds of visiting a dying relative, attending a funeral, getting to work in a faraway place. What about going on holiday, or just visiting friends because you fancy it? Or worse still, flying to a place where you will then board a cruise ship, an even more polluting giant than any 737 or 320?
So, what am I doing about it? Next week, Mrs B and I have booked a 3,000 km flight to help clear her mum’s house in Dorset, England. That task has to be done, and there really isn’t any other practical way of getting there. We would both rather take a short flight to Istanbul, and then catch the train through six or seven countries – it will take several days, it will cost an arm and a leg, but it will also be totally unsuitable for Mrs B’s various disabilities, with two heavy suitcases also in tow.
So, will I feel any sense of immorality in my actions, when I’m up at 35,000 for some five hours? I will, as I always do, glance out from my window seat from time to time at the CFM56 engine and wonder at all the filth it is spouting out – but will that stop me from taking the flight? No, of course not.
But, fast-forward maybe a decade or two, and it may well be the case that we would be regarded as some sort of pariahs for taking this flight. Maybe, we will be regarded in the same vein as we would today by taking out a packet of cigarettes, and chain-smoking inside a restaurant or café.
I may not feel today that I am doing anything morally bankrupt by flying, but I’m sure that will change, maybe in my lifetime.
I didn’t know I had a choice…
What is immoral anyhow? It turns out that morality is crazily fluid and often doesn’t make much sense. So getting a couple of tickets to today’s show down at the Colosseum is immoral because we’re going to feed the Christians to the Lions. Except it’s good old-fashion family entertainment; depending on when you were born.
Why is it “go to jail” time if a woman exposes her nipple but acceptable for a man to do the same? Well, except in Spain. They mostly look the same, right?
Is it moral to keep slaves? The Bible says yes; it’s fine as long as they are from a neighbouring State (Nation). Again, it depends on when you were born.
Obviously I can go on for pages but I think my point is made: we make up the rules as we go along, then pretend that it’s black & white, right & wrong.
Remember, we three friends cannot see what the other two have written. So let me make a prediction: Sergey & Dean will say you must fly; they are from big countries. Roger will talk about Greta from Sweden, a small country and say that maybe you should avoid planes. Why the split? Because the UK is not huge geographically and taking the train is practical.
Might I also offer Ms. Thunberg targeted jets because she doesn’t want to give up her warm, heated home. Don’t think for one second that I’m passing judgement on her. She is from a cold-assed country and any sensible person would do the same. Of course, her father is a successful film maker so maybe they can afford a solar home, which would allow her to say her house has a zero carbon footprint. Terribly convenient.
I’ll argue that we should all do what we can, where we can. For example; Sergey loves the Earth and is quite the outdoor enthusiast. His climbs include the Himalayas. He will be the last to throw a piece of rubbish on the ground.
I’m not allowed to buy eggs at the store because I’ll return with free-range, double priced eggs. I don’t care and will continue to pay more.
Would I take another form of transport than the jet? Most likely I would but that’s not practical. I’m also aware there are far more polluting activities that are within my ability to act on.
In the US, you can pay a small amount more and get power from a wind farm. Despite the political rhetoric, coal is highly polluting compared to other forms of electricity production and carries a far larger carbon footprint than air travel.
Coal fired plants in the US produce 65% of the greenhouse gasses created by the grid. Fortunately, reusable power generation in the US will surpass coal this year. Coal plants are being shuttered for economic reasons and there is little the Administration can do to turn back the clock. The only coal plants still online in the US are smaller and new but they will not survive, long term.
So back to our question: is it immoral for me to continue flying? I will say no, unless there is a practical alternative, which there isn’t. I have no choice except to use kerosene powered jet aircraft for the time being.