I took the Flight Free pledge in 2020 after making a commitment not to fly with my band the previous year. I’d read the IPCC 1.5 degree report which, quite frankly, freaked me out and I realised that enough was enough and that I must start making some hard decisions around becoming more a part of the solution rather than the problem.
It was a very hard call, as my band Formidable Vegetable had been flying internationally for 7 years successfully promoting messages of permaculture and regenerative grassroots action on the world stage to some very large audiences – a worthy path to climate action in many people’s eyes. However, the growing gap between my ideals and my own lived experience raised some serious questions for me about ‘walking the walk’ rather than just ‘talking the talk’ (or singing it, in my case).
Something I also realised was that by rushing around from festival to festival trying to get The Word out to as many people as possible, I was still following the ‘bigger, better, faster, stronger’ growth paradigm, which had started to do my head in. After experiencing a very noticeable decline in my mental health over the years as a result of excessive travel, I also decided that cutting out flying could drastically improve my wellbeing and help me to get back in touch with the local community I had been unwittingly neglecting back home.
Of course, with the extended lockdowns and border closures of 2020, pretty much everyone now seems to be in the same boat (and not on a plane). After a year living in a permaculture community, growing most of our own food and living a home-based life, I’ve realised that true positive climate action can also have countless personal benefits when done well! Local is where it’s at.
Read more about Charlie and his band Formidable Vegetable here, including how they were the first band in the world (according to the BBC) to turn down a show at Glastonbury due to the ecological impact and then end up playing anyway, due to the entire festival going online during COVID.
Photo by Mara Ripani