I have pledged to stay flight free in 2021 out of respect for the environment.
I started living a flight free life in 2019 and although I have missed traveling, I don’t regret it at all. I will keep living like this because I have taken so many planes since my childhood right up to when I was 32 years old that it makes me feel guilty. I can’t keep traveling like this if I want to call myself an ecologist and if I want my actions to align with my values.
In 2017 I was already a vegan environmental anti-natalist (the top 2 ways to minimize your CO2 footprint), but then I read about the devastating effects of the aviation industry on the environment and I felt horrible with myself for travelling so often by plane. Since then I have only taken a plane once, in 2018 to go to Portugal, and I arranged to carbon offset my flight as a way to minimize the damage. But it felt like cheating my values. And I decided not to do it again.
In 2019, I was flirting with the idea of going to Austria but Greta Thunberg’s life choices reminded me of what my values were. I said to myself «If that teenager is pledging flight free, who has certainly not seen the world as you have been able to do by now, then you must rethink your priorities». And so, I didn’t go.
At the beginning of 2020 I took my dogs and my cat and drove all the way to Spain. It was a way for me to see the world again, and my intention was to move there to live. But the pandemic changed everything – no friend would come for a visit out of fear of getting stuck there due to Covid-19, and as I could not afford to go back to Greece by car & boat, with my pets, once each year, I decided I would come back and live in Greece again. I came back because I don’t want to betray my values ever again.
Integrity is choosing courage over comfort.
Elisabeth Dimitras, 34
MSc Biodiversity Conservation, Researcher / Activist, Greece