One of my mum’s favourite books is Cider with Rosie. I remember her telling me about a couple from the book who lived their whole lives in one village, perfectly content, living as “snug as two podded chestnuts”. The image this conjures humbly reminds me that people have not always lived how we do now, and this doesn’t mean they weren’t happy or content.
Last year I realised that the climate crisis is not going away and won’t be solved by “greening” our current lifestyles. Given that we are a long way off finding a sustainable way to fly, technology simply will not save us either. Learning more about this has left me feeling hopeless and ridden with eco-anxiety, which I remind myself is a completely natural reaction given the situation. What I find helps with eco-anxiety is making tangible changes to my own life. Taking the Flight Free pledge has been empowering. Something I could do right now, in the moment, that makes a difference.
I have never taken a flight solely because I enjoy getting on planes. In fact, it was that part I never really liked. It was the destination that brought me to the airport. The opportunity to rest, get away from home and experience new things. In truth, when I first thought about giving up flying, these were all things that I worried I might have to give up too. I found other lifestyle changes relatively easy, but giving up flying… no I thought, that would be too hard, and travel is worth it anyway.
But choosing not to fly is a privilege and being able to relax and experience new things closer to home is too. For me, making the choice not to fly in 2021, is a pledge to be more content in my everyday life. To stop living for my next holiday abroad. To have new experiences closer to home. To learn how to relax more. To stop comparing myself to others. To spend more time outside. These are things that I truly want in 2021 and I don’t need to get on a plane to do them.