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Katherine, USA

Considering the urgency of the climate crisis and the necessity to halt carbon emissions immediately for the sake of safeguarding biodiversity and our ecosystems, there is no need (or time) to attribute blame for climate change or wallow in guilt. By being a part of the Flight Free 2021 campaign, we can have a different message: when individuals join together and shun air travel, industry and the government will need to help deliver solutions. This includes more efficient and affordable ground transport and the eventual electrification of air travel. For now, one significant way to feel content with one’s environmental impact is to avoid emitting the tons of CO2 that accompany air travel.

Katherine Leswing
New Hampshire, USA

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Jonas, Slovenia

I pledge to be flight free for as long as the climate needs. Many people say that this is quite radical. For me it was the most pragmatic choice, once I had decided to contribute to solving the climate crisis. To make it clear from the start, I think that the impact we can have with our individual lifestyle choices is very limited (policy makers, where are you?). And no, I do not want to think about the climate in every consumption or lifestyle decision … way too tiring. That is why not flying is the most pragmatic thing to do. In order to make up for one transatlantic return flight I would have to save many thousands of plastic bags. This is not to say that I justify carbon-intensive behaviours with staying on the ground. It only means that I try to focus on the decisions that matter, while not always being overly rigid with low-impact lifestyle choices.

Not flying has not restricted my life. For a while I worked for a Swedish employer, parts of my family were in Germany, and I live in Ljubljana. In that period, I spent quite some time on night trains. This year I travel less, also due to COVID-19, but I am lucky that I live with my family in Slovenia, where we have snowy mountains, forests, the seaside, good food and cultural events close by. Yes, when I see pictures or films from exotic, far-away places I sometimes wish to go there. And when the climate, technology, or my (time) budget allow, I will go there. But it has to be worth it. Fast travel, instagramable holidays and the like, do not make me happy, so I don’t miss them at all.

Jonas Sonnenschein
Slovenia

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Nathalie, Canada

For me, it all started 13 years ago, when I chose to take the train home from British Columbia to Montreal instead of flying. At the time, it wasn’t a conscious decision to never fly again, it was simply a choice I made for that specific trip. I stayed very informed about climate change all my adult life; most of my actions and decisions are largely directed by my will to be an environmentally friendly citizen.

More recently, I became more and more concerned about the climate crisis. Anxiety seemed to be slowly replacing my usual positivity about our future… As I searched the Internet for signs of inspiration, I wanted to know if others, like me, refused to take the plane because of its environmental impact. That’s when I found the organization “We stay on the Ground” and its campaign “Flight Free 2020”. I was thrilled!

Soon after, I started a Flight Free 2020 campaign in Canada which I ran for a year. I’m so pleased to see that Flight Free World has now become an international movement.

Most would say that refusing to fly is quite radical, simply because it is so accessible and popular. But times have changed. We must follow suit. The bottom line is that taking the plane is very often unnecessary and it causes a great deal of air pollution.

I believe we must try, at least try, to simplify our lives, see the world differently and decrease our carbon footprints. There are many ways to do this. Not flying is just one of those. We don’t need to visit each other’s countries to understand each other. We are beyond that point. We are in this together.

I pledge be flight free for as long as the climate needs.

Nathalie Laplante
Canada