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Climate and Environment

Santiago Saez Moreno
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piqer: Santiago Saez Moreno
Friday, 23 November 2018

Would You Give Up Flying?

Flying is one of the main contributions to climate change for many of us in the wealthy part of the world. Particularly since the advent of low-cost carriers, getting on a plane has become so ubiquitous that they are used even for short-distance trips that could well be covered by bus, train or other transportation methods. Together, the aviation industry is responsible for around 2% of the global CO2 emissions, and I'm not even getting into the rest of environmental concerns.

But, could you give up flying? Could you turn down any position (or gig) that required you to use air travel? Forsake vacations abroad? Move closer to your family, even if that means a complete career change?

Author and environmentalist Janisse Ray, the protagonist of this podcast, did. Originally from Georgia (USA), she moved to Vermont and was leading a jet-set author's lifestyle. She flew a lot all over the USA to attend book presentations, lectures, conferences, and other gigs. Until one day she realized she couldn't go on.

“I cannot, in good conscience as an environmentalist, continue to fly, to blast this carbon into the air.”

Since then, her life has changed dramatically. She moved back to Georgia to be closer to her loved ones and now rides the train a lot. She rejects any gig that pushes her to catch a plane, and that means she has way less money than before, but that has a silver lining too: Now she's more focused on her real job and even has more time for herself. Our modern life, she says, is too fragmented, and requires us to get away from the places and the people we love.

“Maybe I gave up some recognition. Maybe I gave up some national spotlight. But the other part of me just doesn’t care.”

I had read a lot of good things about Terrestrial, and I must say I'm not disappointed at all. Great production and music, excellent host, focused topics, and my favorite duration (20-30 minutes). It's a shame they stopped publishing, but they have an archive—I'll be digging.

Would You Give Up Flying?
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