Can We Afford to Fly? The Impact of Air Travel

I find this a hard topic to tackle.

I have friends who enthusiastically advocate distance travel in all forms.  They relish their frequent flyer status.  They blog enticing tales of exotic encounters.  They center whole blogs around adventure and travel.

They are good people.  I don’t want to hurt their feelings.  I certainly don’t want to be judgmental.  But, I also can’t deny what appear to be the facts.

My curiosity about the impact of flying was sparked by a comment on my post Minimalism vs. Moderation.   The post encouraged readers to take the Ecological Footprint Quiz.  After taking the quiz, Pavel Nosikov observed:

“A roundtrip intercontinental flight (15,000 km = 10,000 miles) a year is already unsustainable. If you try your very best and won’t commute at all except that flight you would gain 1.08 earths [of consumption]. We all should stop travelling?”

That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it?

Is There a Moral Imperative to Fly Less?

Tammy Stroebel from Rowdy Kittens once wrote an article called A Moral Imperative to Drive Less.  She said,

“In the wake of the gulf oil spill (and a world economic crisis), Americans love affair with cars must end. We have a “moral imperative” to start driving less.”

Is there a moral imperative to fly less – or not at all – in the face of climate change?

Cliff Stainsby thinks there is.  He equates flying for pleasure (you might want to sit down before reading this) to murder.  About flying by jet on vacation he says,

“The facts clearly reveal that such flying is an immoral act. It is completely under individual control. The per-passenger emissions are immense compared to those of large, affected populations, for example those in Africa and Pakistan. Per passenger emissions are immense, also, compared to per capita sustainable greenhouse gas emission targets. And, clearly, neither those suffering today nor future generations, who are likely to suffer much more, have consented to or encouraged this suffering.

Flying for a vacation is particularly egregious, a reprehensible self-indulgence by the well off at the expense of the impoverished and future generations; and those who fly on vacation contribute directly to the death and destruction of other people. In other words, if you fly by jet you kill.

Jet flying for an unnecessary indulgence, for one’s own pleasure, for a vacation, showing complete disregard for the people whose lives are ended or devastated as a result, is tantamount to murder.

Murder is a harsh word. But harsh words are apt; climate change kills in a very harsh manner, and presages a very harsh future for billions of people.”

Flying: the Most Ecologically Costly Act of Individual Consumption

So what’s the ecological impact of a single flight? Treehugger tells us:

“One transatlantic flight for a family of four creates more CO2 than that family generates domestically in an entire year.”

In reference to a round trip flight between New York and Los Angeles on a typical commercial jet,  Joseph Nevins says:

“As a result, that roundtrip flight’s “climatic forcing” is really 1,917 kilos, or almost two tons, of emissions—more than nine times the annual emissions of an average denizen of Haiti (as per U.S. Department of Energy figures).”

He also points out:

“And, no doubt, many of us have adopted new habits—trying to use public transportation, buying local foods, rejecting bottled water. But the “savings” from such practices are wiped out by a habit that many of us not only refuse to kick, but also increasingly embrace: flying, the single most ecologically costly act of individual consumption.”

Reflection:  Can We Afford to Fly?

The truth is, we’re incredibly interconnected.  The choices I make have a far ranging effect. While our choices may sometimes seem insignificant, when they are added to the same choices made by others, the impact can be profound and earth-altering – for better or for worse.

Often, we make poor choices because we operate on automatic.  We unwittingly harm others because we aren’t pausing to consciously consider the impact of our choices.

The reflection this week is two-fold.  First, please consider the fragility and interdependence of the environment as inspired by the following quote.

Secondly, please consider the question of whether we can afford to fly given what appears to be a significant environmental impact.  You might consider how this pertains to your own circumstances and choices.

“Modern science speaks to us of an extraordinary range of interrelations.  Ecologist know that a tree burning in the Amazon rain forest alters in some way the air breathed by a citizen of Paris, and that the trembling of a butterfly’s wing in Yucatán affects the life of a fern in the Hebrides.

- from The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche

Joseph Nevins concludes his article on kicking the air travel habit by saying,

“Climate science tells us that we need a 90 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions over the next few decades to keep within a safe upper limit of atmospheric carbon. In light of the great changes such a reduction demands, what is unrealistic and foolhardy is the notion that we can continue flying with abandon.”

This is not the news we want to hear. After all, air travel is on a steady increase.  Someone is getting on those airplanes.  Are they thinking about the environment when they do?  Are they thinking of future generations?

Are There Unique Benefits to Be Gained from Travel?

Often, it is argued that there are unique benefits to be gained from travel.  The world becomes smaller and there’s a greater feeling of interconnectedness.  Travel can also contribute greatly to personal evolution.  However, only 2-3% of the population engages in international travel in any given year.  So those benefits accrue to only a few, many of whom are already quite privileged.

Certainly, there are unique benefits to be gained from travel.  But can they be justified in light of the potentially life-damaging effects of climate change?

Although I’ve only flown once in the last four years, prior to that I was a frequent flyer myself.  I also ended up on an island in the middle of the Pacific without considering the ecological impact of that decision.

So, I don’t expect anyone else to be perfect.  We’re all in this together – learning and making new choices, step-by-step.  But, I believe time is of the essence.  The natural disasters that are occurring with greater frequency around the world are warning signs in my own paradigm.  So I hope you will take this information to heart and considering whether it might make sense to alter your own choices when it comes to air travel.

What are your thoughts about personal air travel and its impact on the environment?  Have you altered your travel for environmental considerations?  Do you think personal air travel can be justified?

Images courtesy of Public Domain Pictures

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If you liked this article, please share the link with others using the share button below.  And, I would love to hear from you in the comments.  Thanks so much for your support! Sandra

Comments

  1. says

    of course i think flying less would be way more minimalistic (better for our environment and yourself also). you can also travel without flying, even by bike or using your feet… after all, what’s the point of traveling the world? maybe just a getaway from yourself?

    • says

      Hi there,

      I agree! There are many excellent alternatives to flight travel. Air travel is indeed very hard on the body. I’m devoted to traveling the inner world. At the same time, I can’t resist the notion that world travel can be eye, mind, and heart opening especially for the young. Thanks so much for your thoughts. I look forward to the emergence of your Seeds of Happiness project.

  2. says

    What an unusual and thoughtful choice of topic, Sandra. I applaud you. It’s a difficult thing to balance costs vs. benefits. I haven’t flown in years, but it’s more because I dislike the circus atmosphere of security checks which are mostly ritual behaviors, and because I’m sensitive to crowds of anxious people. I do think there are very great benefits to travel, but one may always travel by other means if you accept taking more time to do it. I LOVE train travel for example, and it’s low-impact ecological people moving by comparison to planes. I wonder how much the impact upon resources would be lessened if we grounded air-based defense flying?

    • says

      Mike,

      Maybe travel should be reserved for the young? Train travel is an excellent option in some parts of the world. I too find train travel enjoyable in Europe and I’ve enjoyed Albany to NYC plus NYC to DC any number of times. Good question about air-based defense flying. That’s another important aspect to add into the mix. Thanks for adding that thought.

  3. Stella says

    Hi Sandra
    This is no problem for me as I hate flying and have managed to avoid it for years. Also like Invisible Mikey, I absolutely love train travel so have still managed to visit many exciting places without taking to the air.
    But if you are happy to fly, this is a very difficult thing to give up. Of course travelling broadens the mind and it’s lovely to visit beautiful places, but I believe that the reality is that by visiting these places we are ultimately destroying them. Over the past few decades people have come to believe that foreign travel, two or three times a year, is their right, possibly because they are not fulfilled by their own lives and are always trying to seek something more. Also as we are all working so hard to maintain our consumerist lifestyles, we need these holidays to recharge our batteries. It’s all so unsustainable!
    But the flip side, is that tourism is a vital source of income for these destination countries, so like every other environmental and ethical question we face, there is no easy answer.
    Stella

    • says

      Stella,

      These are very good points. This stood out for me in particular, “…by visiting these places we are ultimately destroying them.” You are right – it’s a complex issue without an easy answer. If you like to fly and visit new places, it would be very difficult to give this up. This is an interesting thought about how we sometimes travel because we are unfulfilled in our own life. This whole idea that travel is our “right” though is one that I feel needs to be addressed head on? Is it our right to destroy the planet and the lives of others? If we really understand the impact of our actions, I think we would make other choices. But I think most of us remain almost hopelessly blind. Tourism has become a vital source of income for these destination countries, but perhaps there are alternatives that we can explore and shift too overtime. Thanks for these stimulating thoughts.

  4. says

    Very thoughtful post, Sandra. I’ve been thinking about this a lot too, especially because it seems that frequent flying and location-independent lifestyles are so popular in the online world. I love to travel, don’t do it often, but struggle with many of these issues when I do. I think you’re right that we have to be much more mindful of how our choices impact this planet. Not enough people are and we need huge change now. I watched a guy in a massive SUV yesterday, chuck his coffee cup onto the road then drive off. I think there was a garbage can a few feet away but he just didn’t give a shit. It made me mad and sad that there are people out there who just don’t get it, even at the most basic level of respecting their own city street. But, I know I’m guilty having a negative impact on our world – from plastics to car driving. We share this world and it’s time we acknowledged our western ways are going to kill us if we don’t pull back … way back. Take flying and mass meat consumption – we could deviate from current direction if we simply stopped indulging in them. I could go on and on, but you have managed to articulate your ideas so beautifully and in such a balanced way — I hope people at least consider them carefully. Most appreciated, Sandra.

    • says

      Hi Katie,

      Thanks for mentioning the idea of the location-independent lifestyle. You can’t miss that idea if you travel the blogosphere to any degree! I”m very inspired by some of the young people who have made this choice. Believe me, I don’t want to rain on their parade. And – sometimes, at least – they are traveling by means other than air travel and staying put in one place for months at a time. I think traveling the world can be very eye opening and mind expanding especially for the young. So I really try to avoid being judgmental, while also seriously taking a look at these important questions and encouraging others to do so as well.

      You rightly point out that we are all part of the problem. It’s best to look at our own behaviors and model a good example, as best we can. It can be frustrating to see such fragrant disregard for the environment like throwing your coffee cup onto the road, but as you say, we’ve all been there. That person might just blossom into green living one day, but that depends a lot on our ability to educate and communicate without judgment. That’s challenging to say the least. I always have to remember that I was blind to environmental concerns quite recently too and I am still far from perfect.

      Thanks for participating in the conversation. I appreciate your perspective.

  5. says

    A very thoughtful post, Sandra. For some who loves to vacation in Hawaii this becomes a real dilemma. For someone who lives in Hawaii, like you, what are your choices when you need to get off an island?

    Like some earlier comments, I love train travel. But Phoenix is not served by Amtrak anymore and the quality of long distance trains has become so poor it is now a test of endurance. Unfortunately, our country has decided to put virtually all our support behind air travel. As flying becomes more and more unpleasant and expensive, as oil becomes more expensive and maybe even unavailable, where will we be with all the millions poured into airports and runways? This shortsighted decision is going to severely limit our travel options in the future as we continue to destroy the environment.

    I was a very frequent flier with more than a million miles just on Delta. But, now I avoid it like the plague. Your post helps me validate my choice.

    • says

      Bob,

      That is a dilemma! Hawai’i is a beautiful place to recharge one’s self. Fortunately, I have very little desire (well, actually zero) to go off island aside from the wish to see my family or spiritual teacher from time to time. I do have the grapple with limiting purchases that come from off island.

      You comment really gives us a look into the future. That’s exactly what we need to do – to actually think through these questions and take a look ahead. Right now air travel is increasing, not decreasing but those empty airports and limited travel options could definitely be a future scenario.

      It’s interesting to hear from you and others who are commenting that they avoid travel like the plague!

  6. says

    My parents used to take us on big yearly vacations that often involved international flights, but I am finding now that my body no longer flies easily or well. I now fly only when I need to, which comes out to about once a year. I am flying out to my sister’s wedding in Hawaii this May. She would be genuinely hurt if I told her that environmental considerations came before her wedding — even if they do, even if they should. I guess I’m choosing in this instance to be a bad environmentalist but a good sister.

    It’s difficult for me to condemn travel altogether, as some of my best and most eye-opening experiences happened abroad, but it certainly comes with a high cost that we don’t often consider. I like the idea of more train trips, but alas, it’s not a possibility for the wedding.

  7. says

    Uuugh! How timely. I am getting ready to fly across the country to the other coast soon to visit my brother. I have not been to see him in 3 years. I do think consciously about the footprint of flying. I love the idea of traveling by train, but across the US, you would use the whole vacation time just getting there by train. Not very feasible.

    I think we have to look at in terms of our whole lifestyle. We have to take into account the bigger picture of how we live our entire lives. I try to live as eco-friendly as possible and make conscious choices every day. So, I will allow myself a flight every now and then without guilt.

    • says

      Hi Nancy,

      Interesting that not having kids contributes to lowering your carbon footprint! I never thought of that angle.

      It’s good to know that some airlines are making efforts to be greener. In this regard though, I think we need to investigate carefully. It’s easy to “greenwash” to appear greener than you actually are. It seems we are in a crisis and even greener flying may not be enough. But, far better to fly greener when you need to fly, for sure. Thanks for letting know about the options.

    • says

      From the NYTimes:

      The study found that having a child has an impact that far outweighs that of other energy-saving behaviors.

      Take, for example, a hypothetical American woman who switches to a more fuel-efficient car, drives less, recycles, installs more efficient light bulbs, and replaces her refrigerator and windows with energy-saving models. If she had two children, the researchers found, her carbon legacy would eventually rise to nearly 40 times what she had saved by those actions.

      “Clearly, the potential savings from reduced reproduction are huge compared to the savings that can be achieved by changes in lifestyle,” the report states.

      http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/07/having-children-brings-high-carbon-impact/

  8. says

    I’ve just started reading your blog, came by to see what you had done with your theme, from Timethief’s blog and stayed to read.

    I haven’t flown for a good few years now, the last couple of times were for funerals and dying friends, and one of the things I have noticed is how far flung people’s families are and how often you meet people flying who are doing exactly what I was doing, flying to help someone they had a connection too, so not for business or pleasure or for exploration, but because they wanted to offer the comfort of their physical presence and to bear witness in some way to something. So it is sad to think that I was contributing to the death of the ecosystem and with hindsight I think I would maybe not have gone to the funeral but for the dying friend who asked for me, I think I would still have gone.

    On another related note, the carbon footprint of shipping is very high too, essentially because of global trade. The world has a lot to untangle. I have no answers I’m afraid. Thank you for asking the questions. Joanna

    • says

      Hi Joanna,

      This is where the question becomes potentially heartbreaking, doesn’t it? Naturally, we want to support our friends and loved ones and express our compassion and care for them. There aren’t any easy answers and I’m glad you are taking a moment to bring this aspect of flying to our attention.

      Thank you also for mentioning the carbon footprint of shipping. I’ve been wondering about that as well. There’s so much intricacies involved with leading a greener life. You are right, the world has a lot to “untangle.” I appreciate all that everyone is doing in this direction, but also appreciate the complexities and interrelationships.

      Thanks for taking a moment to leave a comment. It’s nice to “connect” with you.

  9. says

    In my earlier years of working and living overseas, I flew a lot, enough to have accordian pages glued in my passport. But when I moved here (Portland, Oregon), I gave away my large suitcases and let my passport expire! (I have since gotten a new one.)

    In the last 20 years I have cut way back on flying. I would like to say I did it for environmental reasons, but the truth is that I am just content at home and really don’t want to go anywhere that I can’t get to in a reasonably short car trip. So my travel is mostly to my cabin in the mountains (1 hr 15 min from home), or to the beach (1 1/2 hrs from home).

    Last summer, I took a vacation with one of my kids that required air travel. When I got home, I thought to myself that that would be my last flight, except in case of some family emergency. Like other commenters, I find flying so unpleasant these days, it just isn’t worth it.

    Now you have raised a new perspective for me to think about. The environmental impact of my personal choice allows me to claim some loftier justification for my disinclination to fly. The data you present is sobering, and inspires me to look more closely at not just my flying choices, but other choices. How much do I drive? (very little but more than I have to) How much to I recycle and reuse? (I live in the environmentally conscious NW, so probably more than many in the US, but much less than I could) What products do I buy? What food do I eat?

    Thank you for this educational and motiviational post.

    PS–My daughters are headed to Hawaii for spring break next week. They will be flying. Alas.

    • says

      Hi Galen,

      It’s interesting to hear from yet another person who has lost their interest in flying as they became older. I too find great contentment in being at home, but I’m fortunate to live in a very special tropical environment.

      Thank you for your openness. I know we are all trying to do our part, but I too am always looking for ways that I could a little more. I appreciate the spirit you are bringing to this inquiry. It takes many drops of water to make a big ocean. That’s how change will happen, each of us doing our small part.

      Thanks for your thoughts.

  10. says

    Outstanding coverage as always Sandra of a very pertinent topic to our times today.

    I echo the sentiments others have shared and applaud you for covering this topic and in the way you did. I think there is a huge responsibility here for sure for each of us to get more conscious about this topic.

    I will say though, that I am surprised that Cliff Stainsby feels as tough as he does about flying for pleasure. I am surprised, for if we take the average person they may fly once a year somewhere, if that. For most people travel by flying is not an option, especially in the current times where many people are struggling for jobs and any kind of vacations are far from their reach. As you mention the stat for international travel is 2-3%! What I would think we should look at first and foremost is the business travel, which can happen for so many today on a weekly basis, if not more.

    People may think that “well there is no choice in that, it is your job” but I beg to differ. Everything is a choice, and the type of work we do, how it is done, etc… is just as much a part to play in all of this. I can’t remember how it was worded but Vipassana taught such a critical topic in what the Buddha taught about the type of job one does…. and how much that has a role to play in our personal evolution.

    It reminds me too on how much governments and enviro agencies want the consumer to cut down on all electricity, etc… while business buildings in all major cities and others are lit up to the nines 365 days a year! Not to mention engaged daily in other energy wasting activities.

    I am in no way saying, get them to change before we do, for I live and believe that change comes from each one of us changing (be the change you want to see, right), but I do think that while we need to all increase our consciousness in all areas of our life, the most pressure should be put on the biggest outlets of wasteful and unsustainable ways.

    As for flying…my issue with flying today is even more so with the body scanners, radiation risk, violation of human rights and freedoms, unhealthy plane environment… and then some….

    So will I fly again? Probably. Is it something I seek to do? No way. If I can get somewhere in any other way or not need to go, that is always my first choice—and as always… we always have a choice.

    Thanks again Sandra.

    • says

      Evita,

      I appreciate your comments because they are always thoughtful and thought-provoking. They always add to the conversation in a beneficial way.

      I agree wholeheartedly that business travel is a cause for concern and something we should speak up about. The same with all wasting of resources by businesses. I’m often irked by the unsolicited advertising I get in my mailbox from big chain stores that I never frequent. This is a total waste. One could easily make a long list of such waste and regular environmental insults.

      At the same time, if flying is indeed the most ecologically costly act of individual consumption and uses up one’s entire carbon footprint for a year, it certainly pays to get conscious about it and make our decisions keeping the planet in mind. I know this is your feeling too.

      Thanks for adding these other points about the further challenges of flying today. They are also something to consider without a doubt.

  11. says

    I am one of those friends, Sandra. Executive Platinum on American and earned proudly the 100,000 flying miles a year the last few years. I plan to fly until my feet don’t have energy to walk to the airplane or to my own private jet someday. I love to fly. Leonardo da Vinci dreamt of this day; I often wish only he could see the miracles we have achieved with technology. And to be honest, I do not believe flying hurts the planet ONE BIT. I think global warming is a big political agenda and if anything, Mr. Al Gore could take a look at the way he live and consumes enough for a small village (aka: insert hypocrite, with all due respect).
    I am all for caring for the earth – I love it as much as you and everyone here, if not more, and in fact, it is this love that gives me this insatiable desire to see every inch of this world – and I do what I can to consume consciously, recycle when I can, drive a hybrid car and hardly drive it much at all, clean the world around me and so on and so forth – but flying airplanes in this big planet of ours does not hurt the earth to the extent that it is made out. It is also the safest mode of transportation – far safer than driving or riding a bike especially in bigger cities and well, there is just no way for me to make it to Hawaii if it weren’t for flying. Thank you for the post and for taking the other perspective in the spirit that it is given…..

    • says

      Hello Farnoosh,

      I know you love to fly and I thoroughly enjoy your travel tales. Not to mention your incredibly smart tips on how to pack efficiently. Should the time come that I need to board a plane, I will definitely be revisiting your article on packing in an instant. I am thoroughly invigorated by your passion and your zest and I know it would be heartbreaking to give up travel for you and many others who have that same insatiable appetite to savor the beauty of this world.

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with loving to travel, by any means. I’m so glad yuou added your perspective to the conversation. I think we can only grown and learn by connecting and listening and considering and debating.

      As to whether or how harmful flying is to the planet, time will tell for sure since we don’t seem to be altering our ways in pace with the environmental changes that are occurring on the planet.

      To be honest, I haven’t read or heard a single word that Al Gore has said about the environment or about global warming so I can’t comment on whether it’s simply his own political agenda or not.

      However, there are people that I trust immensely who are seriously concerned about the imminent danger to the environment from climate change. This includes the Buddhist master and human rights activist, Thich Nhat Hanh, who is not prone to lying or political agendas. He is one of many renown Buddhist teachers who have signed the Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change in addition to the Dalai Lama. These teachers often have far more foresight, than many of us do. I trust their integrity and their vision. I don’t think they would try to scare us for no reason and I don’t think they are particularly gullible to political agendas.

      I also trust people like Gaia Vince, an ordinary person and science writer, who is traveling the world documenting the impact of climate change. She has no obvious agenda that I can see aside from appreciating and preserving the planet for future generations. She says:

      “Climate change is already happening, as I have seen on this two-year journey through the developing world. It is already killing people.

      Weather is changeable and because it is not possible to identify single events as ’caused by climate change’, it is also easy perhaps to dismiss scientists warnings about the extreme weather events – that destroy millions of homes – becoming more likely.

      Is it also easy to ignore the tropical glacier melt that’s unstoppable now? Perhaps, if you live in the rich world, where you home is currently buried under snowfall.”

      and, referring to the December Cancun Climate Summit:

      “Unfortunately, the world doesn’t have time for this kind of autistism: even if countries were to act on the loose agreements made this morning (and they are under no obligation to do so), we would still be looking at 4 degrees of warming – something that would kill millions.”

      Her blog celebrates the beauty of this world through prose and photographs. I think you might enjoy it immensely – wanderinggaia.wordpress.com

      I could be wrong, but I don’t think there’s any argument that global warming is occurring. The disagreement seems to be about the causes. Personally, I believe that the dramatic natural disasters that appear to be happening more and more frequently in this world, are warning signs. It’s wonderful to be able to travel, but if our travel is contributing to the massive destruction of the places we love (Japan being the current victim of cataclysmic events) that would be very sad indeed.

      But I do agree with Evita, the responsibility and burden doesn’t fall on personal travel alone; it’s also vital to look at business travel.

      I certainly don’t have all the answers, I’m just exploring the questions. We each need to make our own conclusion and choices. I don’t want to point a finger at any one or judge others. We are all in this together and are all responsible for the health of this earth.

      Thanks for sharing your love for travel and for the beauty of this earth, and you thoughts on climate change.

    • says

      ” And to be honest, I do not believe flying hurts the planet ONE BIT. ”

      I am astonished by that statement. Aviation impacts the environment because it is made from a non-renewable resource ie. petroleum (kerosene and chemical additives), and because aircraft engines emit noise, particulates, and gases. Aviation fuel is among the most expensive petroleum product on the planet in terms of the impact it makes on the environment to extract and produce it, and in terms what it leaves behind in the air, water and on the land.

      • says

        But moves are afoot to address the issues of noise particulates and gases. And modern aircraft emit far less than their earlier counterparts. Progress is being made on the renewable energy front as well… even in the aviation industry. Sir Richard Branson ran a test flight in 2008 using a combination of palm and babusa oil to fuel a flight into South America which I wrote about here if anyone is interested http://jeanburman.com/2008/03/04/bransons-virgin-test-flight-not-coco-nuts/#comments

          • says

            David Pimental, a leading Cornell University agricultural expert, has calculated that powering the average U.S. automobile for one year on ethanol (blended with gasoline) derived from corn would require 11 acres of farmland, the same space needed to grow a year’s supply of food for seven people. Sadly the production of aviation fuel from plant based sources presents the same ethical dilemma — land for fossil fuel replacements or land for the people who need food to eat?

            Aviation fuel for military use is the second largest portion of fossil fuel consumed by DOD therefore it represents the area of greatest potential energy savings. Hence they have been pursuing many avenues for synthetic fuel production. In latest available stats fiscal year 2005, DOD consumed roughly 125 million barrels of oil — 74% of that was used to power Air Force aircraft, Navy ships, and Army ground vehicles. Over half (roughly 52% ) was aviation fuel. (Aviation fuel is also used in “non-aircraft” systems such as tanks and generators in order to reduce logistics requirements on the battlefield.)

            BioJet Corporation and Great Plains Oil & Exploration who have announced they have executed a Teaming Agreement for the purpose of producing renewable jet fuels. The companies plan to jointly develop integrated Camelina cultivation and associated refinery projects in the U.S., Europe, South America, and Asia.

            Earlier this month Washington State University applied for a federal biomass frant to establish a regional biomass research center for aviation fuels, which could net up to $45 million in federal funding over five years. the center would support WSU’s existing sustainable aviation fuels program, which includes The Boeing Co., Alaska Airlines, the Port of Seattle and numerous private companies.

            Virgin Atlantic has flown a jumbo jet on a combination of conventional jet fuel and biofuel made from palm oil, and a jet powered solely by biodiesel has stayed aloft for more than 30 minutes—albeit with a special device to keep its fuel from freezing at high altitude. … oops!

            Advanced technologies, such as synthetic aviation fuels, offer potential alternatives and measures can taken to decrease use of fuel, include upgrading aircraft engines and modifying operational procedures but all are costly.

            So although there are many projects underway to develop biofuel replacements for petroleum based aviation fuels over the world but the trade-off of using arable land for plant based aviation fuel rather than for food production is a highly charged one. The amount of plant material required and the acreage required to grow it and process the crop is enormous and many believe arable land is best used for food production.

          • says

            @Sandra,
            My app is not working and I’m having such a difficult time focusing that I hope you will be kind enough to correct any obvious typos I have made.

            I’m still adjusting to my visual impairment and learning how to use this key board that has no lettering on the keys, and sometimes I click the key either to the right of left of the one I actually want to click.

          • says

            timethief ~ Thank you for this added information for our consideration. I’m glad to hear that there is research into more eco-friendly fuels.

            I myself cannot invest too much hope in technology solving the problem. It seems to be a simple mathematical equation – the earth has limited resources and we are using too much. The only logical solution is to reduce consumption and pressure on the environment.

          • says

            Thanks for the editing Sandra.

            Despite the fact that I have never picketed or petitioned, I have a very long history as a paralegal researcher in the Canadian environmental movement. I am keenly aware of the ranking re: the largest oil and gas reserves on this planet Saudi Arabia is #1 and Canada is #2. The USA ranks way down the ladder at #14.

            The corporate puppet masters who pull the political strings and the unconscious masses, who cling to the unsustainable American Dream (& equibalnets in other countires) are determined to secure non-renewable resources that belong to other countries. And the USA has one of the most well equipped and powerful military machines on Earth, so America’s youth are dying on the altar of oil while the US continues to attempt to establish hegemony over oil and gas resources abroad.

            When it comes to the workings of GCOS (oil sands) technology in Alberta, without getting into detail I can truthfully say that they are not a mystery to me at all.

            So like you I place no faith at all in technology and I sorrow. The facts are that we are depleting the Earth’s non-renewable resources at an astonishing rate, and we are also reproducing even more humans with the same voraicious appetites at enormous rate as well.

            Sadly, for the planet and all life on it there are legions who aren’t conscious. I love them from a distance and continue to pray for them to awaken.

  12. says

    Sandra,
    I think there are as many answers and points of view on this topic as there are people and places to visit. That said everyone needs to look within for the answers that fit them. The important thing is not to judge what another is doing why we strive to change ourselves. If we do it’s only projection.

    Any time we lose our peace of anything we’re on the wrong path. And lack of peace and judgment are as destructive as any international air travel.

    For Cliff Stainsby I have a question, “Has any loved one of yours been murdered?” If the answers no your analogy makes sense.

    • says

      Tess,

      I fully agree how important it is to genuinely resist judging others. We are all in this boat (plane?) together and the only way out is love. At the same time, our love can be expressed by warning others of danger. The great spiritual masters don’t hesitate to tell what they understand to be the truth.

      Thanks for the reminding us to love, not judge.

  13. says

    Hello Sandra :-)

    I came by here from Prolific Living and found this post most interesting.

    You know? I wonder if the world would not be a whole lot better [and more environmentally sound] place if we humans focussed on the real issues instead of issues perceived by popular climate science to be the problem.

    What I am saying… [with all due respect]… is that this problem is entirely manufactured. Aviation has evolved exponentially since the early days of flight and modern aircraft are becoming more and more energy efficient and emission sensitive. And with only 2 – 3% of the world’s population engaging in international travel surely the massive statistics for car ownership would be the greater issue here?

    Apart from that… the catastrophic nuclear crisis now evolving in Japan renders any discussion of Co2 levels and climate change and/or any other human impact upon the earth [for now anyway] virtually irrelevant.

    Anyone who is even half way serious about protecting the fragile ecology of the planet and saving the earth from a far more catastrophic consequence… must now get behind the push for safe [sane sensible] and sustainable non nuclear solutions for our future energy needs.

    It is my humble opinion that any other discussion at this particular time is a waste of precious oxygen. But of course… this is my opinion [and I have always been outspoken] :-)

    Sandra… thanks for this post. It clarified so much for me. My hope is now that the world will get a grip on the real issues at hand and put their immense energy and people power into a safe future for us all.

    • says

      Hello Jean,

      It’s lovely to meet you! Your watercolors are luscious.

      I agree with you – we have a serious, immediate crisis on hand with the catastrophic nuclear event in Japan. But how does this render any other environmental discussion irrelevant, presuming we aren’t all going to keel over from the impact of the current catastrophe?

      Many of the very same people who have warned about the dangers of nuclear energy (and have not been heard) are also the people who are warning us about the impact of our behaviors on climate change and, for the most part, they also are not being heard. In my mind, foresight is more helpful than hindsight after such huge nuclear events.

      Yes, we need to pay attention to the immediate catastrophe, but should we do that to the exclusion of all else? I believe that there is an intricate interdependence in nature and that the natural catastrophe in Japan is not an isolated incident disconnected from our collective impact on the environment. Certainly, there are natural weather changes too, but this does not erase the additional impacts of our daily environmentally related choices.

      I couldn’t agree more that “safe [sane sensible] and sustainable non nuclear solutions for our future energy needs” are incredibly important. Presumably and ideally, they will contribute to reducing climate change too. I support this idea fully. And the most immediate solution – to some degree – is simply to turn the lights off, get rid of the unnecessary gadgets, and take other steps to simplify.

      Jean, thanks so much for adding your thoughts. Clearly, you are underlining a very important and immediate consideration.

      • says

        Thanks for the warm welcome Sandra :-) What a topic to kick off on eh? LOL

        I agree with you so much about the intricate interdependence in nature… and the need to remain environmentally alert. But climate change does tend to take our focus [and energy] away from the greater issues at hand. The argument numbs social consciousness and dumbs down the response.

        How on earth can changing our light bulbs [another dangerous furfy in the making] getting rid of gadgets and otherwise reducing our consumption compete with the catastrophic potential that the current number of nuclear reactors worldwide [442 and 65 coming online] present.

        For nuclear… there is no antidote. We don’t fully understand how to harness it… [not safely anyway] and we certainly still have no way to dispose of it. Nuclear accidents have the potential to take out the planet far more quickly and comprehensively than climate change ever could.

        My simple argument here is… yes… by all means we should do what we can to live a clean green life… [we should all be doing that anyway] but as the world must progress [and if we don't want to go back to the dark ages] we must put focus where it makes the most sense… and can do the most good.

        Of course whilst this is my point of view [and clearly I'm passionate - grin] I’m sure there will be many others. Thanks so much Sandra for your thought provoking post and for allowing this discussion here :-)

        • says

          Jean,

          Excellent points and I agree with your take on the dangers of considering nuclear power issues. I also think it’s smart to consider priorities.

          Maybe I’m missing something though because when we reduce our electrical usage, doesn’t that reduce our need for nuclear power? Why do we need nuclear power in the first place? Why do we need more energy? Doesn’t over-consumption play a role in this? Many people live off the grid where I live. Of course, that’s not possible everywhere, but it seems we need to rethink our consumption of energy resources too.

          I understand, that turning off the lights does sound pretty paltry in the face of nuclear disaster. But in the end, does it have to be a question of either or? Can we attend to nuclear power issues and turn off the lights too?

          • says

            Absolutely… turning the lights out is good! :-)

            My Dad taught me to turn out the lights from the moment I could reach the switch! [grin] and I couldn’t agree more that we should be doing all we can.

            It’s just that some initiatives like changing light bulbs to energy efficient [mercury containing] bulbs as Governments are now legislating… is not only counter intuitive it’s downright dangerous.

            We need to change. Yes. But not at all cost.

            We need to significantly reduce our usage as well. But we also need to make sure that the changes we make [that governments enforce] are for the better not worse.

            For instance no-one seems to have considered the vast environmental impact of the innocent enough looking environmentally friendly lightbulb. These little monsters contain enough mercury to require EPA guidelines for cleanup should one be accidentally broken in the home.

            Their impact in landfills around the world of course is unquantifiable. But yes. They are cooler. And require less energy to run. But at what price?

            With the environment… we need less media hype about climate change and more careful considered initiatives. That’s all I’m suggesting here. A good long hard look at the reality of both climate change… and the environment in general.

            As for nuclear… I am 100% opposed to the use of nuclear energy [until] the day that it can be harnessed safely and disposed of efficiently.

            Until that one fine day we should be spending the vast sums of money now being tipped into climate change propaganda on R & D into clean green renewable energies.

            The technologies for solar and wind and wave and geothermal might still be clunky and expensive… but they won’t always be.

            The science will get better and better with more money invested… and better systems are just around the corner. If we put the same amount of money into making these technologies viable that we do into talk fests about climate change we would be well on the way to a better more sustainable earth.

            Many of us are already doing all we can to reduce our impact here on earth but we need to make every post a winner. It’s our earth. And we really should be having our say… rejecting the nonsense… and doing all we can to influence good positive outcomes.

            But that’s just what I think :-)

            PS So sorry for hogging so much space here Sandra :-) It’s just something I’m especially passionate about. Something I suspect we all [here] might have in common… a common interest in a better earth. Thanks for the discussion!

          • says

            Jean,

            Please don’t apologize for taking space here. I appreciate your input and I’m learning for you. I agree wholeheartedly that we need to not buy into media hype and need to investigate whether solutions are really solutions. The mercury containing light bulbs are a good example. I am not an advocate at all of the dangerous “energy-efficient” light bulbs.

            Obviously, it can be very confusing as to the right steps to be taken. I’m not an expert by any means nor fully steeped in all the information available.

            I really take your point about the dangers of nuclear power, which can potentially pose a more immediate threat than climate change as we see occurring in Japan. However, unless Gaia is completely wrong, climate change is already killing people. It’s not just a distant possibility.

            You clearly don’t believe that climate change is a threat and you certainly aren’t alone in that belief. I don’t understand why you think it’s only media hype. Or why there needs to be a conflict between exploring two directions simultaneously.

            I appreciate your input and am certainly taking it into consideration.

  14. says

    Hi Sandra,
    Three decades ago my husband and I made life changing decisions that we do not regret. The first was to not have children. The second was to leave the fast paced city, consumer driven “me, me, me” culture behind us and move to a place where we could grow most of our own food, and barter for some goods and services as well. The third was to to reduce our ecological footprint on the planet, to live a very simple life, and to become active in the environmental community. We are living our dream and “no flying for pleasure” became one of those decisions. We only fly when we are returning to be with family members who are seriously unwell and close to death.

    to the maxThe friends we had in the city continued living the typical lifestyle most upwardly mobile North Americans live. For us the breaking point in relationship came when we drove out to attended a yoga workshop back home. By the end the weekend we realized that every person at that workshop, including the instructors, was very well off living in a large home, eating in expensive vegetarian restaurants, wearing designer clothing and shoes, living the high life, and rewarding themselves for their “success’ by flying all over thw rold. As we left that night we understood that success meant something very different to them than what it meant to us. We cheerfully wished everyone well as we made the decision to distance ourselves from them and love them from afar.

    A person whose life is devoted to the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification is a hedonist and this planet is full of them.

    • says

      timetheif – You and your husband certainly had foresight and I applaud you for that. There have been warnings all along, since those early times, but most of us haven’t listened. Perhaps I’m overly simplistic, but in my eyes it’s a question of math. The planet has a finite amount of resources and we are over-consuming them. The solution seems to be to reduce over-consumption. Maybe I’ve misunderstood something, but it seems to me that the path of simplicity that you have chosen is the one to follow for our own health and happiness and the health of the planet.

      Thanks for sharing your story.

  15. Gaia says

    Hello Sandra, what an interesting and important article – thanks for reminding us all of our obligation to take care of this fragile environment we all share.

    It is indisputable that air travel contributes to global warming, something that is already impacting the lives of millions of the world’s poorest people. So, should we not fly? Some of my friends and colleagues have taken the decision to give up air travel completely – at times, this is inconvenient, but mostly, they say, it has brought them rewarding journeys by train or boat.

    Certainly, the majority of flights are not ‘necessary’ (most of the world’s population have no access to air travel financially or otherwise): business flights can often be substituted by video-conference calls, vacation travel by other forms of transport, and so on. And I would urge people to choose against flying wherever they can. Some simple ways of reducing your impact is to not take short-haul flights at all, and only fly long-haul when you are able to spend signifiant time at your destination (most of the CO2 released is at take-off and landing).

    I hesitate to call for an outright ban on flying. It is perhaps only through visiting people of different cultures in their own homelands, and interacting with the extraordinary variety of societies, landscapes and wildlife that we really appreciate what is precious about or world, what needs to be understood and protected and the real impact of our decisions. Sometimes, that means taking a plane.

    On my journey, I have taken a small number of flights (for each, I denote to a carbon fund) and I limit my flights because of the environmental impact, but also because to experience travel properly I need to see geography at a human scale – that means, I need to see how swamps and mangroves dry slowly to desert, how languages change kilometre by kilometre, how hills become mountains high enough to hold glaciers. Air travel is too fast.

    • says

      Hello Gaia,

      Thanks for sharing your global view and experience here. These are excellent suggestions that you offer. I agree with your hesitation to call on outright ban on flying for the reasons you mention.

      For the most part, people seem to believe that climate change is media hype. I don’t understand this at all. It must be frustrating for you to be confronting this challenge at every turn of the corner. I’m afraid time will tell and then it will be too late.

      Thanks for your valuable contributions to the conversation.

  16. says

    HI Sandra,
    I love this topic and the comments are just mind boggling na …
    So many points of views. But, in all reality the answer lies somewhere in the middle of the chaos. There are grave effects to air travel when it comes to the environment, but there are great benefits when it comes to being close to family in time of need and crisis too. For example, i have a few cousins and friends living all over the world, for whom I would hop on any plane just to be with them, if they need me. But, on the other hand…that mode of travel is taken ONLY when there is no other way to get there. Locally within India I prefer train travel. I don’t own a car for this very reason…lesser is always better for me and for my planet.
    By the way, whenever I have traveled by plane I often have my allergies and headaches act up in those closed air tight environments…that’s another incentive for me to avoid planes.
    But as Evita said…its a matter of choice. If we consciously choose to not harm the planet, we will not. We will find alternatives….but the key here is the choice to be conscious.
    Making me think girl! :)
    Lots of love,
    Z~

    • says

      Zeenat,

      You are such a beautiful arbitrator of peace. I love that about you. I agree we have to take into consideration our family and friends as well as the environment, and the key point is making “conscious choices.” As you point out, if we chose not to harm the environment, we will gradually find alternative ways.

      It’s so ironic that the use of toxic environmental chemicals is trigger an increase in allergies in children and adults. These kinds of outcomes loop back and make it difficult for people to travel. I have the same challenges in an airplane environment. It’s clear to me that when we harm the environment, we only end up harming ourselves.

      Thanks for your thoughts. Lovely as always.

  17. says

    Sandra.

    What an intriguing topic and discussion. I’m glad I found your site tonight with so many differing perspectives.

    In my mind and heart each of us needs to direct our own traffic and lives, mindfully.

    For years, I have lived close to my work so that I could bicycle, walk, or run. Similarly, I could use those modes for grocery shopping, mailing packages, buying toothpaste, getting my haircut, you get the idea, eating out — committed to use these types of transportation. My fuel. While others made choices to live an hour out of the city and drive back and forth each day that didn’t feel right to me. I also chose to have no children.

    That said, I don’t hesitate to fly internationally or fly to my home in Alaska. Jet travel is a different choice.

    May each of us be mindful in the way that we relate to this beautiful Earth. Thank you so much for sprouting this topic for discussion.
    Susie

  18. says

    Susie,

    Thanks so much for dropping by and taking a moment to comment. I too am a major advocate of mindfulness. Ultimately, we can only address these issues by addressing the core problem, which lies within our own heart and mind.

    I appreciate your perspective and am so happy you joined the discussion.

  19. says

    Sandra, I am glad I came back to read your generous response here and all the perspectives that you offer. Thank you! I am still skeptical. Extreme weather events and climate changes are also part of Mother Nature. Thousands of years ago, we had volcanoes that would erupt and spring up islands in the middle of oceans. I would consider that pretty dramatic and catastrophic if we lived around it. The media sensation certainly does not help. I honestly think it is a bit egotistical of us mere human beings to think that we can impact the all powerful all mighty Mother Nature who acts on her own whim, who can decide to move an ocean half way to the other side of the world if she so desired. She never made a promise to make the weather a certain way or guarantee safety from an earthquake. Earthquakes happen because countries are located on fault lines. Earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes, tsunamis have nothing to do with planes flying in the air.
    If there is one real worry in this world, it is terrorism and humans killing other humans – THAT should be our true primary worry, and if giving up flying fixed that problem and brought world peace, I’d give it up in a heartbeat …. but Mother Nature, she is unpredictable and all-powerful.
    Great discussion, and I love that I can express my thoughts and know and feel safe in my community because we can agree to disagree and we are all great and well-meaning human beings. Of that, I have no doubt. Thanks Sandra for bringing all of this out for us.

    • says

      Farnoosh,

      Thank you for coming back bye and leaving this sweet response. You are always welcome here even if you have a differing view point. In fact, I always learn so much from the comments left here. We are all learning, changing, and evolving. That can only happen when we keep our hearts open and engage in discussion and debate with a positive motivation.

      Nature is indeed powerful. It’s true that volcanic eruptions didn’t just start happening in the last 50 years! There’s so much to understand about all this and I have much more to learn before I can become a worthy “opponent” in debate, but not in life.

      All the killing and terror is indeed an immediate concern, which I also wrote about in my next post on Tibet. I wholeheartedly agree on that score!

      Thanks for your openness and your passion.

      • says

        Sandra, I have to catch up on your latest posts if I can find the heart to read about the terrible human tragedies in the world around us. I always come back here, no matter what! You are a light, an inspiration, a source of so much information and knowledge and perspective and I can be honest and sincere here…. We can be truly ourselves. Not an easy space to create so thank you again! :)

  20. says

    Hi Sandra,
    Very brave post considering that most of us love to fly. I applaud your position. I share a little different vision of the world in the sense that I believe that what needs to be healed is always inside myself. That goes for everything that I see in the world or outside of me. That being said, I totally understand your position and it got me pondering and for that I’m truly thankful. Beautiful post! Loving blessing and keep up the good work, I’m a fan. :)

  21. says

    Hello Andrea,

    I always enjoy seeing your sunny smile! I don’t know if we are in complete alignment, but I fully agree that healing must begin within and be reflected outwardly. Hence, the name of my blog, Always Well Within. The root causes are always within us. If we don’t heal the root causes within, there are no external solutions that will ever truly work. At the same time, we function in the relative world and make choices in every moment, which can be beneficial or harmful. So I don’t see any separation between healing within and, at the same time, taking positive steps to heal the planet. So I’m not sure if we are in sync or if your view is actually different than this. :) But we are probably far closer than further apart! Thanks for contributing this perspective. Many hugs for you.

  22. says

    Hi Sandra,

    This is a wonderful question and post. As you’ve pointed out, flying is a huge cost to the environment, so I find it narrowminded when technomads claim their way is the best way grow personally. They aren’t considering their environmental impact, however minimalist they may be with their belongings, and they certainly aren’t considering the important service settlements contribute – established lodging, restaurants – places for nomads to sleep and eat. The very culture nomads seek to explore are there because those people chose to stay and cultivate their land and society.

    I think we can find a balance here, between never flying and asking everyone to pursue a nomadic existence. I do like to fly to far-off places every now and then, but it’s a big environmental cost so I would try to avoid flying too frequently if I can. There are other ways to travel too, such as by bike or foot. These would be more environmentally conscious and would allow you to appreciate the length of the journey much more.

    In the end I think the best solution is to find a balance between never flying and flying all the time, while continuing to improve upon current technology to make them more sustainable and earth-friendly.

    • says

      Hi Lynn,

      These are good points too. Some digital nomads are concerned about sustainability, but many are not. At the same time, travel expands our horizons and it can be so beneficial especially for young adults. I find it difficult to draw any hard and fast conclusions. I do take your key point that being a digital nomad isn’t the only way to personally grow. There’s no question about that.

      I agree that making conscious choices and finding the right balance is of paramount importance. I feel we need to keep imbibing all the crucial information about the environment and make our conclusions with these as the backdrop.

      It’s good to hear from you on this topic. Thanks so much.

      • says

        I agree, I am always in support of making well-informed decisions, taking in all information from several perspectives and then deciding what makes the most sense to you. It can be tough though, with the pressure to have a quick opinion and also a disinterest in intellectualism. I’m in no way fluent at taking in multiple perspectives, though I think I take them in better than most people. I’m also terrible at communicating my thoughts in real-time. I’m much better in writing… :P

        I think the ability to take in multiple perspectives will become more important as the Internet diversifies with the types of people that use it and publish content on it.

        Anyway, that’s all. Hope you have a great weekend!

  23. Katie Bartell says

    Yes, air transportation is horrible for our environment, but why do we have to give up the freedom of seeing new cultures and ways of living? Why don’t we just revamp all our planes to be sustainable? Humanity has created some truly remarkable technology, so who says it’s too difficult to make planes that run off of renewable energy? The only thing that is stopping this from happening is money.

    • says

      Katie,

      It’s always a good idea to explore new sustainable technologies. I would also hesitate to see people having to give up the freedom of exploring and seeing new cultures, especially young people. At the same time, we seem to be rapidly using more resources than are available on the planet. I’m not sure how realistic it is to imagine there’s an endless supply of resources even for more sustainable technologies. I just really don’t know at this point. International travel is privilege held by just a small portion of the world’s population. If it impacts the rest of the planet adversely, then it seems a worthwhile topic for deep consideration.

      Thanks so much for your thoughts on this.

  24. says

    Hi Sandra,
    I plan to continue to fly. It would be easy to become defensive or pose some elegant rationalizations to justify my decision. I won’t. However you have raised my level of awareness on the topic and awareness always precedes change. So who knows …..
    Riley

  25. says

    Just came across your blog and really appreciate all you have to offer!

    I wonder about this one though… In theory, yes, I agree that airplanes have a hugely detrimental impact on our environment. But it seems to me like air travel is a from of public transportation, and for the most part these planes will be flying anyway whether we are on them or not. (Yes, I realize that if enough people stop flying there will be less flights.) But some people really do need to fly to see loved ones in other parts of the world.

    It seems to me that our energy might be better spent in advocating for effective public transportation systems right in our own communities, so that we have a real chance at cutting down on private car usage. I’m with Tammy of Rowdy Kittens when she evokes a moral imperative to reduce our automobile use — or even eliminate it entirely — to the greatest degree that we can.

    • says

      Hi Maia,

      Thanks so much for your thoughts on this sensitive topic. It’s true that it means a lot to be able to fly to see loved ones in other parts of the world. At the same time, this is a privilege that’s only affordable to a very small percentage of the population. So we’ve come to take this as our right when in some senses it’s really a luxury.

      I wrote this article to help people become more aware of the impact of flying and thus to be able to make more conscious decisions about it. I also agree with you that reducing our private car usage is another very important way to reduce our impact. I don’t think there’s one way to attack our environmental problems so it’s good to have these different ideas. Probably different ways are going to work best for different people.

      Thanks for your thoughts.

  26. says

    This is an old post, sorry to crash the party even though it’s over :)

    I stopped flying 4 years ago, for just the reasons cited here.

    I have two young children that will in a few years learn all about climate change, it’s causes and effects. They will ask me what I did about it, and I want to be able to give them a good answer.

    We live in Europe, so train travel is much easier, though still quite expensive. We’ve been to Scandinavia, to the South of France, Spain, and twice to Morocco, all without flying. They’ve been some of the best, stress free vacations that I’ve ever had, and my kids loved it too.

    Living, breathing, food, shelter – these are human rights. Flying is not a human right.

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