Updated: Apr 13
Are we hypocrites for flying?
The recent IPCC report was pretty dire. We need to do more to cut our greenhouse gas emissions.
Lee and I do a fair amount to reduce our emissions when and wherever we can. We also actively promote low impact lifestyles and work within conservation jobs.
But one thing that creates a lot of greenhouse emissions that we do is fly. Does that make up hypocrites? No.
I am not an advocate for explaining ourselves or you ever feeling like you have to explain your life either. Sustainable lifestyles are truly only those that are SUSTAINABLE for you. It's important to have a trust systems, no judgment, no need to explain. I've found it is much more sustainable if the only person that you compete against is yourself, and trying to improve yourself. This is not an excuse to perform badly, it's motivation to improve ourselves as priority.
But I do think it's worth discussing our flying and what we're doing about it.
Our work overseas is a necessity. The tropics is the most biodiverse region on the planet and needs more attention and conservation efforts than other regions. Working in conservation, we are needed in these regions. We spend long stints in the tropics, working in the field. Trips are normally months to years. These trips ideally won't be necessary long in the future. With better training and education in the biodiverse but often very poor regions of the world developing more and more, we can hope that one day these regions will be able to self manage. For now, our training and passing our skills on- can help improve the sustainability of some of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. Although creating a carbon footprint, the overall ecological benefit is much bigger. And the very nature of our work is offsetting our footprint. We are working to reforest, rewild, conserve, implement better waste management etc.
If for example we decided to never fly again, it would reduce our ability to conserving biodiversity, and thats just not something I am willing to switch. Unnecssary flying is absolutely completely something we're passionate to tackle ourselves. But this doesn't fall into that category.
You know when you're on a diet (diets suck by the way) and you eat a packet of crips and so figure you might as well cheat for the rest of the day? That doesn't work here. Doing a "bad" act is not an excuse to perform badly the rest of the time. And we don't. I actually feel an insane amount of guilt flying but we do it because we have to. We also reduce our carbon footprint in lots of other ways. Although the big dollar carbon spends are in flying, the penny savings add up.
In the coming year, we are considering settling down for a while in The UK. And the UK has so much to offer in terms of exploring right here, we're excited to explore here. Time restraints, money restraints and also consciousness of flying means we're certainly going to be flying less over the next year too. "Frivolous" flying is a priority to reduce and something we are going to tackle. However, in the future we are certain to fly again, with research opportunities in the pipeline in Indonesia. This on the ground research and conservation work is absolutely priority.
I am also becoming increasingly conscious not to glamourise flying. Working out how we do this exactly, might take time. I am keen to see certain improvements in flying, including the use of plastic. I don't want to completely give up improving the system because we're doing it less.
I hope this has explained things a little to you. Because we are conscious of our air travel, but we're also smart about why we're doing it.
What can you do to cut your transport emissions?
- Conduct work meetings over Skype instead of traveling to location
- Fly only when necessary
- Explore your home country
- Offset your flights
- Reduce your plastic use when flying
- Use public transport as much as possible
- Make a positive impact if you do fly. Be a true explorer and invest in "local".