What is flight shaming - and does it work?

Flight shaming is the idea that we should feel guilty about air travel and avoid it as far as possible since it makes a significant contribution to CO2 emissions, the leading cause of climate change. Born in Sweden early in 2019, the "flygskam" movement has seen many thousands pledge to stop travelling by aircraft more than is absolutely necessary. Some prominent Swedish influencers who travel frequently by air have been targeted on social media.

Flight shaming is largely a European phenomenon, and there are reasons why it has become vogue among eco-crusaders there. Europe is relatively compact. It has great roads for the most part and superb high-speed train networks and so Europeans have alternatives to air travel. As Australians on the other hand, we don't have the same alternatives. Sydney to Perth is a four-hour flight. London to Moscow is 30 minutes less. To fly from Melbourne to the Sunshine Coast takes the same time as London to Nice. We really don't have alternatives if we want to travel long distance.

That doesn't mean we should ignore the impact our air travels have on the health of our planet. Located in a remote part of the globe, Australians contribute more per capita to aircraft CO2 emissions than just about any other nationality, and we're not going to stop travelling. The answer is not abstinence but travelling smarter. If you want to reduce the impact of your air travels, travel slower when you're overseas, stay longer and look for alternatives to air travel.

See also: The 10 countries making it easy for Australians to visit

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