We are all to blame

Airline flying is killing the environment. It is an issue largely ignored by the mainstream media, though cracks are beginning to appear. George Monbiot recently discussed the issue and slammed the British government for expanding and developing new airports when, “as far as climate change is concerned, this is an utter, unparalleled disaster…Aviation represents the world’s fastest growing source of carbon dioxide emissions.”

Others are starting to take notice:

They are the gurus of globetrotting, the visionaries who built publishing empires from their adventures and wrote guidebooks encouraging millions to venture further afield than ever before.

Now the founders of the Rough Guides and the Lonely Planet books, troubled that they have helped spread a casual attitude to air travel that could trigger devastating climate change, are uniting to urge tourists to fly less.

Mark Ellingham, the creator of Rough Guides, and Tony Wheeler, who founded Lonely Planet in Australia after taking the hippie trail across Asia, want fellow travellers to “fly less and stay longer” and donate money to carbon offsetting schemes.

Flying around the world has become an expected luxury. We believe that the opportunity to explore and discover the world is a right that cannot be denied by anybody. But what if our footprint is causing untold damage? Do we care? We should. All of us are as guilty as the next. It is difficult for the mainstream media to lecture us, however, when they run pages of advertisements promoting airlines and cheap holidays in Bali.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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