In 2009, I went flight free – and I haven’t been on a airplane since- Shekhawati Rides


It started with a go to to the cinema to see the Age of Foolish, a film starring Pete Postlethwaite as an individual making an attempt once more from the long run asking:Why didn’t we save ourselves as soon as we had the prospect?’

The film featured oil billionaires getting richer, whereas poor people suffered the outcomes of rising emissions – resembling not being able to develop crops to eat. There was a scene the place an individual who made a dwelling from taking vacationers trekking by means of a glacier confirmed how rather a lot the glacier was retreating yearly, to the aim the place it would rapidly disappear.



Seeing all this wilful destruction and the inequality of all of it truly shocked me. After the film, there was a Q&A with certainly one of many directors who talked about that if we wanted to stop all of it from getting worse, we wished to stop burning fossil fuels – and possibly essentially the most extremely efficient issue we could do was to stop flying. 

On the time, I had two flights booked: one to China to see the photograph voltaic eclipse, and one to Tanzania for a charity bike journey. As rapidly as I obtained dwelling I cancelled them every.

I had on no account been anyone who takes an excessive amount of flights, nevertheless I’d flown a bit for holidays, and fairly a bit to go to my sister in Jersey. It was uncommon that I’d on no account even thought-about the have an effect on of my flights sooner than, because of in every completely different facet of my life I tried laborious to reduce my carbon footprint. 

As an illustration, I’m vegan and don’t private a car. I religiously recycle, and even prepare a ‘Save the Earth’ membership for my mates after I used to be at main college. Nonetheless, in some way, I’d missed the memo about flying.

That film truly opened my eyes. I was shocked to search out that flying to New York for my birthday had created additional emissions than a 12 months’s worth of driving. No matter all that religious recycling, going to Prague with my boyfriend had added additional to our carbon footprints than I’d save from going plastic-free for an entire 12 months. It was time to stop.

I fearful that this might indicate I could not journey, nevertheless that hasn’t been the case the least bit. By eradicating flights, I’ve discovered so many alternative strategies of getting spherical and seeing new points. I now journey by bicycle, follow, boat and coach, all of which have a fraction of the emissions of a flight. 

I now journey by bicycle, follow, boat and coach, all of which have a fraction of the emissions of a flight (Picture: Anna Hughes)

One among many largest surprises has been from exploring proper right here inside the UK. I’d no thought we had so many unbelievable treasures correct beneath our noses. 

I’ve discovered the good and comfy, turquoise-clear seas in Cornwall, and have been mountaineering on the Pembrokeshire coast. I’ve hiked up mountains inside the Lake District and cycled by means of breath-taking landscapes in Scotland. There’s a lot of choice, from our buzzing cities to our spectacular castles. I could spend an entire lifetime travelling throughout the UK and by no means get bored.

As soon as I fancy a bit little bit of Mediterranean warmth, I hop on a follow and I will probably be in Good or Barcelona in a matter of hours. The attractive seashores on the north coast of Spain are solely an in a single day ferry away. And naturally, I can nonetheless go to my sister in Jersey – I merely take the boat now. 

It’s been such a help to hunt out out that not flying doesn’t indicate not travelling, and the journey is rather a lot additional thrilling as soon as you’re taking it gradual. I as quickly as took a follow to Copenhagen and I cherished the way in which you see rather a lot out of the window, and in addition you learn the way all the cultures and landscapes be part of. 

It was like a language lesson, overhearing completely different passengers having conversations as we handed by means of the numerous worldwide places, first in French, then in Flemish, then German and finally Danish. I felt truly linked to the people I met and the places I went by means of – you truly don’t get that on a plane. 

To start with, it didn’t truly bother me that my mates saved on flying even though I had stopped. Certain, I missed out on a hen night or two nevertheless I was glad dwelling in my very personal little low-carbon bubble. 

I made a pledge to go flight free – and have upheld it since 2009 (Picture: Anna Hughes)

Nonetheless, in 2018, there was a report written by the Intergovernmental Panel on Native climate Change, that talked about we urgently wish to reduce our emissions to avoid the catastrophic native climate change that had been described in that film, the Age of Foolish. Swiftly it grew to grow to be truly scary, and the issue grew to grow to be slightly rather a lot bigger than merely my non-public willpower to not fly. 

So I decided that I’d try and encourage completely different people to ditch the flights, too, and I started the advertising and marketing marketing campaign group Flight Free UK. We elevate consciousness of the native climate have an effect on of aviation and encourage people to journey by completely different means by working a pledge that asks people to not fly for a 12 months.

Merely taking one 12 months off is ample to interrupt a habits, and uncover all these completely different strategies of travelling that I’ve cherished discovering rather a lot. And, it seems to be working as, over the earlier three years, over 10,000 people have taken our pledge.

Certain, it might be dearer and time consuming than flying –  nevertheless I really feel it’s worth it, not solely as a result of emissions monetary financial savings, nevertheless because of the experience is second to none.

Many individuals e ebook a flight with out pondering twice, like I as quickly as did. Nonetheless I truly want to drawback additional people to hitch the pledge. Stopping flying won’t be a sacrifice, it’s a gift to your self and to the kids of the long run. Give it a try – what’s stopping you?

Anna Hughes is director of Flight Free UK. You may discover out additional regarding the advertising and marketing marketing campaign and take the pledge at flightfree.co.uk 

Do you may have a story you’d desire to share? Get involved by emailing [email protected] 

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Metro.co.uk’s #Just1Change advertising and marketing marketing campaign

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