Unless youre laying waste to large areas of forest or
hummer 24/7, flying long-haul is likely to be one of the
environmentally damaging acts that you will do in a year.
yet we still do it. There are meetings that just wont have
the same impact if were not there in
person, family and
friends to see, and places in the
world that I feel enriched for having visited. After all, even
environmental activists need to get around.
Its the last of these that made me think of this. An
environmental activist flew to an environmental summit to
speak and was promptly excoriated on Twitter for having
done so. The trouble is, the same people would have taken
her to task for not having attended. It did my head in:
seemed to be no way to win here.
Enter the Green Flight ticket (name TBC). This would be a
travel booking organisation that would audit travel and
partner with environmental charities to repair the damage
done. They would book your flight, audit the environmental
damage done by undertaking it and the cost of putting right
that damage. No corporate half-measures here: a serious
at the full impact of your flight upon the world. Finally
would charge you for the flight and three times the cost of
the damage. Once for you, once for a random stranger, and
once to raise funds for environmental research/awareness
and to cover the audit and their costs, plus a declared fixed
amount of profit.
Finally they would supply you with a huge ticket with a
recognisable logo that you can prominently carry at the
airport, showing all the media-hungry jackals exactly what
you have done. This would be ticket with a logo big enough
show up in any shots of you that are papped at the airport.
condition of ticket purchase would be to make your flights
matter of public record after the fact, lessening the effect
people mocking up big green tickets to signal non-existent
But, I hear you say, isnt this just a carbon offset scheme:
they already exist. Yes, in the same sort of way as a
is a waffle. :) Its a way of providing a thorough published
audit of flying, of mitigating long-haul flight and getting
politicians and media celebrities to put their money where
their mouths are.
Would airlines do this? Well, theyd try to jump on the
bandwagon when it had enough momentum but theyd
be first. Airlines thrive on people burying their heads in the
sand when it comes to the consequences of international
travel and there is no way they would want to publicise
Will airlines try to rubbish this organisation, attempt to
trivialise the research and make ad hominem attacks
its founders? Almost certainly. Would it be worth it? Well
*that* is the question.