Log in

No account? Create an account
15 January 2009 @ 02:35 pm
Third Runway: Is your journey really necessary?  
Few lj members are old enough to remember this wartime poster -

- but maybe it's due a revival. These days trips abroad are taken for granted but I'm often surprised, talking to people of my own age group (retired/granny), how many of them go to Spain once or twice a year but have never visited half the beauty spots in our own country - the Lake District, the Peak District and Dales, the Welsh Borders, the Cotswolds, Constable country - and that's excluding Scotland and Wales.

At the other end of the scale my brother, who is a medical consultant, goes on regular trips to Australia or America - though he hates flying - to meet with colleagues 'face to face' - this in an age where communication via phone, fax or email has never been easier.

Am I alone in thinking this is a little crazy?

The real Joon: opinioninnerbrat on January 15th, 2009 03:45 pm (UTC)
I generally turn out ot be a huge hypocrite. I do think it's important to reduce carbon emissions, and I usually practice skillful power usage inmy own home. However, I also accumulate a hell of a lot of love miles: my girlfriend lives in Boston and the twice a year we manage isn't all that much fun.

I have, of course, visited most of those beauty spots you've mentioned, but I've also travelled a lot for work; conference calls are all very well, but my scientific work required actual physical access to specimens being stored in other countries. We can't just import everything to the UK and look at it here.
ijournalerijournaler on January 16th, 2009 09:24 am (UTC)
I think these are both reasonable reasons for air travel so I wouldn't say you were a hypocrite.
Allanalbowsmit on January 15th, 2009 03:54 pm (UTC)
I walk to work and to town.
I have a switched-plug on all my devices.
I use Halogen capsules instead of Tungsten bulbs.
I take public transport into the city when I need to (and pay through the nose for it)
I use USB chargers most of the time, since I spend a lot of time on the computer, to save power.
Said computer uses a low-strength PSU, and low-consumption parts, with an Energy Star compliant monitor.

Yet this May, I'm going on a dirt cheap flight to Rhode Island. I've flown three times in my life, two the US and one to Cyprus, so I think I'm still within my share.
ijournalerijournaler on January 16th, 2009 09:25 am (UTC)
I think you're entitled to your Rhode Island trip, especially as you save energy in all those other ways!
DanGdan_g on January 15th, 2009 03:57 pm (UTC)
TBH... A poster like that is unlikly to work as the avst majority of people would simply think that their holiday WAS neccesary, and that its is all the other people that need to travel that are ruining everything. As for myself I can count the number of round-trip flights I have ever taken on 1 hand, and if travelling to Europe personally prefer to ferry/eurostar it. This is just a preference and down to destination.

But as to your cited example about telecomms being easier.

My wife is Chinese and all her family are in China. This means that our childs grand-parents are in China.

You tell me. IS our journey really neccesary or maybe we should just teleconference...
ijournalerijournaler on January 16th, 2009 09:34 am (UTC)
I don't think that that particular poster would work for the reason you suggest! Also I'm not suggesting we ban air travel but I feel people born in the last forty years take cheap flights for granted and don't seek alternatives - especially when their grandparents are flying off to Spain at regular intervals.

Finally I think with your wife's parent in China you have a cast iron reason for wanting to fly!
The Stainless Steel Rat: Thinker (Solarised)stainsteelrat on January 15th, 2009 04:14 pm (UTC)
"Business" communication is often down to the most effective method. It might be that despite the travel hassle your brother makes the best use of his time by carrying out these meetings face-to-face, and there is no substitute - something you don't mention.

I suspect people won't give up their air travel until (a) it becomes too expensive or (b) the potential fall out from global warming comes knocking at their door in some form or other.
DanGdan_g on January 15th, 2009 04:29 pm (UTC)
What like unseasonal weather? Sudden and unexpected flooding?

Hasn't really 'knocked' hard enough yet.
The Stainless Steel Rat: Thinker (Solarised)stainsteelrat on January 15th, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC)
It will certainly need to knock harder for most people, and need to be on an individual level - in my experience that's when people's minds are most likely to be changed.
Logan: sandbagsloganberrybunny on January 15th, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, I agree. Unfortunately most of the arguments in favour of continuing leisure flying, at least, are arguments from the heart (eg "my children are in Canada") which are virtually impossible to beat with arguments from the brain (eg "we won't have a habitable planet if we go on like this"). Incidentally, I have family in Canada and China, so this isn't some remote discussion for me.

This thread reminded me of a series of Ladybird books my parents had as children in the 1960s or so, each detailing a flight to some exotic part of the world. In those days, going to see family in Australia was, often literally, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. International phone calls were staggeringly expensive, too, so you didn't expect to communicate regularly except by post.

That's completely changed nowadays, and lots of people now consider jetting back and forth across the Atlantic to be all in a day's work, sometimes literally. And as mentioned in a comment above, people will generally find a way to say "yes" to "Is your journey really necessary?" I think most people know, deep down, that we can't go on like this for ever... but nor do most of us try very hard to change more than tinkering around the edges.

Short of a flu pandemic, which would force severe restrictions on flying whether people liked it or not, I really don't know how we're going to get out of this one. I tend to side with those who feel that if we wait until most ordinary people are being personally and deeply affected by the deterioration of the environment, then we'll be too late. I can't say I'm optimistic.

ijournalerijournaler on January 16th, 2009 09:41 am (UTC)
Thanks for this thoughtful response. As I said in a comment above I feel most people under forty take cheap air travel for granted and imagine it will go on forever (bring back those Ladybird books!)

I don't know how we are going to get out of it either but I don't believe that a third runway at Heathrow is the answer - "We can have hundreds of extra flights a day and still be green " - really?
Aarona_pawson on January 15th, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC)
Yes, but the cost of going on holiday in this country is often far more than going to say Spain. You can get a week in somewhere like Spain for less than £300. Try staying in the Lake District for that, you wouldn't even find somewhere to stay, let alone travel there and back.
DanGdan_g on January 15th, 2009 08:01 pm (UTC)
tsk. Based on that logic we should also be arguing in favour of subsidised public transport tto increase service convineience and reduce fares to help wean us out of using our cars.

What are you? Some sort of pinko liberal? :p

Aarona_pawson on January 15th, 2009 08:15 pm (UTC)
Damn outed. I shall return to the motherland.
ijournalerijournaler on January 16th, 2009 08:01 pm (UTC)
:)! - nice icon.
Benbenicek on January 15th, 2009 09:17 pm (UTC)
It does seem a little strange but it makes perfect sense. Getting ANYWHERE in Britain is so hard and expensive. Driving to Cornwall from London can involve so many hours in traffic jams that it is impossible to do it in one day when travelling with small children. Taking long-distance trains has become an impossible luxury. Hundreds of pounds to travel to Manchester, for example. A flight to Prague or Barcelona is quicker and cheaper.
ijournalerijournaler on January 16th, 2009 09:50 am (UTC)
Strange but makes perfect sense - that holds for so many aspects of modern life. I suppose from the point of the individual person or family flying to Spain or Eastern Europe is easier and cheaper than holidaying at home and we'll have to wait till the skies get so crowded and the fares so high that First Great Western to Cornwall seems like a good idea.
(Deleted comment)
ijournalerijournaler on January 16th, 2009 05:57 pm (UTC)
That doesn't sound like many personal air miles and I'm sure you can even it out by supporting the protesters at Sipson village .