I have committed to not flying at all (except in the case of a family emergency) until zero carbon flights are available. This likely will not be within my lifetime.
This commitment will stop me from visiting places I have always wanted to visit, seeing family and friends abroad, and showing my children the world. It will also stifle my professional and future academic aspirations.
What I love about committing to ground myself is that I finally feel like my actions are reflecting the reality of the climate crisis. Every time I think about what I am missing out on by not flying (and begin to regret my decision) I remind myself that I don’t actually regret committing not to fly. What I really regret is that we didn’t fix the problem sooner, and now not only will my children not be able to fly, travel the world, and present at exotically located conferences in their adult lives, but they might also not be able to feed or shelter themselves in a warmed world. Their regrets and their limitations make mine pale in comparison.
Committing to not flying has significantly lessened the cognitive dissonance that has plagued me for years while I worked endlessly to fight the climate crisis at work and flew, drove, and consumed like nothing was wrong in my free time. Now my actions reflect my respect for future generations and signifies my full participation in the shift to the new green economy.
I have worked at Simon Fraser University since 2007, developing the University’s sustainability program. I started out as a student organizer and worked with others across the University to develop a Sustainability Office, sustainability policies, and several award winning programs.