My fly-less journey began in 2017. In that year I was finishing writing “The Mexico Diaries: A Sustainable Adventure”, a memoir about launching a Sustainability Education Center here in rural Mexico Through the therapeutic exercise of writing the book, which included meditations on how best to live in a world besieged by climate change, I decided that the following year, 2018, I would stay put and swear off flying as part of a larger effort to get to my NET personal carbon emissions to zero.
The principle intention of the “experiment” was to prove or disprove my pet theory that taking carbon reduction to an extreme level would render deeper connections with nature, simplicity, and equanimity, and that embracing reduction would yield many gifts, as opposed to the prevailing cultural bias that would entail significant discomfort and sacrifice. On one level the experiment was a failure in that I didn’t achieve anywhere near the reduction targets I had hoped for, and because I only marginally managed to simplify my life. While too extensive to go into here, my moratorium on flying meant long, lonely periods of time away from my wife (a confirmed travel nut), our five children + three grandchildren, and many of our closest friends who we normally visit annually in the U.S.
On a different level, I suppose the experiment could be considered a success in that I gained insight into my previously under-appreciated need for social and familial connectedness. I also learned the importance of changing lifestyle habits incrementally, rather than squeezing the balloon in “cold turkey” fashion. Finally I learned that speaking out to raise awareness of the issues surrounding the lowering of one’s carbon footprint is an important part of my reduction journey.
Initiated a municipal energy commission in Southern Maine. Served on a Maine/New Hampshire bi-state energy commission.
Launched Rancho Sol y Mar, a private sustainability education center in Jalisco Mexico, including the teaching of natural building, solar, and permaculture principles. Initiated an energy committee for a large condominium complex in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.