A couple of weeks ago I wrote about social norms, and how observing environmental behaviours makes them more normal. Conversely, “where there is no social or cultural norm around a particular low-carbon behaviour, it sends a powerful signal: this type of behaviour is not typical or widespread.”
Flying is one such behaviour. In recent polling for 10:10, they asked if people knew anyone who actively chooses not to fly for environmental reasons. 85% of people said no, they don’t know any such person. We clearly need more examples of people making that decision, making it more normal and encouraging others to do likewise.
We don’t fly as a family. That’s a decision we’ve made for environmental reasons. My wife and I haven’t flown on holiday for over ten years. We’ve both taken one flight each for work in that time, and we will take the kids on a plane at some point for an adventure. But by and large, we don’t fly.
We’ve been to France on the train and on the ferry. We’ve taken the boat to Ireland. We regularly holiday in Scotland or Wales. Yesterday, if all has gone to plan, we caught the train from Luton down to Portsmouth, and then got the hovercraft across to the Isle of Wight.
I was lucky enough to have a very international childhood. There are many places I’d love to visit, and perhaps one day I will, when there are more options for sustainable travel. If my own kids want to get out and see the world when they’re old enough, that’s great. In the meantime, I don’t think we’re missing out by holidaying more locally. I’ve never been to the Isle of Wight. Hovercrafts are obviously the most badass form of public transport, and this is the only commercial hovercraft line in the world.
Do you holiday locally? Have you decided not to fly? How easy do you find it to talk about? And what can we do to make it more normal?