Appetite is outpacing

The trouble is that individual abstinence won’t make any difference.

…for a small, yet growing, number of travelers, the problem with air travel goes way further. They are giving up flying because of its impact on the climate.

“I choose to stay grounded because it aligns with what is true,” said Dan Castrigano, 36, a former teacher who in 2020 signed a pledge not to travel by air. “The climate is breaking down.”

The last eight years on earth have been the hottest on record. Sea level rise is accelerating, and extreme weather events are happening more often than ever.

And a tiny fraction of the population deciding not to fly won’t make a dent in that. What might make a dent (if it’s not too late, which it probably is) would be to shut down flying altogether. That’s not going to happen. We can’t do what needs to be done, so everyone is screwed.

Air travel accounts for about 4 percent of human-induced global warming, and the United Nations warns that airplane emissions are set to triple by 2050. Planes are becoming more efficient, but our appetite for air travel is outpacing the industry’s environmental gains.

And appetite overrules information about airplane emissions and global warming. Appetite wins every time, until everyone explodes.

“A lot of people think that what you do as an individual doesn’t matter much. But the thing is, what we do as individuals affects everyone around us, and changes norms,” said Maja Rosén, 41, the president of We Stay on the Ground, who gave up flying in 2008. Ms. Rosén, who lives in Sweden, now travels primarily by train.

True, it does, but not enough.

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