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I've signed up - how about you?

(56 Posts)
Hetty58 Fri 06-Dec-19 00:56:08

I'm not flying in the coming year anyway, but this is all about changing views, raising awareness and slowing the destruction of our planet!

ginny Fri 06-Dec-19 12:49:10

Whilst I can see this is good in principle I can't help wondering what would happen to the millions of people whose jobs depend on the tourist industry.

Fiachna50 Fri 06-Dec-19 12:58:53

I don't fly anyway, haven't for years as I hate it.

Smileless2012 Fri 06-Dec-19 13:04:11

Our DS lives in Aus. so if we want to see him we don't have a choice.

Urmstongran Fri 06-Dec-19 13:07:52

We have had an apartment in Spain for 15y - if I signed up we’d have to sell it.

jura2 Fri 06-Dec-19 13:09:03

We made a decision about 15 years ago that we would not stop flying altogether- but would never fly short distance when train is available (like Switzerland to UK, or Italy, Austria, Slovenia, etc) and would only fly into further European destinations never for less than 1 week- and long distance only for 3 weeks min.

Not flown now for 2 years because of Emma the dog, whom we adopted aged 13 and cannot be left in kennels- so we drive currently- and try and give lifts to friends or youngsters who otherwise wouldn't be able to go.

SueDonim Fri 06-Dec-19 13:16:58

It’s easy to virtue signal about something you’re not doing anyway. confused Meanwhile, I’m trying to find a hot air balloon company that will take me to America to visit my grandchildren.

Tweedle24 Fri 06-Dec-19 13:31:09

I heard in a tv programme that over 70% of flights are made for business so, I am not sure that the occasional holiday abroad is going to make that much difference.

sunseeker Fri 06-Dec-19 13:41:48

I gather Emma Thompson has been delivering another speech in London but this time she is saying they are not targeting those who only fly occasionally but those who fly regularly and often - I wonder if she includes herself in that group?

NfkDumpling Fri 06-Dec-19 13:45:37

We still fly long distance as we like wildlife holidays. And the tourist industry is what is saving the orang utans, gorillas, tigers, etc. Without tourists providing income there would be no incentive to save these animals - and big business would have no reason not to burn down the forests.

We don’t do any short haul flights where trains are an alternative.

lemongrove Fri 06-Dec-19 13:48:12

What SueDonim says 😁
So easy to be a goody goody about this, but many people have to travel, so no, I won’t be signing up to it and will fly when I need to.

MissAdventure Fri 06-Dec-19 13:54:48

I don't need to sign up.

Nowhere to go, nobody to go with, and can't afford it anyway.

jura2 Fri 06-Dec-19 14:00:59

lemon, 1000s of flights are taken by those who certainly 'don't need to' - what is wrong with thinking about it, assessing your 'needs' and making changes accordingly.

The idea of flying to the other side of UK, Europe and even more, the world - for a few days, is just nonsense. I know many who come to our region from all over the USA and Japan for just 3 days ... Others still come to the event, but have decided to make it their main holiday of the year and add 2 to 3 weeks of European travel, to said event- using trains whenever possible. Just think - and try and adjust- nought wrong with that surely.

A week after we had made our decision and drawn our red lines- we were invited to a Conference in Madrid for 3 days. So we made it our main holiday- flew to Madrid, then used trains and buses to visit Andalucia and then Malaga then flew back from there.

Several EU countries, including Switzerland- are making a huge effort to bring back long distance night trains- as the most polluting flights are the short ones, as taking off and down is the most polluting part of flights. Flying from Geneva to Zurich, or Milan, or Munich- is just nonsense, and VERY polluting.

It does not have to be NO flights at all- so won't be signing either. But I have had it up to here with any effort made to assess one's carbon footprint and behaviour as in 'virtue signalling'

Alima Fri 06-Dec-19 14:15:47

SuDonim, thank you for explaining what virtue signalling is, thought so but wasn’t sure. I agree completely with your post. Thought the OP just sounded smug. (Not flown anywhere since 2008, much prefer rail and coach travel. Obviously not long-haul though we did get as far as Russia by coach).

SueDonim Fri 06-Dec-19 14:36:52

Assessing one’s carbon footprint and behaviour isn’t virtue signalling. Virtue signalling is when you then brag about your decision and look down on those who do things differently.

The OP says she wasn’t planning to fly anyway, so in what way is she making a difference?

jura2 Fri 06-Dec-19 14:43:49

Fair enough- but it does not stop others from taking stock, think, assess and make changes if and when possible, surely.

Of course if I had GCs in the USA or NZ- I would fly to go and see them- but I would also stay several weeks. But if I am going to Paris- it is so much easier, and better for the environment, to take the TGV fast train- and quicker too, for sure. Town centre, to town centre. Easy peasy.

SueDonim Fri 06-Dec-19 15:03:52

That’s assuming your relatives want you staying for several weeks! grin Or that you can afford a hotel or have enough holiday to be able to do that. Quite honestly, if one is planning just the one annual trip a year, it hardly matters whether the stay is for one day or one month, the amount of CO2 will be the same. Several weekend trips a year involving flights is a different matter, naturally.

As for trains, I wish! We have none here nor buses. sad

SueDonim Fri 06-Dec-19 15:06:39

Forgot to add, I think those who are interested in modifying their behaviour will already be doing so and those that aren’t interested won’t be persuaded anyway. There can’t be anyone in the UK who isn’t aware of climate change by now.

jura2 Fri 06-Dec-19 15:08:46

of course Sue - was talking about visits to the USA or even more so, NZ ... surely you wouldn't go for one day ...

Well yes, good public transport is a political choice - that the UK has chosen to privatise and commercialise- with dire effects. I am glad many EU countries have chosen to improve public transport, even in more rural areas- and are now making the decision to re-introduce night trains for inter-European destinations. A choice- quite simply.

janipat Fri 06-Dec-19 15:56:16

jura2 I fly to Canada once a year to see my son, daughter-in-law and 2 grandchildren. I cannot go for longer than 15 days because I have responsibilities to family here in the UK including a grandson with severe learning difficulties and autism who cannot cope with a longer separation from us. By your rationale I shouldn't go? As I only take the one return flight each year I fail to see how the length of my stay has any impact on the damage my flight does. My flights will be time limited anyway, once my age incurs horrendous insurance premiums I will be forced to stop, even if poor mobility doesn't get me first!

JenniferEccles Fri 06-Dec-19 17:45:26

No I am not signing.

Yet another sanctimonious virtue signalling idea .

We have a fly cruise holiday booked for next Summer, which I am already looking forward to.

No doubt Guardian readers will be falling over themselves to sign.

GrannyGravy13 Fri 06-Dec-19 17:57:51


SueDonim Fri 06-Dec-19 17:58:24

One thing I wish we still had in the UK is motorail. We used to be able to put our car on the train in Inverness, spend the night in a sleeper carriage and next morning we’d be in London. It was brilliant.

NfkDumpling Fri 06-Dec-19 18:09:38

Oh, I remember the joys of motor rail in France, speeding through the countryside with waiter service. The perfect way to travel. The last time we did it, it was soggy croissants in cellophane from a machine.

jura2 Fri 06-Dec-19 20:08:18

Of course not janipat- all I am saying is that are the 'red lines' we have decided for ourselves- that is all. Enjoy seeing the GCs.

I am not signing either - and just saying there is no harm is having a good think about our own behaviour and see what we can do, in our own way. That is all.

If we fly to UK - we have to go to Geneva- ccan be done with bus + train, change + train - hours in advance to make sure. Or drive 1.30 hrs, but allow for 2 + parking time (and huge cost) and get to airport - so at least 4 hours. Then arrive at Luton, take bus to go and hire car (huge cost) at least 1-1.30 wasted- then drive to flat or DD1 or 2, or wherever. Or quick bus to TGV- quick change in Paris or overnight- arrive at St Pancras and train home. Either was, it takes all day- and if we book in advance, it is very reasonable. At the moment- we drive- even simpler, because of dog- expensive with Tunnel and overnight each way and we often give lifts to friends.

JackyB Fri 06-Dec-19 20:19:42

Sorry but I flew to the UK at least 5 times this year to visit my dying mother and have since flown at least twice, to her funeral, and then to help with the house clearing..

I am flying to the US next week for the 2nd time this year to look after my DGS whilst his little brother is born. (The first time was to give DS and DiL a break as they have no one out there) In fact, I haven't had a holiday this year yet.

Next year I hope to get to the UK by car (if foreigners will be allowed in by then). Not really sure how I can cut down at the moment.

SueDonim Fri 06-Dec-19 20:50:59

That sounds ideal, Jura2 but most of us don’t live near the centres of transport. As it happens, my son lives only four miles from Heathrow and we live about 35mins from our local airport. The quickest way for us to visit him is by air and it works out cheaper.

In fact, we rarely fly down now but the other methods of travel are very expensive. It’s often cheaper to buy a flight than a train ticket and there are only two direct trains a day. We then have to get out of central London to his nearest train station and then get a taxi to his house. It’s a full days travel, too, well in excess of 12 hours, door to door.

We generally drive down now, although the cost of that mounts up, with fuel and meals on the road, tolls and so on, plus the sheer boredom of motorway driving.

M0nica Fri 06-Dec-19 21:40:13

I am a curmudgeon, I have no time for these smug virtue signalling 'sign ups'. Life just isn't that simple. The only people signing for it will be people who have no need or desire to fly anyway.

As this thread has shown, when family live overseas, and for a host of other reasons, some people simply cannot sign up to pledges like this. This doesn't mean that they are less committed to the need to reduce global warming, they are probably doing more by quietly making changes in their lives in other ways - and may well have been doing it for much longer.

jura2 Sat 07-Dec-19 19:16:07

JackyB, so sorry to hear. I flew so many times in an emergency when my mum was very poorly and at the time of her final demise - so I feel for you.

And of course, that is totally right. There are times in life when it is possible to re-think, re-assess and make changes if possible. And there are times, when it is just not possible- that is fair enough.

QuaintIrene Sat 07-Dec-19 19:21:04

Never flown anywhere.
Couldn’t afford to if I wanted to, either.

Iam64 Sat 07-Dec-19 20:07:58

Jennifer Eccles, I’m a Guardian reader. Don’t be so rude and judgemental . You have no idea what my views on this are.
Honestly, gransnet is becoming increasingly unpleasant. We can’t even discuss what small actions we can each take to protect our planet without snide digs, none of which will persuade anyone to take a wider view on anything.

ineedamum Sat 07-Dec-19 20:32:38

I think there are many factors which influence the environment, not just flying. Flying, car pollution, destroying forests, plastics, consumerism, overbuilding on land etc etc I'm sure there are other factors.

I fly on holiday - but I don't drive. I shop and use too much plastic (packaging) which is hard to eliminate. I use soya wax for candles. I recycle as much as possible (my council have stopped collecting food waste due to cost).

I don't do enough and would love to do more

inkcog Sat 07-Dec-19 20:37:43

Surely there must be some middle way? Something between smug boasting about holidays and so called virtue signaling?

Can't people read a few papers and gather information and ideas from many sources?

ayse Sat 07-Dec-19 20:50:56

I feel quite guilty about flying to Bristol maybe every 7 weeks or so. I’d much prefer to go by train but I can’t afford it! It’s crazy that flying is cheaper than the train. This is to visit one daughter and 3 grandchildren. They lived in OZ for 15 years so I’m happy I can see them more frequently. This daughter has had a very rough time for the last 3 years, so I’ve given as much support as I can.

Daughter no 1 lives in NZ so I visit annually in January by flying for 4 weeks. Daughter no. 3 has two children and I live within a 2 bus journey so generally take the bus unless it’s going to be a late evening, especially in the winter months as I’m a bit wary about being out and about after dark.

Most of my spare cash is spent visiting family. I do so appreciate being loved and wanted by all of them.

Having said all that, I feel guilty in travelling so much by flying, especially to Bristol but for me it’s a matter of economy. I just can’t face the idea of a 10 hour coach journey at a similar cost to flying. It just doesn’t make sense.

I do wish that public transport was more efficient and affordable because if I could, I’d restrict my flying to the NZ visit. DH and I only go on camping holidays in the UK as they are the cheapest way of getting away for short breaks. With limited income we have to make the most of what we have.

I don’t see why numerous business meetings couldn’t take place over the net!

M0nica Sat 07-Dec-19 21:03:05

Quaintirene, in your circumstances I would immediately sign up for this silly bit of greenwash, just for the fun of it and to show how ludicrous it is.

M0nica Sat 07-Dec-19 21:06:24

I am another perfect partner for this initative. I do not fly - and haven't for, perhaps, six or seven years. I hate airports and much prefer to travel by train.

There is no better way of making yourself look good than signing up to not do something you never intended to do anyway.

jura2 Sat 07-Dec-19 21:11:21

ayse- where do you travel from, I wonder? Yes, it is crazy about trains being more expensive than flying- and again, it is a political choice. And something which will be reversed in the near future, I hope. However, if you travel regularly and avoid Fridays and book well in advance - does it not cut cost down a lot? With TGV and Eurostar, if we book well in advance and go off peak- it is much cheaper than flying- when you count all (like getting to airport, parking, etc, etc).

HettyMaud Sat 07-Dec-19 21:16:53

One of my biggest gripes is people flying overseas to get married or to sporting events. It's ridiculous.

Urmstongran Sat 07-Dec-19 21:32:15

The carbon footprint of F1 racing - flying all those cars, computers, people - to the next location around the world must be phenomenal and then there’s the racing itself.

Pantglas2 Sat 07-Dec-19 21:36:12

F1 is the thing for me too Urmstongran- when they stop that I’ll stop flying.....

ayse Sat 07-Dec-19 22:17:50

Hi, Jura. It’s so difficult because I fit in with my children’s childcare needs. I’d be happy to book in advance but they have ex husbands who don’t seem to understand that both of them needs to work, even if there are school holidays. I travel from the NE and would happily book in advance, if only I knew what was going on. I just want to help them both out as much as I can. Hopefully it will settle in the not too distant future but it’s like living with a ticking bomb. I never know when I’m going to be needed. Life is a little problematic sometimes

Luckygirl Sat 07-Dec-19 22:20:25

I don't fly - basically because I hate it; so no virtue signalling here!

But I do get a bit irritated by all the business flights whose purpose could just as easily be achieved electronically.

GrandmaKT Sat 07-Dec-19 22:27:56

Our DS, his partner and my GS are all in New Zealand. I would happily sign up to not taking flights anywhere else. but the thought of never being able to see them again fills me with dread. I worry that movements like this will make it socially unacceptable and financially impossible for us to see our family.

AllotmentLil Sat 07-Dec-19 22:33:44

I won’t be signing. And I agree with everything Iam said.

Ginny42 Sun 08-Dec-19 03:59:37

My DD was required by her employer to fly (within the EU) to give a 28 minute presentation. It had to be 28 mins exactly, as all the other speakers had the same time slot during the day of presentations. Had she refused she would have lost her next contract, and she did win the big government contract for her employer, but how ludicrous was that?

Until big business makes huge changes e.g. with travel requirements, product packaging and industrial processes and waste disposal, there is a limit to what the responsible individual/family can do.

P.S: I was heartened to hear my friend's grandchildren had included in their list to Santa, 'but please no plastics'. There's a challenge for the adults in the family.

Urmstongran Sun 08-Dec-19 09:22:44

And what are we up against here? Big business in sporting events worldwide.

The world title boxing match in Saudi last night saw a huge open air stadium, built in two months to accommodate 150,000 people at a cost of $200 million which was for ONE NIGHT only! Yep, just the event itself. It is being dismantled today.

jura2 Sun 08-Dec-19 10:08:06

ayse, oh I understand this - it is often very difficult to organise dates in advance - and yes, they leave it to the last minute ... I know x

There is no ONE solution - so I won't be signing, as said. However I see no problem with all of us assessing our flying/travelling record- and see if we can make positive changes that help reduce our carbon footprint.

If someone's reaction is to say 'oh those do-gooders really get up my nose, so next year I'll fly even more, just to annoy them' - well, I am not sure your grandchildren will thank you sad

CassieJ Sun 08-Dec-19 10:50:24

My son lives in Canada, so if we didn't fly we wouldn't see each other.

ayse Sun 08-Dec-19 11:39:53

Yes agreed Jura. DD3 is very much into re-use, recycle and buy 2nd hand etc. I do my best as well. Biggest plastic consumption is fruit and veg packets. Even the local market packs many things in plastic. I do what I can and I think it would make a big difference if everybody did their bit

henetha Sun 08-Dec-19 13:00:31

I regularly visit Scotland, Ireland and Germany (family and friends there.) From now on I will endeavour to use other means of getting there rather than flying.
But I feel like somewhere warm next year and hope I can be forgiven just one flight (and one back home again!)
I'm doing my best to cut down plastic use etc, just like most of us are.

ayse Sun 08-Dec-19 14:26:31

Just been looking at train fares Newcastle to Bristol. The cheapest is £167 whereas flying just now is £45 return. This is for March. Crazy, isn’t it?

Hetty58 Sun 08-Dec-19 14:43:02

Urmstongran, my friend has a house in Spain but always travels by train (she doesn't like flying) so you could still get there!

Hetty58 Sun 08-Dec-19 14:56:12

SueDonim, thank you for explaining virtue signalling. You said: 'The OP says she wasn’t planning to fly anyway, so in what way is she making a difference'

I have made a tiny difference by not planning to fly London to Glasgow again (as I used to) to visit a friend. I pushed for video-conferencing at work too, so I've signed and posted to raise awareness, generally, perhaps to influence others - I can but try!

Hetty58 Sun 08-Dec-19 15:29:28

Overall, an interesting set of responses, some very defensive, of course (as people really don't like change). I shouldn't think holidays and visiting relatives are the main problem. There's an awful lot of totally unnecessary short business and cargo flights, though.

Obviously, it's fundamentally a problem for governments to address, rather than individuals. Train fares (and ferries) should be much cheaper to encourage alternative travel. It's a shame that motorail has declined, too - but it seems sensible to plan a comeback. There are still some:

ayse Sun 08-Dec-19 15:33:51

I’d love motorail. Just image going on holiday in the UK with only a short drive at the end instead of hours on the road. I loathe driving.

jura2 Sun 08-Dec-19 15:35:50

As said, several EU countries, and Switzerland- are making a concerted, collaborative effort, to bring back night trains inter EU- to stop short distance flights. It is a political choice.

If I come to London or the East Mids- with TGV and Eurostar- it takes me all day- a relaxing day, reading, snoozing, watching the world go by ... door to door. If I choose to fly, it takes me all day- getting to airport by car or bus + train, 2 change- then flight and take bus from ariport to car hire- wait- get home, etc. All day too, but stressful and exhausting- and all in all, as I book early- often much cheaper. Makes total sense.