Since we are all created equal, what should equal carbon rights look like?
We can’t begrudge anyone their foreign holiday – indeed, many countries rely on income from the tourist industry to feed their citizens. However, we must be concerned if flying abroad is causing climate change and destroying the natural world for all creatures great and small – as Sir David Attenborough has been warning us for so many years now.
Wouldn’t it be great if school leavers could look to apprenticeships in sustainable industries?
Long before COVID, aviation was replacing jobs with automation, and for many, jobs at airports will never return. Re-training workers for alternative jobs which will really help sustain life on our planet is the way forward. For example, retrofitting houses to become better insulated; designing and manufacturing products with recycled materials; training electricians, plumbers and tailors to mend items that might be thrown away; developing renewable forms of power. Green jobs need to become more imaginative, as does transport, whether rented or shared vehicles, mobility scooters, e-scooters, cycling or flying.
While some can afford to reduce their carbon footprint by buying electric cars or solar panels, they might be increasing their carbon footprint by frequent flying. Many of us have employment that prevents us from reducing our carbon footprint as much as we would like to.
We all share the same planet. This pandemic has taught us that no-one is safe until we’re all safe – this applies to the air we breathe, the oceans that bring us water and the climate which gives life to everything. We need to be protecting natural green spaces and increasing biodiversity alongside hoping for a new quick fix.
What can we do? We can challenge government to enable smaller scale working for future generation and demand that big business and banks divest from fossil fuels and invest instead in healthier developments now.
Aviation is heavily subsidised by tax payers. Should the leisure flyer pay a carbon tax on top of airfare to allow flying – even if it does nothing to remove the carbon emitted by their flight?
Airline fuels are not taxed at all in the UK (in contrast to car fuel which attracts very high taxes). Biological-waste (for biofuel) can’t be grown in the quantities needed to replace fossil fuel, and growing it can damage food production and destroy rainforests, leading to other huge environmental problems.
Maybe not flying at all might be the best solution for now, and the Gatwick community can become a hub of a different sort?