Flying Less

Flying less can make a huge difference to your own carbon footprint

Most of the greenhouse gas emissions from aviation are produced by ‘frequent flyers’. So much so that up to 70% of the total emissions from flying are created by only 15% of passengers. If you only fly once a year, it can seem as though your one flight doesn’t make much difference. In fact choosing to use alternatives to flying, especially over longer distances, can still have a positive impact on your own carbon footprint.

The benefits of not flying – here’s Sarah

Sarah lives and works in Congleton. She cycles to work each day and drives a hybrid car for medium distances. Sarah knows that these choices are positively affecting her carbon footprint and she feels great about that.

Sarah has a son who lives with his family in Paris and she likes to visit him once every few months to catch up with her grandkids. She buys advance flights to Paris when they are cheap and also takes an economical package deal holiday once a year somewhere warm and sunny, like Antigua. That’s a total of 6 short haul flights and 2 long haul flights per year for Sarah, and the same for her husband, Joe.

What sort of difference can Sarah and Joe make?

By taking the train to Paris instead, they would reduce their carbon footprints by up to 95% for these journeys! And if a holiday resort in Europe was chosen instead of further afield, then the CO2 saved by swapping from long to short haul flights would equal the same as all the other flights put together.

Since air travel can form such a large part of your own carbon footprint, it’s really easy to reduce your footprint by choosing a different option or a shorter distance. By demonstrating demand for these alternative options, Sarah and Joe will encourage investment. Flying can sabotage Sarah’s other efforts to be greener, as the effect of flying will have a big impact on her total carbon footprint.

Just one flight to Paris would equal roughly the same amount of CO2 emissions as she will save by cycling to work over one full year.