You’d have to have been living under a rock not to have heard of the Swedish concept of “flygskam” or “flight shaming”!
But it’s something you really do need to be aware of as cabin crew, particularly with airlines ramping up their commitments to sustainability.
In recent times global air travel has grown on average by around 5% per year – and forecasts from industry experts show that this is set to continue until at least 2025.
However, in a recent survey one in five of the people said they’d cut the number of flights they made over the last year because of the impact on the climate.
The Greta Effect
High-profile, media publicised campaigns (like the example set by school girl Greta Thunberg) has brought the issue into the spotlight in the past year, which has not only helped increase awareness of the issue of climate change, but could have the potential to cause a change in flying habits, especially in wealthier parts of the world like the US and Europe.
It’s impossible to deny that climate change is a huge issue, and that carbon emissions contribute to this. However, is it fair to place so much blame on the airline industry?
The concept of flying and travel is so important – especially as it has became more affordable. It lets people see the world, connect with family, and have amazing experiences – learning about new cultures and ways of life. At a time when diversity is such a prominent issue this is something to embrace.
However, the huge media outcry over flight shaming, and the ‘Greta Effect’ as it is sometimes called, have made many people feel incredibly guilty, and question the necessity of travelling by air – even if it’s the most sensible option for them at that time.
There are other, major contributors to the problem of climate change. Figures show that even if the global aviation industry halved its emissions, the overall effect on global carbon emissions as a whole would be minimal. Other industries, such as ‘disposable’ fashion and textile manufacture and the food industry have a significantly more heavy carbon footprint.
That’s not to say that changes don’t need to be made however. And airlines are stepping up to the mark when it comes to sustainability.
The use of biofuels for example, and technological advances working towards electrically powered aircraft.
Donations by passengers to offset their cabin footprint.
The use of recycled materials in aircraft manufacture. All of these things are small steps in the right direction.
It seems the aviation industry is an easy target to place blame upon. But the part it plays in our daily lives, in giving access people to explore the world, in providing aid and travel to those that need it in a timely and efficient way, in ensuring the smooth running of the global supply chain – all these things and more are being overlooked.