Fly-Less Kāpiti Takes Off

Deirdre Kent, of Waikanae, describes a Kāpiti group’s work to cut air miles…and global warming. 

‘Rebecca McFie, an investigative journalist writing in the Listener (26 Nov 2017) describes how she worked out their household’s carbon budget in a virtuous glow – their waste, energy and local transport emissions were low.

But then the computer program asked for the details of all the flights for the last year. “Suddenly, our household carbon footprint swelled from modest to enormous.

All our recycling, waste-reducing, lentil-eating, cycling and EV-driving efforts were undone by the 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents produced by two people who fly a lot.”

Do we have a ‘blind spot’?

Well, I guess not a lot of us have worked out our carbon footprint or found how to do it. Yes we approve of recycling etc.

But when it comes to leisure, flying is still “normal”? Blind spot, sorry. Airpoints. Family. Cruise. After all we have been so good we deserve a break. Not surprisingly emissions from aviation keep rising despite improved efficiency – due to increased capacity.

The Facebook page

Recently three of us started a Facebook group for those of us who want to reduce our flying or eliminate it.

Called Fly-less Kiwis it boasts just 48 members. We swap notes about flying and airport expansion, post information on the climate emergency, debate the merits of off-setting, relay awkward conversations with family and friends about being flightfree and describe our land-based travel. Intercity’s infrastructure is underdeveloped. e.g. a stop in Tokoroa for takeaways will shock any vegan.

We plan to lobby to improve low carbon land based travel.

The Airport Awards and cutting air miles

At last year’s Wellington Regional Airport Awards in Kapiti and then Wellington, I talked to Steve Sanderson, the personable CEO of Wellington International Airport. I commented on the irony of Low Carbon Kapiti being given top Kapiti place in their environmental section.

He said planes will always have to take off using fossil fuels, but for cruising they could in future use electricity or biofuels. But so far, despite the best efforts of Air NZ, there isn’t an example in the world where we have scalable biofuels.

But every new movement starts small.

We have a member who hasn’t flown for seven years, and one non flier with family in AustraIia.

We have a top scientist who didn’t fly in 2018, two ex-politicians, one ecotourism owner, many climate activists, and several academics.

The flightfree movement originating in Sweden is now available for us, so here is your challenge to be flightfree in 2019!

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