I just signed the #unter1000 pledge to not fly to destinations that are under 1,000 km away, and I encourage every reader to sign as well1. We, scientists, need to set an example. We understand better than most the dire situation we are in, and we have more time and money than most to do something about it.
It’s a mild inconvenience for us: instead of flying from Vienna to Cologne in 3 to 5 hours2, we’ll need to spend the whole day (or night) on the train, sacrificing one day of work or of weekend. Yet, our work has flexible hours, and we can be productive inside the train. Unlike most. If we can’t do even this small sacrifice, what hope is there in the fight against climate change?
I don’t want to spread the misconception that individual action is the most effective way to fight climate change. It’s not. The most effective action is to vote the dinosaurs out of office. The government can make the biggest impact by cleaning up the electric grid and banning fossil cars. The second most effective action, though, is collective action, like this one. Don’t just do it yourself, but do it, tell everyone, and tell them to do it as well. The wider #flugscham campaign is having an effect. Domestic flights fell by 12% year-on-year last November in Germany, and by 14% in Sweden. Losses of this scale set a fire under the airlines’ asses to invest in technology to make flying carbon neutral. That’s the goal, because we don’t want to go back to the stone age. But while airplanes still burn fossil fuels, I won’t do it under 1,000 km.