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Why I'm Going Flight Free In 2023

Why I'm Going Flight Free In 2023 - Lavender & Lemon

Over Christmas, my family and I headed to Austria for a much-anticipated ski holiday. Due to lockdown, our trip had been rescheduled multiple times over the last few years, so we were excited to be heading to the snow, finally

For my young children, this was their first ski holiday, and they were looking forward to spending the week in a beautiful winter wonderland. My husband and I had visions of finally teaching the kids to ski so we could hit the slopes as a family and then warm up with hot chocolate and Gluhwein after. Admittedly, as I packed our warmest jumpers and woollen layers, it never occurred to me that Austria in early January might be anything other than snowy and very cold.

As we flew over the Alps, I snapped this picture of my daughter admiring the snowcapped mountain tops and quickly shared a “Hello from Austria!” post to my social media accounts when we landed.

Flying over the Austrian Alps
I was so engrossed in the book I was reading that it wasn’t until we got out of the airport that I realized something was wrong. It was warm, and there was no snow on the ground! I surveyed the mountains around us, and while some of the highest peaks had snow, it was mostly green and far hotter than anyone expected. In fact, it was 14°C which is unheard of given that Innsbruck in January usually averages around 0°C. As it turns out, Europe was experiencing the hottest January on record.
My heart sank as we arrived at our ski resort, not because ski conditions were terrible but because the reality of climate change hit me like a ton of bricks. This wasn’t just a “heatwave”; it was years of collective planet destruction on full display. What should’ve been snow-covered mountains on a winter day were instead a few artificial pistes down green mountains on a spring day…in January. 
Wildschönau Austria, January 2023
Wildschönau Austria, January 2023
I instantly felt guilty that I took a short-haul flight from the UK, knowing that short-haul flights have the highest carbon emissions per revenue-passenger-km. That was the moment I decided that I would go flight free in 2023. While skiing might have been a bust, the trip reminded me that no matter how overwhelming climate change feels, individual action matters; that instead of being consumed by climate anxiety, we can turn negative energy into positive energy. After all, doing something is better than doing nothing...change doesn’t come from inaction. 
The image below shows the environmental impact of our flight from Birmingham to Innsbruck. It’s staggering to see air travel compared to car and train. Of course, we are a global community and in many cases flying is necessary. My family lives in America, so I will always be required to fly at some point, but I will be much more selective in the future about whether I include stopovers. I don’t believe people should be shamed for flying, but it goes without saying that if we want to decrease our carbon footprint and leave the planet in better shape for our children, then reducing how often we fly and the type of flights we make is a crucial action to take. 
Environmental impact of flight from Birmingham, UK to Innsbruck, Austria.

Here are some helpful links if you are interested in planning your next flight-free adventure:

EcoPassenger is a practical tool for travellers and decision-makers to compare the environmental impacts of different transport options. 

Snowcarbon is an independent guide to ski holidays in the Alps by train. Less carbon, more fun! We’re using this website to plan our next ski holiday.

Flight Free UK is on a mission to inform people of the climate impact of aviation and inspire people to travel by other means. I’ve personally taken the #FlightFree2023 pledge. 

Happy travels, and here’s to positively impacting our planet for future generations!



Content Disclaimer: The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article is not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. Lavender & Lemon Ltd. disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.

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