Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

How would you react if you definitively knew that each flight you took would shorten your life by three months?

article summary —

The flyer’s dilemma, namely how we react to (or ignore) the ethical, practical and moral considerations associated with the decision to take a flight, has been the subject of thoughtful scholarly debate. Those discussions raise profound questions for the transport and tourism policy communities.

The dilemma was nicely formulated by Elisabeth Rosenthal, an American doctor and journalist, who in 2010 wrote an influential piece in the Guardian newspaper entitled “Can we kick our addiction to flying?” The title is telling as it couches the problem of repetitive discretionary flying as a behavioural addiction.

Philosophers, geographers and policy makers have piled into the debate, with most contributors taking care to distinguish between 1. flights which someone is required to make as a condition of their employment (work-miles), 2. flights that are made to keep in touch with family (love-miles), and 3. flights which are entirely discretionary and taken in pursuit of leisure and recreation (fun-miles).

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About the authors

hidden europe

and manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers. They delight in discovering the exotic in the everyday.

This article was published in hidden europe 60.