By avoiding planes for a year, I found that I had cut my carbon dioxide emissions from travel to just over 1 tonne. This was a reduction of 95 per cent from my 2017 carbon footprint from travel. It felt good.
What happens when a leading New Zealand scientist (and frequent traveller) rules out flying for a year? From overnight buses to epic train journeys, Shaun Hendy’s experiences speak to our desire to do something – anything – in the face of growing climate anxiety.
#NoFly confronts the hard questions of one person’s attempt ‘to adapt’. Was this initiative merely symbolic? Did it compromise his work, his life? And has it left him feeling more optimistic that we can, indeed, reach a low-emissions future?
What are BWB Texts?
BWB Texts are short books on big subjects by great New Zealand writers. Spanning contemporary issues, history and memoir, new BWB Texts are released regularly, and the series now amounts to well over fifty works.
All recently published BWB Texts can be purchased in print and digital formats using the ‘Buy’ or ‘Preorder’ buttons on this page. You can also subscribe to the series – a great gift idea! Find more information about subscription offers here.
'Why I quit flying and driving for a year', Shaun Hendy, Noted, 15 January 2020 (also North & South magazine, February 2020).
'Air Travel or Not?', Kirrilee Hay, Radio Adelaide, 1 December 2019 (audio, 17'13'').
'Climate Explained: How much does flying contribute to climate change?', Shaun Hendy, Stuff, 27 November 2019.
'Climate explained: how much does flying contribute to climate change?', Shaun Hendy, The Conversation, 27 November 2019 .
'Physics professor on the merits of no fly campaign', The Panel, RNZ, 27 November 2019 (audio, 10'15'').
'Why you should rethink jetting away this summer', Shaun Hendy, New Zealand Herald, 12 November 2019.
'No fly zone: I didn't catch a plane for a year and saved 19 tonnes of CO2', Shaun Hendy, The Guardian, 4 November 2019.
'Physicist Shaun Hendy maps the lows, highs and sleepless buses of a no-fly year', Nikki Macdonald, Stuff, 7 October 2019.
'How to cope when you've given up air travel but still need to see people', Stuff, 7 October 2019 [book extract].
'Growing movement urges passengers to ditch air travel to tackle climate change', Q + A, TVNZ, 16 September 2019 (video, 6'52'').
'Eco-flying is far, far away', Sharon Brettkelly, The Detail, RNZ, 10 September 2019 (audio, 22'14'').