Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

guilt trip: shall we all stay home this year

guilt trip: shall we all stay home this year

May 13th, 2006, 10:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,108
LOL - L84SKY. So true, so true.

We do a lot of stuff at home to conserve, so I am not all that worried about how much I consume by flying someplace in an airplane.
J_Correa is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 11:04 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 5,113
Mr. Monboit, I'm convinced.

Okay, resolved:
This year, will not take the yacht to Mediterranean for cruise. It does burn a lot of fuel, I suppose. Possibly just stick to U.S. Atlantic coast and the islands.

My entourage and I will not take the private jet to Europe; will use commercial transportation.

And I hope the poor, a notoriously ungrateful lot, appreciate my sacrifice.

stokebailey is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 12:27 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 794
Lots of countries depend on tourism, so why deprive their economy of your business? I say travel and enjoy it for life is short and you should try to enjoy every minute where you are here. There is time enough to be miserable when you are unable to travel, old and cranky! ( like my mother in law)!!
lucielou is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 12:33 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,118
>"a train journey typically creates 1/8th of the emissions of a flight" ..<

I believe that that is per passenger mile.

Even so, why are all of those people taking train journeys, when they could be staying home and helping the poor.

ira is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 01:03 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 410
I'm guilt free here. My yacht runs on wind power as I tootle around the Caribbean sea 3-4mo per year. I employee a full time crew of 4, which benefits the local economy. At each port of call I make I have my yacht cleaned and serviced, further benefiting the local economy.

So Stevie boy, my recommendation is to do some good on the home front with your spare time and money and get yourself some professional help.

ipod_robbie is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 02:01 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,121
It's a bit ironic that some of the poorest countries in the world are almost entirely dependent on tourism for foreign income. Stopping leisure air travel would be a disaster for them.

However, cutting down on business travel would be a great idea, I think. Most business travel is a tremendously expensive waste of time, and some people travel on business (often taking the longest possible routes) only to waste time at company expense and to rack up air miles so that they can travel on vacation for free.
AnthonyGA is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 02:07 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,326
Consider the famous E.B.White saying: "Each morning I awake torn between a desire to save the world, and an inclination to savor it. This makes it hard to plan the day."

Can we not do some of each?
Nora_S is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 03:21 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,833
Having just read the article, here is a summary - as best as I can manage, since I found this article somewhat rambling.

Mr. Monbiot believes that global warming will be the principal cause of starvation in the Third World.

He further believes global warming is caused principally by excess energy consumption.

He further believes that the West can slow this energy consumption signifcantly by reducing their use of aviation.

Quote from the article: "What all this means is that if we want to stop the planet from cooking, we will simply have to stop travelling at the kind of speeds that planes permit......When I challenge my friends about their planned weekend in Rome or their holiday in Florida, they respond with a strange, distant smile and avert their eyes. They just want to enjoy themselves. Who am I to spoil their fun? The moral dissonance is deafening."


If Mr. Monbiot's thesis is correct, he hasn't shown it to be. He errs, many many times, in appealing to motives instead of supporting his points. The article is full of prejudicial language - basically, he demands that his readers agree with him or they will be indicted as immoral by some authority (evidently, him). He argues that his thesis is true because it is widely held to be true (by "just about everyone I meet" to use his exact words.) He warns of unacceptable consequences ("Some 92 million Bangladeshis could be driven out of their homes this century in order that we can still go shopping in New York") if I don't believe him or act as he directs.

And so on, and so on.

Heaven help us if he's right, because if this is the kind of nutcase who's going to champion the cause, we're doomed.
Sue_xx_yy is online now  
May 13th, 2006, 03:34 PM
Posts: n/a
Just curious, is the Guardian religious affiliated? J.
May 13th, 2006, 03:35 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,049
Most inks are petroleum based, so we could all do our parts by not buying the Guardian.
clevelandbrown is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 03:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 972
Sue--If he is proven right, then how would he be a nutcase? Just wondering.

If you want to hear a guilt trip, a few years ago there was this philosopher who suggested that anyone with $2000 that they could give to charities that feed the hungry and didn't are responsible for the death of one human being. He then went on to show how that money would, in fact, save a life. It was heavily covered in the U.S. at the time. It certainly causes one to think.

People can feel guilty or not feel guilty, give up travel or not give up travel. But I get frustrated by the people who are angered when ideas like this are even mentioned. Shouldn't we all be willing to examine ourselves and what we do?
Guy18 is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 03:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 215
jetset1, far from being "religious affiliated" the Guardian is definitely a secular newspaper.
Ruth is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 04:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,067
I've thought about it. Well, I guess I have for a few minutes.

A couple of things popped into my head though as I read that article:

1) Having just been to Cambodia, which is not by any stretch a wealthy country, I have to wonder how they'd do if people stopped showing up. Likewise, while Morocco's unemployment is at over 40%, how would that rate change if tourism stopped? If we don't go next year as planned, will that benefit anyone as much as if we did?

2) If people DID stop showing up and getting to know different cultures and places, would people care as much about those who remained strangers?

3) On a less rationalized and hopefully more pragmatic note: if you were looking at ways to cut down on flight traffic, why would you go right after leisure trips? As mentioned already, business trips account for a very high percentage and most really could be handled by conference and video calls.

And then there's freight, which is an even higher volume. I live in the HQ city & primary distibution center of FedEx. They actually gauge their success in some part by the number of flights made. How often have I shipped or recieved something "next day" that wasn't really necessary to have over night? That, I guarantee, surpasses any fuel dedicated to putting my butt in the seat, regardless of how big it eventually gets. Yet even if we all dedicated ourselves to package patience, someone's going to become poorer if they lost that FedEx job. Eh... you know, I don't have the answers.

Clifton is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 06:07 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 11,468
Stevelyon, we're a family who lives on one fairly low income. You can help the world and relieve your guilt by immediately sending me your plane tickets. I will enjoy Europe and you can have the satisfaction of knowing you helped me expand my horizons and fulfill some dreams.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 06:16 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,833

I admit that 'nutcase' was a poor choice of words - I should have stuck to dismissing his article as sloppy, rambling and badly supported. I plead distraction at the time - I was cooking - or should that be, burning -dinner as I hurried to finish that post.

But the point is, even if he should have happened upon the correct diagnosis of the situation, being 'right' in this fashion just isn't enough: one has to be convincing in order to garner the support needed for effective action to be taken.

Let's suppose you've found the cure for cancer. Let us further suppose that you don't normally do primary research in this field or indeed in any field at all - you're a journalist who just stumbled upon the deal. Your task, presumably, is to publicize the event and get things cracking.

What do you suppose would be your chances in getting it successfully developed if your request for assistance consisted of: "I have the cure for cancer here in this test tube and you should believe me because everyone I've met does and 2) you should give me 16 million dollars with which to bring it to market because that is the moral thing to do"?
Sue_xx_yy is online now  
May 13th, 2006, 06:32 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,833
By the way, I agree with you that being invited to examine one's choices should not, in and of itself, result in anger.

But he is not asking me to examine anything. He is simply trying to browbeat me into accepting his directive as morally superior and therefore, the most effective course of action.

Among many other problems, I have to ask, what's my morality got to do with matters? (or as we say around here, "What's that got to do with the price of fish?" What if I live in the equivalent of a moral sewer but solve world poverty? Even if my primary motive for taking the action that had such happy result was selfish - wouldn't that be enough? Just wondering. (sorry, couldn't resist.)
Sue_xx_yy is online now  
May 13th, 2006, 06:41 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9,922
I don't think we should get ourselves sidetracked from the issue by trying to justify our travel habits. Tourism may help the Bangladeshis now (although I wonder how many of us have that country on our wish list) but won't be much use if much of their land is in fact inundated.

There are many ways in which we can have a positive effect. The ballot box is s start - my government, and that of the US, are among the few that have refused to sign the Kyoto Agreement on climate change (a euphemism for global warming).

Generations of preachers have harangued their congregations without much noticeable effect on their personal habits. I happen to believe that individual changes of habits, while praiseworthy, can't compete with collective action through our governments, which have the power to encourage and discourage certain behaviours with financial and other incentives to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Sensible building design is just one area which could make a big difference. In Australia, for instance, we've actually gone backwards as a result of the ready availability of wasteful air conditioning. Modest houses screened from the sun by verandahs and deciduous trees have been replaced with McMansions on tiny blocks, so bloated that there's no room for either eaves or trees. Try telling their owners that they should be more socially responsible and see how far you'll get.
Neil_Oz is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 07:05 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,833

I agree justification of travel habits is not relevant.

But I'm not automatically going to endorse your suggestion that Kyoto is somehow the cure. Neither China nor India endorse Kyoto. As they represent about 1/3 of the world's population, and have suffered greatly from poverty, they are hard voices to ignore.

It is hard not to see their position. Why should they endorse a return to emissions back to pre-1990 levels, when the conditions of their countries, pre-1990, hardly represent a desirable state of affairs? Why should they, just when they are starting to make some headway, modernize, and see the rise for the first time ever of a middle class - see any net benefit to the poverty problem by adhering to Kyoto?

Even if they're wrong not to support Kyoto, the fact is, they - along with the US - don't support it. The horse is dead - time to find a new horse.

By the way, the fastest growing travel market is with this new Indian and Chinese middle class. I'd like to be a fly on the wall when some Westerner (whose compatriots have travelled for years) tells them that they shouldn't travel for the sake of ending poverty.
Sue_xx_yy is online now  
May 13th, 2006, 07:13 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
As long as society continues to spend $10,000 for hospital care and doctor bills on the final day (of life) of some unconscious, terminally ill people... I sure hope that as many health care providers will recirculate that money on keeping the airlines alive... as possible.

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 07:14 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 12,848
Having just returned from Florida, I am fairly certain that the chambermaids in Orlando, the ticket-takers at Disney and Sea World, the toll booth operaters on the turnpike, the servers at Bennigans, et al., ad nauseum, would be devastated if the wealthy honored a moratorium on traveling.

Just doing my bit for the world economy. And when the price of oil goes too high, either in dollars or environmental cost, we (and by this I include myself) will change our behaviors. That is the genius of laissez-faire economics. At some point it will become either chic or more rational to stay at home. Right now it isn't either. By and large, we get the government, economy and resultant mess that we truly want and deserve.
kswl is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:07 AM.