The extraordinary destructiveness of the tar sands is further proof – if any were needed – that we have to move away from our reliance on oil. But like it or not, that’s a big ask.
Here at the New Internationalist Co-operative we try to put our principles into practice. So over the last few weeks we have been putting together a travel policy that, as one of its explicit aims, is intended to reduce the amount of flights we take as an organization.
It’s controversial. Most people in our workers’ co-op support, in theory, a cap on the number of flights we take collectively over the year. But how do we decide?
Should we ban flights to places in Europe, even if it takes more than a day to get there by train? Is it more important for an editor to fly to somewhere like Iraq or the Arctic for on-the-ground reporting, or for a member of staff from our Canadian, Australian or New Zealand/Aotearoa offices to come over to Oxford for face-to-face meetings, ensuring close, effective working relationships? Are we fetishizing flying when actually we only take an average of seven flights a year, which is already much lower than most similar operations? Are we risking losing touch with the world on which we report if we reduce the amount of time we spend out of the office?
As we continue to tie ourselves in ethical knots, we would be interested to know what you think – and especially if your organization has attempted something similar.
Jess Worth for the New Internationalist co-operative.