The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to cancel flights. But some – like Phillip Meintzer of Victoria, British Columbia – had cut back on flying even before the pandemic began.

“I’m just trying to limit my air travel because of the massive carbon emissions that are associated with air travel,” Meintzer says.

By some estimates, a flight from New York City to LA produces more carbon pollution than the average person in India produces in an entire year.

So flying less can be a significant way for individuals to reduce their climate impact. And Meintzer says it feels good.

“It’s nice that my actions sort of line up with my personal values,” he says. “But at the same time, I’m very close with my mom and my brother.”

Meintzer’s mother and brother live more than 600 miles away, so he says he won’t stop flying completely. But he tries to make his visits to family as few and full as possible – with a lot of activities packed into each trip.

Meintzer’s vacations have changed, too. Instead of flying to the beach, he now enjoys regional road trips in his electric car.

“Taking it slow and seeing everything along the way is part of the fun of the travel now,” Meintzer says.

So he says flying less is a relatively small sacrifice, and it can lead to new and different adventures.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Samantha Harrington

Samantha Harrington, Associate Editor of Yale Climate Connections, is a journalist and graphic designer, with a background in digital media and entrepreneurship. "Sam" is especially interested in sharing...