Dear Enku and colleagues,
While welcoming most of your advocacy points, I cannot agree that it is, as you say, never good to shame flying because we have to get around. If or when we harm the planet by air travel to the detriment of our children and grandchildren, in my view we should feel shame. In the case of those who don’t feel guilt, shame at how others see us is powerful and valuable. I have worked in countries where, at the time, many doctors smoked, including in healthcare premises. Now I guess that almost all would be stopped by shame. That does not mean that flying, and indeed other uses of fossil fuels, are never justified, but in a day and age when most of us take short cuts for our own convenience, though we may see it as the importance of what we do, reckoning whether a flight justifies the cost to future life on earth is a very important exercise for each of us. I expect to make one almost unavoidable return flight in the coming year and to feel guilt at doing so. And increasing car miles per gallon to at least 55 is good, but in the longer term – and indeed now for those who can afford it – it is not good enough. We will need to use electric cars as soon as possible.
HIFA profile: Stewart Britten is advisor to the British NGO, HealthProm, on its project to reduce maternal and child deaths in Northern Afghanistan. He has worked for the reduction of institutionalisation of babies and small children in Russia by introduction of parent support programmes. stewart.britten AT zen.co.uk