Between the discussion of climate change advancing towards us, the implementation of extra airfare pricings, and the grueling travel process that’s growing longer and longer, the concept of flying to a destination has people wondering about alternatives. Well, there have been more advancements in renewable energy sourcing, such as using green hydrogen and electric power, and many airlines transferring over to these sources in the near future. But, this is not enough for many avid travelers, in fact many have petitioned to sign off on the skies. 

One particular individual, Dan Castrigano, a former teacher, signed a pledge in 2020 to eliminate his travel by air. During his time as a teacher in Burlington, Vermont, he spent an extensive amount of time traveling, but his concerns grew heavily over the past five years. Castrigano and his wife have not been on a flight since 2019, and has transferred his transportation methods over to biking. If an opportunity for a longer distance travel destination, trains will be their choice of mobility. In 2021, Castrigano settled in, in his new role as Chief Content Officer at SubjecttoClimate, a non-profit organization that provides climate related education resources. 

“I choose to stay grounded because it aligns with what is true. The climate is breaking down,” stated Castrigano. “I would love to visit every place on Earth, but my mental health would be poor if I were to fly.” 

Back in 2020, Castrigano signed a pledge with Flight Free USA to not travel by airplanes that year, but has annually renewed that pledge since. This pledge has gotten great publicity over the years and in 2022, 365 new people signed on and now has reached over 450! Flight Free UK is popular mainly in Australia, Britain, and across Europe. Flight Free USA’s creator, Ariella Granett believes that those who fly should be fully aware of the pollution they are contributing to and the effects that will have on our planet. Granett also believes that the aviation industry should not go net-zero because it allows travelers to think the problem is ultimately solved and the atmospheric carbon is erased. She wants to build a practice off of traveler’s guilt rather than obliviousness to the actual problem. 

“I actually think it would be better for people to fly without offsets but be aware of the pollution they’re making, rather than just thinking, ‘Oh, I solved that problem,’ ” stated Granett. 

This way of thinking can be seen as risky in this day and age, with our minds so far deep into finding viable solutions to the climate crisis. But, people like Castigano and his wife continuously combating pollution and educating others on the importance of preserving our air and planet, bring a greater hope for those smaller communities.