South Korea Jamboree raises questions about travel
Should young people be banned from travelling? Does anyone need to travel in the days of Zoom?
There is a letter in today's Guardian claiming that 4,500 scouts from the UK should not have flown for more than 11 hours to a jamboree in South Korea, creating thousands of tons of CO2 emissions, because modern technology now allows plenty of (remote) contact with people around the world.
I disagree. Real contact with foreign nations not only enriches the individuals but should be seen as a major investment in understanding and appreciation of others, leading to cooperation and long-term peace. It is how ideas are generated and shared.
However, it is a dilemma, nonetheless. The atmosphere cannot handle that carbon dioxide.
I, too, face that dilemma.
I have sold my car, I eat very little meat, I have planted trees and, by turning down the thermostat in a well insulated house, was able to make a cash profit on my fuel bills last winter.
But my business takes me to South East Asia and the Middle East. When there, I teach good governance - including climate governance - and harangue my students about their carbon economies.
Is my travel justified? Do my good habits at home compensate for the impact of flying?
I do not think they do. If something is worth doing, it is worth doing - but not as greenwashing.
I have run courses on Zoom and I sell courses on video. But they are not the same as being there, walking, talking and interacting. And they deny the additional benefit of what I bring back to the UK as a result of real experiences.
I am not alone facing this dilemma.
What do you think?