I will have to find an elephant costume - what a brilliant idea! We should have herds of elephants stampeding the airports. Tom Bennion has blended the notion of the unspeakable elephant in the room with the dire need to take direct action. The rest is from his website, StopFlying:
Wellington lawyer Tom Bennion feels so strongly that we need to act on climate change, that he is taking to the streets dressed as an elephant.
Mr Bennion will walk along Lambton Quay,... asking people to stop flying.
"Climate change is a very dangerous problem which we need to talk about," he says.
"We still have time to fix it but we must take urgent action. My message is: let’s talk about the quite big but doable steps we need to take."
He says stopping all but essential flying is the biggest single change people can make to reduce their personal emissions. A trip to Europe produces around 12 tonnes of CO2e, easily exceeding an entire year’s household emissions from all other sources, including car use. Even a trip to Australia or the Pacific Islands produces around a tonne of carbon per person. And cutting out flying is far easier for families and individuals than trying to do without a car, cutting heating etc.
Why are you dressed as an elephant?
"In the recent Australian election a climate elephant made its appearance at some of the candidates’ press and photo ops. I liked the idea of the elephant in the room. It gets the message across in a simple and friendly fashion."
Are you part of an organisation?
'This is a personal initiative. But there are hundreds of people who are cutting back on flying out of concern about climate change.'
Why flying? Why not driving or changing lightbulbs?
"A trip to Europe produces around 12 tonnes of CO2e, easily exceeding an entire year’s household emissions from all other sources, including car use (about 2 tonnes per annum). Even a trip to Australia or the Pacific Islands produces around a tonne of carbon per person. And cutting out flying is far easier for families and individuals than trying to do without a car, cutting heating etc.
Cutting out flying also sends a clear message to governments that people are ready for urgent steps to be taken at the national and international level to stabilise the climate."
What do you hope to achieve?
"There is a lot of frustration about how to raise public understanding about the short time we have to act. I am hoping that meeting an elephant with a “stop flying” sign will generate discussion about the steps that we have to take today."
Are you serious?
"Yes. I think that there is a special responsibility on professions that deal directly with climate issues to tell people how urgent this issue has become. This seemed to me to be the most direct way to do that."