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Increasing Flights at Leeds Bradford Airport

My local airport is Leeds Bradford.


I've used the airport several times for holidays. I love to travel, with previous trips to Thailand and Canada being particular highlights.



Tonight, I'm on ITV's calendar programme to contribute to a brief section about the plans to increase the number of flights at Leeds Bradford Airport.


I maintain that it is unethical to expand and that, in fact, we should decrease the number of flights, not only at Leeds Bradford Airport but across the world.


I no longer fly.


In this blog post, I seek to explain why.



Leeds Bradford Airport is on the 'Route to 2030' plan, which aims to allow the facility to increase its annual passenger capacity from four million to seven million by 2030. This expansion will create jobs and enable thousands more people to enjoy affordable flights to holiday destinations.


The story of the 'Route to 2030' and the story of all Leeds residents are unfolding within the context of climate breakdown. Global temperatures are already 1.2 degrees above preindustrial levels and are wreaking havoc across the globe through floods and fires.


However, things are set to get a whole lot worse, as we are on a trajectory to reach 2.7 degrees above preindustrial temperatures—a world of mass migration, mass starvation, and societal collapse.


In the words of the UN Secretary-General, 'We are on the highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.'


These rising temperatures are undoubtedly caused by human beings through the burning and use of fossil fuels. We must avert the worst of what may come and reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and carbon-intensive lifestyles.


This is where flying and airports come into play, as emissions from aviation are a significant contributor to climate change.


As we fly, we produce greenhouse gases.

Greenhouse gases cause heat to be trapped in the atmosphere. Temperatures rise, resulting in more suffering through droughts, floods, and fires.


Aviation accounts for 2-5% of global warming and is one of the fastest-growing industries. Furthermore, only 10% of the world's population has ever boarded a plane, and only 1% of people cause half of global aviation emissions. What does this mean?


It means that the majority of the world's population will suffer the consequences of a minority—a minority that often flies for pleasure to reach holiday destinations.


Given all this, the very real risk of societal collapse and an increase in the world's most vulnerable suffering- those who suffer the most from climate breakdown are typically those who have contributed the least- it is not ethically justified to expand the aviation industry.


Leading experts in the fields of Science and Technology concur that we currently lack the scalable technology required to achieve sustainable aviation without significant greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, there are no large-scale methods available to effectively offset our aviation emissions.


In a nutshell aviation contributes to climate breakdown.


We need to take our dire current situation seriously.


We face an extistential threat.


We must, in order to avoid a catastrophic future, take our foot off the carbon accelerator and challenge the notion of frequent flights for pleasure and the financial interests of the airline industry.


In order to have a liveable future we need to fly less and the aviation industry needs to shrink.


Last year I wrote a prayer about flying. As you can see it recognises the complexity of flying less in our globally connected world.


29. Fly Away


Father of Creation ,

God of Faithfulness,

If we ascend up into heaven,

You are there:

and if we make our bed in hell,

you are there.

We have made our climate bed,

It is hell

And we may well lie in it.

But you are there, and

You are here.

To you be all praise and glory


As temperatures rise you are there,

As sea levels rise you are there.


Comforting,

Loving,

You offer Proximity and Presence.

Challenging,

Beckoning,

You offer Proximity and Presence.


Father of Creation

God of Faithfulness,

If were to take the wings of the morning,

And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

Even there Your hand shall lead us

And Your right hand shall hold us,

To you be praise and glory


We have travelled to the uttermost part of the sea,

As sons and daughters into the far country,

We have followed the siren song of consumerist delight, and now,

We reap what we have sown, and

Without help we will be dashed against the rocks.

But even here you hold us.

To you be praise and glory


As temperatures rise,

You hold us.


As sea levels rise

You hold us.


Comforting,

Loving,

Offering us Proximity and Presence.


Challenging,

Beckoning

Offering us Proximity and Presence.


If we had the wings of a bird we would fly away,

Away from the grief,

Away from the hurt,

Away from the existential threat which humanity faces.

But we don’t have wings and are bound to frail flesh.

But in our grief, hurt and danger,

You are there and your hand will guide us


Loving,

Comforting,

Offering Proximity and Presence.


Challenging,

Beckoning,

Offering Proximity and Presence.


And so we lift up to you,

The foolish decisions from councils, corporations and governments, to

Expand airports &

Expand flights,

Despite the sure and certain knowledge that, as it currently stands,

Such a choice plunges us further into the catastrophic and choppy waters

Of runaway climate breakdown,

Lord, have mercy.

Bring repentance and recalibration,

We pray.


In our foolishness

Love us and comfort us.

Lord, have mercy


In our foolishness

Challenge and Beckon us

Afresh to

To the beautiful dream,

The better story

In which our desire for overseas holidays,

Does not outweigh our commitment for justice, peace and the flourishing of all.


And so we lift up to you,

Our temptations and desires,

To travel the world and behold the wonder

Knowing that, as it stands, our flights support an industry that brings destruction.

When we did not know, we could not act.

Now we know, we must act,

We must perform and participate in a kingdom manner

That does justice and loves mercy.


In our foolishness,

Love us and comfort us.

Lord, have mercy


In our foolishness

Challenge and Beckon us afresh

To the beautiful dream,

The better story

In which our desire for overseas holidays

Does not outweigh our commitment for justice, peace and the flourishing of all.


And so we pray for those who fly

For family reasons, business or recreation,

Those who fly knowingly

Or unknowingly in the context of climate breakdown,

We ask that we would not judge,

Lest we be judged.

We ask that we would be peaceable and loving.

Lord, have mercy


For families torn between affordable holidays abroad and expensive holidays at home,

Lord, have mercy.


For families torn between those who fly and those who won’t,

Lord, have mercy


Father of Creation,

God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

If we were to take the wings of the morning,

And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

Even there Your hand shall lead us

And Your right hand shall hold us,

To you be praise and glory


Amen

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