Burning up the runway
I often think Facebook is paid by tourism companies to mock my office existence and exaggerate how often my “friends” are on overseas holidays. But ABS figuressuggest Australians really are crossing customs at climate changing rates.
Australians flew overseas 9.3 million times in the 12 months to September 2015. That’s almost 800,000 departures per month. Or in Facebook terms, you can expect more than 3 out of every 100 Aussie friends to travel overseas this month: that’s a myriad mates munching at the Marrakesh markets; a bunch of selfies from Boracay’s beautiful beaches; and the occasional insightfully witticism of the commercialist culture capturing Kolkata.
Australians have long been early adopters of international flights. The first England to Australia flight took place almost a century ago, in 1919 (taking 28 days). Overseas flights, however, have really taken off in the last decades. The number of Australians flying overseas has doubled since 2006, and increased ten-fold since 1977. Accounting for the population grow, trips per capita have doubled since 2004, and grown six-fold since 1977.
There are many ways of interpreting these figures, depending on what angle / lens / issue you care to focus on.
We could suggest that whilst Australians (according to pop media) are deeply concerned about economic instability and slowing wage rises, they have nonetheless increased their international holidays by 50% per capita since the Global Financial Crisis.
We could similarly insinuate that whilst Australians’ concern for climate change leads them to implement strategies focusing on everyday impacts, they may be undoing all their efforts by ignoring the growth of big ticket items. (The CO2 emissions from a Melbourne to London return flight equate to the yearly emissions per capita for the UK.)
Or we could just say “look mum, I’m holding up the Tower of Pisa!” (AGAIN!)