Pilot quits his dream job because of aviation’s impact on climate change

A pilot, Todd Smith, could no longer deny that he’d been in denial. And that changed everything. He delved deeper into climate science and the carbon footprint of flight. He learned that the industry is responsible for more than 2% of global emissions and that of the 80% of people who have never been on a plane, many are disproportionately affected by climate change. “I was struck by the injustice of it all. Especially since half of those emissions are generated by 1% of the population,” he said. Samuel Webb discusses why Todd Smith made such a career change in an article on The Independent website.

 

Pilot quits flying because of ‘injustice’ of climate crisis

A former pilot has opened up about quitting the aviation industry after he learned about the climate damage caused by flying.

Todd Smith, from London, flew holidaymakers across Europe for three years before a gut inflammation temporarily grounded him in 2018.

A doctor advised him to quit eating meat and he agreed to a plant-based diet, leading him to investigate the way animal farming affects the environment.

Intrigued, the former electrician then began investigating climate science and the carbon footprint of plane travel, which is responsible for more than 2 per cent of global emissions and tried to talk to colleagues about his fears.

He told German news site DW: “I was struck by the injustice of it all. Especially since half of those emissions are generated by 1 per cent of the population.”

“At the time, Greta Thunberg was the focus of all these vile comments. I actually think the industry felt really threatened by her. She was walking the walk.”

He joined the Extinction Rebellion protest movement, and eventually became a spokesperson for the movement.

Todd has also set up an organisation called Safe-Landing with other aviation workers who share his fears to pressure industry leaders to “conform with climate science and reject dangerous growth”.

“With the remaining carbon budget we have, we can’t continue to double air traffic every 15 years, like we have historically,” he said.

“We want to empower aviation workers to understand that we need to fly less if we want to ensure a long-term future in the industry,” he said.

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