Scott A. Cohen & Joseph Kantenbacher (2019): Flying less: personal health and environmental co-benefits,
Journal of Sustainable Tourism, DOI: 10.1080/09669582.2019.1585442

Abstract: Recent and projected growth in global aeromobility is poised to substantially expand aviation’s contribution to anthropogenic climate change. With limited prospects for technical- or policy-based reductions in sectoral carbon emissions, behavioural shifts in the form of decreased demand for flying become increasingly important. This conceptual article introduces an innovative approach to aviation demand reduction in the form of a co-benefits approach, wherein conventional pro-environmental messaging is augmented by the articulation of the negative personal health impacts of flying. Using a critical review approach based on secondary literature, we examine frequent flying and theories of environmental behaviour change before examining how co-benefits approaches have been used in other domains. We then identify global and local environmental harms from aviation and synthesise these with the existing literature on the personal health impacts of frequent flying, which includes both physiological effects and psycho-social harms. We find that flying less would engender a much wider range of benefits for individual health, than for the environment, and that the health benefits would likely be more salient for frequent flyers than environmental benefits. We conclude that the personal nature of health impacts will add needed salience and urgency to efforts to reduce unsustainable aeromobility.

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