Join us for #FlightFree2019 Social Dec 30

Let’s have some fun. Please join us for a short global online social event December 30, 20:00-20:45 GMT (3pm-3:45pm eastern U.S.; 9pm-9:45pm in Western Europe; early morning in New Zealand).

Our plan is to catch up with some old online friends, meet some new friends, pour some wine or other beverages, and take turns proposing toasts to some of the heroes for the planet in 2019.

Theme. Building on the viral hashtags #flygfritt2019 and #FlightFree2019, we especially celebrate and encourage people who are making a new years resolution. The idea is to generate energy within our circle of committed friends at this social event Dec 30, planting the seed for bubbling conversations at our separate New Year’s Eve parties in the wider world the following night.

The webinar. With no planning required on your part, it is sufficient to follow the WebEx link below (may require approving a free software installation if it is your first time on the platform). Password is FlightFree2019. The agenda will be a series of toasts, brief words of greetings, and expressions of hope for 2019.

The wider conversation. At the same time, for multi-directional side conversations (like the chatter around the room at a cocktail party even while the MC is blabbering), let’s use hashtag #FlightFree2019 on Twitter. This may have the side effect of building momentum for New Years Eve social media the next day.

What if the party gets too big for the webinar? This may be a small gathering, where we all can talk at length. If it gets larger, I will try to note who has joined the webinar, and will do my best to serve as MC, calling on the next person for greetings and toasts in turn. It seems unnecessary to plan the agenda more formally than this. However, if it should happen that this invitation spreads, and sufficiently many people join the meeting to keep everybody from getting a chance to talk, use the chat function in WebEx and also the side Twitter conversation to offer additional comments. We can go back later and read all the threads.

Mechanical details. I will open the WebEx link 15 minutes early. If your link works and you are troubleshooting audio, use the chat window function and folks will help you. Please use the mute button whenever you are not speaking, to limit background noise. With apologies, I may also need as host to mute people if there are audio difficulties. If I do this, you can still use the raise your hand button and unmute yourself later. If possible, plan for internet access with high bandwidth. For audio, note multiple convenient WebEx options. In my experience, the best audio options are (1) telephone call-in number and (2) earphones/mic headset with good internet (but internal laptop mic has been less successful). If multiple people are in the same room, it is great if each has their own video link (because one-face-per-camera is best for seeing facial expression by webinar), but be sure to have only one audio link unmuted in each room (to avoid echo).

Broader initiatives. For personal resolutions, see Twitter #flygfritt2019 and #FlightFree2019. There is a link (in English) to record your new year’s resolution for 2019. A great site with inspiring examples of people walking the talk is Following the principle that personal resolutions are insufficient on their own, and coordinated advocacy is essential, see also our initiative for institutional change in academic communities, including petition, FAQ, and list of academic supporters.

Personal touches. We are experimenting and learning to provide webinar formats with more of the personal warmth and nuance of in-person meetings. For example, at in-person meetings we share the same food and drink. One person has already shared to the Twitter thread a recipe for vegan holiday cookies. I myself was planning to toast with a red wine from Rioja in Spain (a beloved place that I cherish in reminiscence during these years of not flying), so feel free to join me in this if it appeals to you. Also, to give a sense of place (in contrast with traditional webinars that always have an indoors office background), I will take a couple photos outside that day for possible screen-sharing, and will briefly point the webcam outside the window of our suburban Massachusetts street, and you all may do likewise if you want (I recognize it is night time in Europe).

WebEx Links:

#FlightFree2019 Social

Hosted by Parke E. Wilde

Sunday Dec 30 2:45 pm | 2 hours | (UTC-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Meeting number: 736 621 736

Password: FlightFree2019

Agenda: Social event to share the word about #flyingless initiative ( and kick off conversations about #FlightFree2019 resolutions at New Years Eve parties around the world the next night.


Join by video system


You can also dial and enter your meeting number.


Join by phone

+1-617-627-6767 US Toll

Access code: 736 621 736

Learning new languages: “Skolstrejk for Klimatet”

This fall, we find our minds occupied with new terminology from Nordic countries.

On Twitter, where the translate function is quite impressive, we read in English and Finnish from @AarneClimate about the national initiative to adapt fossil fuels consumption, including through the remarkable work of the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, and also about fly fishing as an ongoing metaphor for appreciating the simple delights of our own local communities.

From Sweden we follow the hashtags  (“I stay on the ground”), #flygskam (“flying shame”), and #flygfritt2019 (a fast-growing viral grassroots movement to not fly in 2019, recently covered by the BBC), as well as the memorable slogan (readable in English without translation) “Skolstrejk for Klimatet” from 15-year-old Greta Thunberg . Greta, a living rebuttal to the claim that one must fly by airplane to advocate effectively for climate action, writes in the Guardian this week, “The adults have failed us. And since most of them, including the press and the politicians, keep ignoring the situation, we must take action into our own hands, starting today.”

In Denmark, 650 academics (surely an astonishing fraction of the national academic workforce) have signed an open letter on university greenhouse gas emissions, including from flying, which we quote at length (eloquent in translation, and we can just imagine the original):

If we do not start a global transition to a greener society immediately the consequences will be catastrophic.

Though many researchers at Danish universities are highly active in the debate on climate change, there is at present no ambitious climate agenda across these establishments. With this letter, we strongly encourage the university management to immediately develop and implement a series of far-reaching policies to drastically reduce the universities’ carbon emissions.

The universities have a particularly heavy responsibility with regard to the implementation of an ambitious climate agenda, for three main reasons.

  • Firstly, researchers contribute to a particularly high degree of carbon emissions, especially by using air transport to travel to conferences. High emissions offer an equally large potential for reducing the researchers’ climate footprint.
  • Secondly, scientific authority is a key topic in the fight against climate skepticism. Researchers cannot expect to be taken seriously in the debate on climate change if they do not themselves implement the measures they propose. We have to put our own house in order first if we want others to listen.
  • Thirdly, the universities are ideally suited to lead the fight against climate change by developing and testing innovative, interdisciplinary and evidence-based measures for reducing carbon emissions. If new solutions are not developed at the universities, where else should they come from?

Like any other large company, the universities have an obligation to assume their share of social responsibility towards their employees and the environment.

At Lund University, where she teaches in Sweden, American scholar Kim Nicholas this fall received funding for a new research project on the rise of the social movement to stay on the ground. And, at Uppsala University in Sweden, the prominent British climate scientist and non-flyer Kevin Anderson continues his research and untamed public speaking (here is a video about his summer journey by bicycle).

One plank of our #flyingless platform is that our university communities should revisit their vision for international cultural exchange, seeking to accomplish more cross-cultural understanding with radically fewer flights, through longer and more meaningful international travels.

Really. Just think about it. What would be the point of a short academic or student visit by airplane to Scandinavia or Finland in search of cross-cultural insight, unless one is willing to truly open one’s heart to a contemporary Nordic concept such as #flygskam?

For more information about our #flyingless initiative, see the original petition textFAQ, and list of 535 academic supporters. Academics who wish to be listed may write us at


Fall 2018 #flyingless update

Here is a brief status report on our #flyingless initiative:

  • AASHE webinar. We helped organize a webinar for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) titled “The Climate-Friendly Global Academic Conference with a Human Touch.” Here are links to the webinar description and YouTube video. The wonderful speakers were Ken Hiltner (UCSB), Melissa Tier (Swarthmore), Richard Parncutt (Uni Graz), and Tina Woolston (Tufts). The webinar offers an inspiring array of methods for organizing long-distance conferences while preserving much of what is essential and delightful about in-person connections.
  • Speaking tour Michigan (Oct 31-Nov 1) and Ithaca, NY (Nov 2). Co-organizer Parke Wilde this week is taking his second Amtrak speaking tour of the year, this time to Michigan and upstate New York. In these years of not flying, it is a precious thing to meet friends in person. Please come say hello!
    • Lecture/Discussion about the 2018 Farm Bill. 11am-noon, Wed Oct 31. Michigan State University, Food Science Building 206. Lansing, MI.
    • Cost-effectiveness of sugar sweetened beverage taxes from a stakeholder perpsective. 4pm-5pm, Wed Oct 31. Michigan State University, Anthony 1135. Lansing, MI.
    • Innovations in Global Low-Carbon Academic Conferencing with a Human Touch. 10:30am-11am, Thurs Nov 1. University of Michigan, CSRB 2424. Ann Arbor, MI.
    • Cost-effectiveness of sugar sweetened beverage taxes from a stakeholder perpsective. 1:30pm-2:30pm, Fri Nov 2. Cornell University University, Warren 401. Ithaca, NY.
  • Petition update. This initiative originally got organized in 2015 around a petition to universities and professional associations, asking them to set reasonable goals and measure progress toward flying less (and yet recognizing the need to meet the critical purpose of a university in our struggling world). The online petition site now has 1451 supporters. For purposes of communicating with university leaders, we keep a list more specifically of academics, now with 514 academic signers. Look through the list! If you would like to have your name added as an academic, write
  • Other links. See the modest proposal from Michael Kraus in Medium, reflection by Leor Hackel and Gregg Sparkman in Slate, a pile of recent activity from Stay Grounded, a people’s rebellion from Monbiot in the Guardian, and a hundred more interesting links from our Twitter feed @flyingless. Keep in touch!