Are we really praising Holland for flying commercial? - GulfToday

Are we really praising Holland for flying commercial?

Private jets are adding tremendous amount of carbon in our environment.

Private jets are adding tremendous amount of carbon to our environment.

Emma Clarke, The Independent

Poor celebs. It can’t be easy being in the firing line all the time. Gone are the days when A-listers could say offensive things, appropriate different cultures and do as they please without fear of being “cancelled”.

Hell, they can’t even bask in their immense wealth and take their bejewelled, monogrammed PJs (private jets) to go get their groceries anymore! No, they now have to slum it with the rest of us and fly — *shudder* — commercial.

Seemingly learning from the backlash Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott, Drake and Taylor Swift have faced in recent weeks over their carbon footprints, the Internet’s Boyfriend, Tom Holland, decided to do his bit for the planet when travelling almost 5,000 miles on a regular flight from New York to Budapest to see his girlfriend Zendaya, who is currently shooting the latest Dune instalment.

Fans have since heaped on the praise, lauding the Spiderman star for his “eco-friendly” and “grounded” approach to travel. What’s more, one TikTokker even shared a snap of the actor knitting. Knitting! Don’t get me wrong; I love Mr Zendaya. I think he’s a good actor, clearly he’s a top-tier partner, and, yes, it’s refreshing to see that fame hasn’t gone to his head. My issue isn’t with Tom — at all. I don’t think this was a PR stunt, so much as it was just an example of the kinda lad he is.

My issue with this ridiculous “story” is that we’ve reached a point where we’re actually congratulating celebrities (who, in spite of their insane amounts of money, designer clothes and lavish mansions, are mere mortals) for doing the bare minimum. It’s not even like commercial flights are environmentally friendly, they’re just the lesser of two evils.

According to a 2021 report by campaign group Transport & Environment, a single private jet can emit two metric tons of CO2 in just an hour. To put that into the perspective, the study states that the average person in the EU emits 8.2 tCO2eq over the course of an entire year.

Meanwhile, according to the Air Transport Action Group (Atag), commercial liners such as the Boeing 787, Airbus A380 and A220 aircrafts use less than three litres of jet fuel per 100 passenger kilometres. In other words, private jets are hella bad for the environment, but flying in general is seriously detrimental to our planet.

Now, I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy travel. I love nothing more than escaping the dreary greyness of the UK to explore pastures new. Travel is enriching; it not only broadens our knowledge and understanding of different cultures, it deepens our empathy and connection to our global community and the natural world. It is one of the biggest contributors to local economies and, frankly, a world in which travel isn’t permitted (as many of us learnt in the pandemic) is a bleak world indeed. But travel is also a privilege — and one which shouldn’t be taken lightly. One of the biggest challenges travellers face is offsetting their carbon footprint while adventuring. We want to relish the beauty of our planet without jeopardising its future. So, while it is perfectly reasonable to coo over Tom and Zendaya, and shed a tear at their adorable stroll around the capital of Hungary, it’s utter nonsense to hone in on the fact he flew commercial. It’s embarrassing and depressing to be lifting these examples up to the light. I’m sure Tom doesn’t want to be praised for doing a very standard thing, either.

Instead, we should continue to call out those who are taking obscene measures to kill our planet — celebrities and politicians alike. We should invest in solutions that enable us to travel greener. We also need to stop glorifying tacky modes of transport as a status symbol.

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