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Fly Less!

Nov 1, 2022
photo of a plane flying diagonally in a deep blue sky, with contrails

Whoso cleaveth to justice, can, under no circumstances, transgress the limits of moderation. … The civilization, so often vaunted by the learned exponents of arts and sciences, will, if allowed to overleap the bounds of moderation, bring great evil upon men. … If carried to excess, civilization will prove as prolific a source of evil as it had been of goodness when kept within the restraints of moderation. … The day is approaching when its flame will devour the cities, …

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh

Flying less is probably the most effective action we can take as individuals to lower our impact on the climate. For example, avoiding an international flight from New York City to London is comparable to the effect of eating vegan for two years. (Vegan means to not eat any animal products such as meat and dairy.) (1)

Flying is also an issue of inequity: The great majority of the world’s population does not fly–they cannot afford it. However, just about 1% of the world population, the frequent flyers, are responsible for more than half of the total emissions from passenger air travel.(2) Economically less advantaged people on the other hand suffer the most from the impacts of climate change such as worsening water scarcity, droughts, heat waves, wildfires, floods, and storms. Every little bit of global warming results in significantly more serious climate disruption which cause deaths and much suffering for many people living today, and even more for future generations.

While there are still some compelling reasons for flying, with love for humanity in our hearts we can no longer fly for mere pleasure.


(1) Frequent fliers are a problem for the planet. Should they pay more? (The Washington Post)

(2) Gössling S. and A. Humpe “The global scale, distribution and growth of aviation: Implications for climate change


Christine Muller, Teacher of Music and the Environment

Board Secretary, International Environment Forum

I was interested in environmental issues already at a young age and became a Bahá’í when I was 17, which was the beginning of a life-long study of the Bahá’í Faith. As the environmental crisis was worsening, I began to systematically study climate change at a time when not much information was easily available. I also searched the Bahá’í teachings for a spiritual solution to the climate crisis. At that time, climate change was not known to most people and there were no educational materials available. That’s why I wrote Scientific and Spiritual Dimensions of Climate Change – an Interfaith Study Course, which the International Environment Forum posted in 2009. I joined the Wilmette Institute as support faculty for its Sustainable Development course in 2011 and created its Climate Change course the following year. I also teach a course on climate change for the Environmental Sciences Department of the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE) in Iran. I have served on the board of RI Interfaith Power&Light for more than a decade. In recent years, much of my time is spent serving the Bahá’í-inspired International Environment Forum ( as its secretary.  My formal academic background is in music, and I enjoy part-time piano teaching, playing and - when there is time - composing music. A recent composition is Humans on Earth – a Ballad of Our Time for two singers, string orchestra, piano, and percussion. Its lyrics include quotations from scientific sources and the Bahá’í Writings. Christine’s articles on BahaiTeachings.orgSee Faculty Bio


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