‘Flight shame’ website Shameplane shows how much Arctic ice is melted by air travel


New website spells out emissions toll on global climate and calls for adopting eco-friendly behaviour such as going vegetarian or living car-free for a year

Reuters |

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An economy flight from Hong Kong to London melts 10.2 square metres of Arctic ice, according to Shameplane.

Getting ready to fly from Hong Kong to London for your studies? That will be 10.2 square metres of Arctic ice down the drain, thank you. Enjoy your flight.

Such statistics detailing the environmental damage caused by jet setting, or even just business travel, are the stuff of a new website, Shameplane.com. The site aims to calculate how much Arctic sea ice melt a traveller’s flight causes.

The website has been visited by people from 120 countries since its creation in March this year. It is spreading the Swedish-born concept of “flygskam”, or “flight shame”, by exposing the environmental toll of just one person’s plane trip, co-creator Victor Muller said on Wednesday.

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But Muller said he, in fact, created the site for himself, to ease his anxiety over “flygskam”, and never anticipated its popularity.

So far the site has seen 30,000 visitors, from Kyrgyzstan to South Sudan and the Caribbean island of Martinique.

“It was just for me,” Muller, 35, who lives in Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, said, adding “It was never intended to shame anyone”, despite its name.

Each flight will cause Arctic Ice to melt, according to Shameplane.com.
Photo: Denis Sinyakov/Greenpeace

And in fact it’s not even only about air travel.

Adopting environmentally conscious behaviour such as rejecting meat or living car-free for a year will cut the estimate for that trip by about sixty-five per cent through emissions reduction, according to Shameplane.

But true to form, backlash has been part of the itinerary, with a handful of people emailing the designer to express offence at being shamed over large corporate emitters, Muller said.

Sea ice melt in the Arctic, home to the North Pole, is occurring as it warms at about double the average rate for the Earth overall.