Over the last three decades, the arts and culture sector – like education, tourism and others – has been fuelled in no small part by the rise of budget airlines. Performing arts presenters, producers, artists and entourages leave flight trails across the globe as we go about our business. Yet we know this to be what we euphemistically call unsustainable (‘destructive’ would be more plain-speaking).
As the Covid pandemic grounded flights around the world, many of us sensed an opportunity to make changes to harmful habits. At the same time, against an increasingly obvious backdrop of environmental deterioration (heat records broken, then broken again), we saw and sometimes experienced more catastrophic climactic events worldwide: fires, storms, floods. Yet as we began to move beyond the pandemic’s first phase, many norms seemed simply to return. Flights began to take off again, airports to push for more runways, and airlines to argue against fuel tax.