Meet the former pilot working to reduce climate pollution from planes

3 Nov, 2023

👨‍✈️ Meet the former pilot working to reduce climate pollution from planes

🛬 Todd Smith’s organization, Safe Landing, connects people in the aviation industry to advocate for solutions.

🌤️ I loved the feeling of being up in the sky. Both the tranquillity and the vastness of being in the air and looking down at our beautiful planet.

👷 Safe Landing is a group of aviation workers who are campaigning for long-term employment. We do this by challenging industry leaders to conform with climate science and reject dangerous growth. The group essentially grew organically.

🌍 Primarily we were there just to support each other when so many people in the industry were not willing to speak or to look at this. And there’s a bit of a paradox there because as pilots, we’re trained to think free from bias, to mitigate risk, to preserve life. And yet the evidence was clear from mainstream scientists that the trajectory that we were on was not going to ensure a livable future. And certainly, there wasn’t enough carbon budget for aviation to continue growing at the rate that’s forecast. We believe that if we continue to grow the industry unabated, then essentially a lot of destinations are going to become unvisitable.

🔥 We’ve already seen airports underwater, wildfires affecting the airports. We’ve seen increased severe turbulence, heat waves affecting performance of aircraft, massive thunderstorms causing delays throughout days or weeks on end, and this is only set to get worse.

✈️ We need to really turn this ship around. At Safe Landing we believe that we all want to get to our destination when we get on a flight, but if at any point during the flight we encountered a problem which could impact the safety of a flight, then we would divert onto a safe trajectory. And we really feel that we need to change course as quickly as possible, and right now, the only thing we can do is fly less, and we need to ensure that workers from baggage handlers, air traffic controllers, cabin crew, etc, are supported through that transition.

What we’ve seen historically — through the short-term thinking of board members, CEOs and politicians — is that they don’t care about the longevity of our career. But the workers do, so we really want to empower the workforce. So we’re championing the idea of a Workers’ Assembly, where workers from across the sector would come together, to fully understand from key stakeholders — both for and against climate action — what’s happening, the limits of technology.

We believe that people make common-sense decisions when they’re provided with the facts.

We don’t believe that we have all the answers, but we do think critical thinking is key.

🛬 the climate and biodiversity crisis are going to get much worse. There is always going to be an essential need for aviation, so there is a lot of work to be done.

👉 Full article here: https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2023/11/Meet-the-former-pilot-working-to-reduce-climate-pollution-from-planes

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