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LETTER: Langley resident cherishes old-fashioned family vacations over flashy tourist destinations

Public’s yearning for long-distance vacations has an environmental impact
“Family vacations” have evolved from road trips to see relations to travelling to international tourist destinations, one letter writer says. (Black Press Media files)

Dear Editor,

When did vacations requiring flight become commonplace?

I grew up in the 1960s and ‘70s where my (annual) vacation usually involved a dusty two-day car trip to my aunt and uncle’s farm. No, I didn’t get to ski Aspen or visit a Greek ruin, but I did learn to ride a (very old) horse, and develop deep lifelong bonds with my cousins. I wouldn’t have traded those summers for a thousand five star vacations.

Recent studies show that air travel is responsible for a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions, yet only a small percentage of the world’s population flies. If the world’s poor had access to air travel, I daresay the planet would spontaneously combust. It’s the more privileged folk who contribute to the lionshare of carbon emissions from air travel. Let’s not get started on cruise ships.

One suggestion to help tackle air travel emissions is flight rationing. There would undoubtedly be a myriad of wrinkles to iron out, but this is the basic concept: Every citizen would be allocated the same number of air travel miles. Those who don’t use theirs could pass them on to those who do. The total number of miles would be gradually reduced to meet targets.

Many popular destinations are virtually becoming unlivable for locals and tourists alike, because of suffocating population density during peak tourist seasons. Some are considering capping the number of tourists allowed during these popular times. Closing off culturally or environmentally sensitive areas or mandatory pre-booked reservations are also being considered.

If happiness truly is intrinsic, then extrinsic pursuits like the shiny car, boat or big vacation might not be the answer. The paraphrase a popular quote: The longest journey you will make in your life is from your head to your heart.

Michelle Matich, Langley Township


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