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Flying into climate change

Is there such a thing as sustainable travel?

Every year, increasing numbers of us are jetting off on city breaks that take us to opposite sides of the UK, weekend trips to Europe and far-flung and exotic backpacking destinations around the world. Technological and vehicular progress has meant that moving between cities or countries has become easier than ever, and as more low-cost airlines come into being, more people are becoming able to travel — but the planet is paying the price for humanity’s love of exploration.

Project Drawdown ( estimates that there are more than 20,000 aeroplanes in use worldwide, serving 3.7 billion passengers annually. By 2040, they report that there will be over 50,000 planes in service, which are expected to be bigger, carry more people, and fly more often. As a result, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts that the number of passengers will rise to 7.2 billion by 2035. Like the numbers of planes and passengers, the damage to the planet will also rise.

What are the damages?

When jet fuel is burned, carbon in the fuel is released and bonds with oxygen in the air, creating carbon dioxide. Burning jet fuel also releases water vapour, sulphate, nitrous oxides, soot, and contrails (the plumes of exhaust seen in the sky behind planes, formed when water vapour from fuel condenses at high altitudes).

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About Vegan Life

Welcome to our June issue. It’s my favourite time of year, when hot days and warm evenings, beach trips and long walks fill our time. And with all the joy that summer brings, it’s the perfect time to gather your friends and advocate in the best way possible — with fantastic food. It was this time last year that I hosted a BBQ at my own house, and served my omni friends an entirely vegan menu (including my first ever bash at vegan mac’n’cheese). It was a great success and triggered some of my friends into making more animal and planet-friendly decisions when doing their food shops. We’ve put together everything you need to host your own BBQ bonanza (p40) — from food, drinks and sauces to ice cream and hosting tips — so your summer gathering will be both delicious and memorable. Not all experiences with non-vegans are so positive. The topic of ‘vegaphobia’, or hatred towards vegans, has been floating around Vegan Life HQ. As an office full of vegans, most of us have experienced some kind of backlash or negativity — I myself have been shouted at in public, for merely stating my vegan point of view. We asked you about your own experiences of this phenomenon (p68) and your answers were illuminating — one woman was even turned down a job because of her veganism. It seems that despite so much progress, some people still take task with us choosing a peaceful way of life. Jessie Keogh covers how to deal with these testing situations on p120. Have a great month,

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