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How going flight-free can save the planet – and change how you see the world
Flint Books is to publish Zero Altitude: How I Learned to Fly Less and Travel More by Helen Coffey, the travel editor of the Independent. Commissioning editor Simon Wright acquired UK & Commonwealth rights from Northbank non-fiction agent Martin Redfern. Publication is scheduled for May 2022.
In recent decades, private jets have become status symbols for the world’s wealthiest, while quick and easy flights have brought far-flung destinations within the reach of everyone. But at what cost to the environment?
Around the world, flying emits about 860 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, and until the outbreak of Covid-19, the aviation industry was one of the planet’s fastest-growing polluters. Now is the perfect time to pause and take stock of our toxic relationship with flying.
Part climate-change investigation, part travel memoir, Zero Altitude follows Helen as she journeys as far as she can in the course of her job as a top travel journalist – all without getting on a single flight. Between trips by train, car, boat and bike, she meets climate experts and activists at the forefront of the burgeoning flight-free movement. Over the course of her travels, she discovers that keeping both feet on the ground is not only possible but that it can be an exhilarating opportunity for adventure. Her book is brimming with tips and ideas for swapping the middle seat for the open road.
Wright said: ‘The response to Helen’s commitment to sustainable travel journalism at the Independent has been incredible. In her joyous first book she shares her flight-free travel adventures with characteristic wit and infectious enthusiasm. We at Flint Books can’t wait to publish it.’
Coffey said: ‘What started as an offbeat New Year’s resolution – to travel as much as possible without flying – quickly turned into one of the biggest challenges and most exciting adventures of my life. It also lit a passion in me to try to convince as many fellow travel lovers as possible that staying grounded is not only totally doable, but offers a whole new world of experiences you simply don’t get at 30,000 feet. I’m delighted that Simon and the team at Flint will be publishing Zero Altitude.’