The number of airplane flights worldwide continues to grow and is one of the many drivers of climate change. This book examines the aviation industry from an anthropological perspective, focusing on the sector’s environmental impact and the challenges facing attempts to shift to more sustainable solutions. Hans Baer outlines how airplanes have become a key component of modern cultural and social life, and how the world system has become increasingly dependent on them to function. He critically examines current efforts to mitigate the climatic impact of the air travel and argues for a significant move away from air transport, suggesting that such a shift may only be achieved through a more fundamental change in the world system.
"Flying was a dream of humanity for millennia before turning into reality and, soon enough, an environmental nightmare. This book by Hans Baer is probably the closest we get to the full story of aviation, tracing its origins and cultural significance, using data ranging from ethnography to statistics, and providing a lucid, convincing analysis of environmental impacts and possible remedies. Obligatory reading for frequent flyers, highly recommended to everybody else."
- Thomas Hylland Eriksen, University of Oslo
1. The Political Economy of Aircraft
2. Airports: Nodes or Loci of Economic Development and Sociality?
3. Cultural Tropes Associated with Aeromobility
4. The Impact of Airplanes on the Environment and Climate Change
5. Who is Being Transported by Airplanes
6. Efforts to Make Airplanes and Airports More Environmentally Sustainable
7. Alternatives to Flying: Individual and Collective Strategies
8. Airplanes, Sustainable Transportation, and the Future of Humanity