Elisabet Staf wants her children and grandchildren to be able to have a good life and not be forced to live in a world characterised by disasters and diseases. She feels that few in her generation think the same. "If you go to a 50th or 60th birthday party, all the talk is about Thai trips and apartments in Spain,” Elisabet says.
Elisabet Staf grew up on a farm and has always been concerned about the environment. "It is not possible to run a farm if you do not look after the land.” Today she works in IT but her environmental commitment is substantial. Elisabeth feels that there are few in her generation who are environmentally conscious.
"There are many who love red meat, and if you go to a 50th or 60th birthday party, all that talk about Thai trips and apartments in Spain makes you crazy".
Why do you think that is? Your generation did not have such abundance while growing up, did you?
“Since I grew up on a dairy farm with dairy cows, we almost never left home. But very few people in our environment went abroad in the 70s. The idea of getting on a plane and shopping for duty-free came in the 80s, so it has actually only been going on for 20-30 years. It feels like “nouveau riche” behaviour. Flying is cheap, and you want to go somewhere hot for your holiday.”
Elisabet believes, however, that the reason most people do not do more for the climate is ignorance. They don't understand that we are in a climate crisis. She is very concerned about what the future will be like for her children and grandchildren.
“When you yourself have children and grandchildren, you want them to have a good world, a world which is not characterised by diseases, floods and other disasters. You want them to have a good life, able to fall in love and have a family and a job.”
When did you decide to stop flying?
“In 2016, when we had been to South Africa. I read somewhere about how bad flying is for the climate and I came to the realisation that "this is not sustainable!". I was not aware that flying was so damaging before then, it has not been heard of so much before. ”
Elisabet says that she made the decision on her own, but that several in her family, who first thought she was a bit foolish, have now started to take the train themselves, and also to eat less meat. Elisabet wants to be a role model and tries to influence people in other contexts by talking about her decision not to fly. On Orust, the island where she lives, many know her because she used to run a shop, is active in various associations, started up many local projects and runs a local newspaper.
“I write a chronicle every month and I often mention the climate. On the one hand, I write about nature, but I also share how much I worry about the future. So I try to get the message out when and where I have the opportunity: at work, in my network, in the newspaper and in everyday life with friends and relatives. I hope I succeed with that."
Elisabet wants to join and inspire more to join Flight free 2019 and has joined the ‘We stay on the ground’ local group in Gothenburg. "It feels fun with a group, I think we can strengthen each other," Elisabet says.
We Stay on the Ground
We Stay on the Ground
Translated by Ingrid Hesser