If I had the wings of an angel

It was written in the azure sky: summer would be placed under the sign of vast enticing horizons. After having ransacked the beaches of the Gaspé and made the whales lose their breath for two years, the tourist wanders further afield. If I had the wings of an angel, I would join you because it’s irresistible, all this free publicity you do on the move, your iPhone 13 dual camera in hand.

I envy you the Moroccan souks, the hygienic visit to the banks of the Seine, the nostalgic knell of the Venetian church, the Californian restaurant hidden in the vineyards, the Mexican or Barcelona beach, the Istanbul wedding, Slovenia or Hérault. Ah the Hérault! Far from the flabby, bleating crowds. “The beaches between Frontignan and the Camargue. The countryside around Pézenas and Clermont-l’Hérault. Olive oil. Swimming in the Hérault near the Devil’s Bridge,” writes Simon, a Michelin follower.

I envy you everything, especially the cataract of carelessness. What freedom! Your elsewhere makes me dream. It’s wonderful to finally be able to escape in turbo mode, get away from the smoked glass, change the upholstery without ulterior motives. That said, wherever you go, there you are. I console myself with that.

In addition, you had to deal with the mess at the passport office, the waits, the searches, the aerial claustrophobia, the luggage. Courage, let’s flee! A tour operator said in The Press : “It’s madness right now, every week, a record. »

The ” staycation “, it will be for another time. I don’t recommend Spain this week (40 Celsius in the shade) and the same “abnormal” hot flash erupted in France at the end of the week. Water is rationed — one third of France — (let them drink champagne!), the risk of fire is extreme and the farmers are already struggling. Blame it on global warming. That shouldn’t calm us down.

Unless we read Fidgeting, new evil of the century? of Laurent Castaignède, a French engineer resurrected as an environmental impact advisor on transport issues. It is not a summer read, nor a reading of any rest, nor a reading of travel. On the other hand, it is a very fair reading of the spirit of the times.

The wanderlust isn’t what it used to be

We learn in particular that the air passenger travels three times more distance than in 1950, for a total of 30 billion kilometers increased to 9000 billion in 2019. I calculated that a single return flight Montreal-Paris ( or Montreal-San Francisco) would be worth the equivalent in GHGs of driving 15,000 kilometres, or the average of one year.

We can always say that airlines are flying empty (ghost flights) so as not to lose their take-off slot, as they did during the pandemic. Might as well fill them in, right? The plane is the latest modern toy on which the rich will not want to negotiate their enormous carbon footprint. At no price. It’s Jules Verne’s fault.

“The itinerant epidemic has now turned into a real pandemic,” writes Laurent Castaignède, who may not know that the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) has just launched a program that annually reimburses each Quebecer for three round-trip flights on Quebec soil, up to $500. The windfall.

The author talks bluntly about addiction and acute avionitis. And to ease your conscience to no avail: “Carbon compensation for your flight for just a few extra pennies, bioclimatic terminal, electric ground vehicles, compostable on-board crockery, etc. »

Take advantage of it, one day very soon, you will no longer be able to publish selfies of your scenery in front of the Eiffel Tower or Lake Como without getting shamer on social networks, the so-called travel shaming. I already know eco-anxious people who travel incognito, a little ashamed but unable to resist the dopamine of movement and planting a few fir trees that won’t have time to capture carbon before 2030, or that will burn in a drought.

Flight over a cuckoo’s nest

While waiting to travel using virtual reality headsets, the human being will have time to move a lot of air. If we are to believe Sébastien Bohler (I told you about his excellent book Where is the meaning?a year ago), neurobiologist and editor-in-chief of the French journal Brain & Psychoour dangerous species has adopted psychopathic behaviors for its host, the planet.

His last try HumanPsycho, don’t go with a plastic straw to make us swallow the potion. “The psychopathic nature of humanity rests on four fundamental characteristics: oversized ego, manipulation, lack of empathy and irresponsibility. Any treatment that aims for a result will have to address these four symptoms. “And we are already short of shrinks…

Basically, we only think about ourselves, never imagining that there are eight billion of us doing the same. A harmless gesture repeated as many times becomes a suicidal plan on a planetary scale. “The human ego is as great as its merit is small,” writes Bohler, who harbors more admiration for earthworms than for his fellows.

In its way of acting towards the biosphere, animal species, forests or natural resources, the species Homo Sapiens almost never asks itself the question of the consequences.

And he bangs on the media obsessed with “positive news” for all that concerns the future collapse of the living. “A psychopath doesn’t adapt. He persists. Until the end,” writes the neurobiologist. See again Don’t look up. cosmic denial. We won’t listen to him either.

To cure it, it would be necessary to activate the anticipatory function of our orbitofrontal cortex. Bohler points out that “the cost of disaster-related warming is now $250 billion a year and could reach $1.7 trillion a year by 2025.” In three years… the CAQ will maintain the status quo.

Millions of people wander their search for meaning, love and intensity from one terminal to another, in full cognitive dissonance. One day, I too will give in, out of mimicry, out of envy, out of nostalgia, out of boredom, charmed by your invitations or an essential report, I will join you for a last lap, because I don’t want to be virtuous and to be alone on the tarmac, barnak.

In the meantime, to console myself, I will go to the Grand Prix.


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If I had the wings of an angel