One of the powers of participative media is to broadcast social struggles far beyond their immediate surroundings, providing a space for community solidarity to flourish even among those unaffected by the hardship at hand.
Yet this solidarity, often candidly expressed as a badge of honour on social media, falls short of qualifying for activism – although many would like to think that by proclaiming their commitment to a cause, they are essential to its progress. There is an oft-overlooked difference between hopes and principles.
Principles are proven by being put to the test; the whole point is that you stick to them even when it would be easier to do otherwise. A principle takes precedence over other considerations, most commonly in a consumer society: the cost.
A survey among young people shows that concerns regarding the significant environmental impact of flying is leading many to pay more attention to how they travel and the effect this has on their surroundings. For those willing to hear the warnings of climate scientists, flying is one of the most damaging activities you can do. We hear a lot about the difference that diet makes, but the tonne of CO2 you'll save in a year by going vegan will be immediately offset by a single flight outside Europe (or a few short-haul trips).
If we are growing accustomed to putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to food, we're far less willing to go without the cheap getaway to somewhere sunny. If we are, this is more likely to be for reasons of cost rather than an effort to cut our carbon footprint. People's readiness to look objectively at the impact of their habits remains limited, however much we might voice our feelings online.
Indeed, one of the survey findings showed that young people are sensitive to how they are perceived on social media and post fewer images of them flying. A small but increasingly popular contingent is sharing their experiences of alternative transport modes, particularly highlighting the adventure of travel rather than the destination exclusively.
We're a long way from environmental maturity, particularly when it conflicts with comfort and convenience. World leaders are meeting this week to discuss international measures that might eventually do some good for the planet (if we're lucky). But with progress hopelessly slow, how far would you be willing to go to lower your environmental impact? Let @Orlando_tbt know.
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1. Internet at €19/month: Belgium to introduce new social rate from 2024
More than half a million households will be able to apply for a social internet rate from 2024, meaning that an internet subscription will cost them a maximum of €19 per month, announced Federal Telecom Minister Petra De Sutter on Tuesday. Read more.
2. Younger generations prepared to fly less but not stop entirely
81% of 18-35-year-olds are ready to change their travel habits out of concern for the environment or are already doing so, according to a survey conducted for Greenpeace in February 2022. However, most are not yet prepared to bid farewell altogether to air travel. Read more.
3. General strike: Over half of flights departing from Brussels Airport cancelled
The "national day of action" organised by various trade unions in Belgium on Wednesday will not only see public transport across the country heavily disrupted but will also throw transport abroad by aeroplane into disarray, Brussels Airport announced. Read more.
4. New Brussels housing project raises fears of gentrification
In recent years, the Brussels Alhambra neighbourhood in the Sainte-Catherine neighbourhood has been subject to a major makeover, with the next step involving a new residential complex which will provide housing for young people. Read more.
5. Belgian businesses weighed down by consecutive crises
First came the pandemic, followed by months of dramatic spikes in energy prices, all of which were further exacerbated by the Russian war in Ukraine. Businesses are experiencing crisis after crisis, a phenomenon that is increasingly weighing on them financially, but also mentally. Read more.
6. 'Biggest fan zone' for World Cup organised in Charleroi
A fan zone will be organised at the Dome (formerly Spiroudome) in Charleroi for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar, announced the company Travelevent Belgium, the organisers of the event, on Tuesday evening. Read more.
7. Hidden Belgium: The most beautiful chocolate shop in Belgium
When Dominique Persoone opened The Chocolate Line in Bruges, locals were initially shocked by his use of ingredients like smoked eel, fried bacon and cauliflower. But then Mick Jagger dropped by, and people changed their opinion. Read more.