Monday, 19 November 2007

Gettin' On Planes

Rather like Mr T, I have an aversion to getting on planes. Not an actual phobia, although I never much enjoyed the experience: all the boredom of a childhood car journey, sandwiched between two halves of a rollercoaster ride...

But eighteen months ago, I decided to give up flying - more or less. As you've doubtless heard a million times, as an ordinary citizen, not flying is pretty much the biggest difference you can make to your carbon footprint. (And don't get me started on carbon offsetting...)

I say "more or less". I realised a while ago that it would be hard to get through the process of setting up the School of Everything without taking some flights for work purposes. It's not exactly taking EasyJet to Prague for a boozy weekend, but I'm not comfortable with the amount of "necessary" flying required for business-as-usual - whether in business or academia.

But then today, for the first time since I quit, I found myself really feeling the need to fly somewhere. What's responsible for my fall from the wagon? This:

Ivan Illich passed away in December 2002. Five years after his death, a group of friends and readers are convoking other friends and readers around the world to meet in Cuernavaca. There, more than thirty years ago, thanks to the fruitful milieu provided by the Centro Intercultural de Documantación (CIDOC) headed by Valentina Borremans, he launched a critical debate on the major institutions of industrial society and the underlying public certainties supporting them... We want to call friends and readers of Ivan to gather on Mexican soil, the country where he lived so long.

The gathering is only ten days away. I have just written to the organisers, to check that it will be possible to take part. Assuming it is, and assuming I can find a way to pay for the flight, I'll be there.

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