FLYWELL - how to reduce air travel and at the same time maintain a high quality of life.

The goal of FLYWELL is to engage people and organizations in Norway in reducing the environmental impact of air travel. For many people, air travel is linked to quality of life. Travelling for work, leisure, and family is often associated with experiences of relatedness, belonging, physical health, autonomy, and freedom, all identified as human or basic needs in the well-being literature.

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Flight over London. Photo: Amund Aasbrenn/CICERO

Project details

Start and end date
1.9.2023 - 31.12.2026
Norwegian Research Council

Air transport generates 3-4% of co₂ emissions globally and represents 51% of the transport sector's total climate impact in Norway. Researchers indicate that this sector is difficult to decarbonize by solely relying on increased efficiency and technical improvements. If the aviation sector returns to business as usual after the COVID-19 pandemic without effective measures to reduce environmental impact, air travel could represent 22% of total CO2 emissions by 2050. The number of flights must therefore be addressed if we are to achieve a rapid and significant reduction in co₂ emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.

FLYWELL will research how to reduce the demand for air travel and at the same time maintain a high quality of life. This interdisciplinary project combines social practice perspectives from sociology and science and technology studies (STS), with well-being approaches used in economics, psychology and international development, and life cycle assessments from environmental science.

FLYWELL has two main tasks

1) The first is about filling the gap in the academic literature by studying flight-intensive practices and involving practitioners in the investigation of the extent to which their environmental impact can be reduced without impairing well-being.

2) The second involves engaging Norwegian society in policy-making and, individual and collective actions to reduce air travel without "losing" quality of life.

The lessons from the project will be debated in participatory policy forums that will bring together the codified knowledge of environmental experts, the experiential knowledge of air travelers and the tourism industry, and the managerial tools of policy makers.