Decision tree – a helpful tool when deciding whether to fly or not.

Blog by Sigurlaug I. Lövdahl, University of Iceland

The decision tree – Should I fly?

The decision tree is a tool intended to help people determine, whether they should fly to a meeting, event, or whatever it is they are planning to take part in.    

The first question posed is, whether it would be possible to take part in the event online. If so, this is a positive result for the environment.

If the answer is no, the issue becomes more complicated and we ask ourselves whether it is important for us to take part in the event. If the answer is no then we simply abandon the plan.

If the answer is yes, the next step is to ask, whether we could take a train or a bus for at least a part of the journey (remembering that from Iceland, we always need to fly the first leg). At this stage we could also consider whether it would be possible to use the trip for another purpose as well.

If the answer is yes, perhaps we can take one flight instead of two and therefore reduce our carbon emissions. We might also think about whether we should offset our carbon emissions.

If the answer is no, then we should still think about the possibility of offsetting carbon emissions.

After using the tree, we should have received the encouragement we need, to think carefully before taking our next flight.

If this is really going to function, then some fundamental questions need to be answered like: who should pay for carbon offsetting, the employee or the uni? And what needs to be changed in the promotion system of the uni that makes it more attractive to stay at home instead of flying?

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