Alongside guides enticing travellers to fly, Ellingham also publishes environmental titles, including the Rough Guide to Climate Change which is nominated for the Royal Society Prize for Science Books award, to be announced next week. Even so, he is keenly aware of the incongruity of making pronouncements about how people should moderate their behaviour. ‘I acknowledge that I’m speaking about all of this from an apparently contradictory position but it’s a question of working with what’s realistic: if Rough Guides was to disappear overnight, I don’t think anybody would fly any less. I think it’s an entirely ethical position of mine to work with what’s realistic by encouraging people to moderate the amount they fly, rather than stop altogether,’ he said. ‘It’s up to people to make up their own minds about how they live their lives.’
While determined to encourage people to reduce the number of flights they take, Ellingham admits he has no intention of stopping himself, and he does not expect others to do so either. . . . Ellingham is aware of another contradiction in his position. While being hugely destructive, tourism also has so many positive effects that it would be disastrous to the economies of many nations if it were to stop or even be curbed.
In other words, he knows this is idiotic, but feels impelled by fashion to make a statement.