Most likely everyone agrees that flying and drinking alcohol do not have anything in common. However, it is rather hard to find a plane where alcohol is not served and consumed. Many passengers cross the security-check at the airports and get on plane’s boards while being already simply drunk. Going through my own experience and observations made at the airports and on the planes it made me wonder ...: What are the causes of such drinking habits and the reasons for selling alcohol on the aircraft’s board?
In 1988, the first law regulations on in-flight-smoking prohibition were implemented in the United States. Well, not long time ago ... It started a few years earlier when Civil Aeronautics Board banned in-flight-smoking, just to unban it a while later. As then chairman Dan McKinnon argued: "Philosophically, I think nonsmokers have rights, but it comes into market conflict with practicalities and the realities of life”. The process of making U.S. flights free from cigarettes ended in 2000 when in-flight-smoking was fully banned on domestic and international flights. Who could predict and imagine this scenario back in the middle 50’s, when smoking was one of the most stylish things to do and awareness of its negative impact was very low.
The in-flight smoking prohibition was set up for both, health and safety reasons. However, feeling safe among drank or drugged (which also happens) passengers is not easy.
Skavsta airport, Stockholm-my flight for Christmas time; around me many others going home to celebrate holidays. Already at the security-check point one man walks zigzag and you can easily smell the fragrance of alcohol. However, no one stops him, there are no legal bases for doing that. The same smell of alcohol occurs in the long queue to the Ryanair flight, even though it is just few minutes past noon. The queue seems to look more like a bunch of people waiting for the access to the night club and I start ‘’praying’’ for that my seat 11d will not be located next to some of the drunk guys ... unluckily it is! The ‘’selling time’’ on the board starts very quickly, many things are offered including ‘’buy 2 beers and pay for one’’. Guys next to me are ordering vodka shots and as their credit card is being rejected, they start searching for some coins and collect the payment. The final stage during this flight takes a woman who walks there and back through the way between the chairs and argues with one of the stewardess, shouts and swears. It appears that she is under the influence of some drugs. When the time for landing comes, she refuses to seat down. Finally, after the threat of calling the police just after landing, she obeys the request and seats down.
While being up in the air there is no way of choosing your seat or relocating and changing the company of your journey. The flights with such drinking surroundings are not a good place for children and very uncomfortable place for children of alcoholics or alcohol addicts. Especially, when alcohol is being served for free, just as a part of your meal. The process of regulating the law on inflight smoking took a long time and had arguments against prohibition, mostly stimulated by the market and the big profit-led companies. However, I do believe that as it is 21st century and social awareness is increasing, first steps, step by step, should be taken to regulate inflight drinking and make flying safe and pleasant for all of the passengers.
/ Aleksandra Ruminska
How many experts does it take to explain the world drug problem? This is not a trick question. The answer is: a bunch. This became very visible (and I'll explain why, later on) during the seminar "9 lessons on drugs", who set a high bar and last week gathered people involved in the fight against drugs - on all levels of society, from all over the world. The seminar took place in Stockholm and was arranged by WFAD (World Federation Against Drugs) with partners.
All the participants were experts in their own fields of work, ranging from different aspects of drug prevention to recovery work. Researchers, educators, local heroes and global advocates. The sessions were run by world-renowned experts in the fields of neuroscience, sociology, public health, human rights law, prevention, recovery, diplomacy and law enforcement.
So, in addition to all the hotshots and experts, there was me. I was there to get a little smarter, but walked away with more than facts. My name is Julius, and I'm part of a global Civil Society Task Force on Drugs. I work with amplifying the voices of the world's young people, in the process leading up to next year's big UN meeting on drugs: the UNGASS (also called the "United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem" - see why it's abbreviated?).
Lectures explained the world drug problem from many different angles. A Skype session with Saul Takahashi, a human rights lawyer based in Japan, brought up the human rights perspective on drugs (and problematized the so-called "human rights based approach", claimed by the legalization side of the debate); a narcotics expert from the Swedish National Police had an entertaining workshop from the law enforcement perspective. Dr. Sara Lindholm of Karolinska Institute, taught us everything about the neuroscientific effects (effects on the brain and body) of drugs and addiction; and Sara Heine, from Swedish IOGT-NTO, put the spotlight on alcohol and brought up valuable lessons from the international IOGT movement. And that was just four of the nine exciting lessons.
I started off with saying that it takes a whole lot of experts to explain the world drug problem. These couple of days managed to, in a simplified way, highlight the complexity of issues related to drugs. Drugs have a negative impact on so many aspects of both society and individuals. Naturally, it will take experts and research in every related field, to understand and explain the huge challenges drugs confront us with. There is a huge risk in over-simplifying the world drug problem. Still, oftentimes, this is exactly what people tend to do.
I am going to be honest here. Much of what the experts talked about, I will most likely have forgotten within the next couple of weeks. That's just how lectures work for me. But what will definitely stay with me, and more importantly so, is the empowerment, inspiration and understanding I recieved from spending time with new friends from all over the world. Learning from their experiences, and experiencing that we are all passionate about the very same thing.
Sometimes, I think we all just need that reminder. The reminder about why the things we do on our spare time, are worth so much more than the membership fee we pay every year. And that what we believe in, is important not only for ourselves, but for many, many others.
Hello hello from Slovakia!
Do you know what was happening during the last weekend of October ?
If not, I will tell you : I have had an opportunity to go to the one of the most beautiful cities in Europe - Brussels. There we had a first preparatory meeting of the YO!FEST, which is taking place in Strasbourg, in May 2016. Active has been selected to be a partner of the event and we are very excited to add up to the programme with our ideas and activities.
In Brussels, we were discussing and working a lot, because we want to do it as good as it can be, or even better! YoFest is a festival where you can participate and get more information about youth organizations working in Europe, but it is not just about it. You will also have lots of fun, concerts and meet there important people such as MEPs and other decision makers with whom you can talk about our future, and the future of Europe.
I am the coordinator of the Active team that will be going to the YO!Fest, and the call for my fellow team members will be announced soon. So join us! :)
Hello! My name is Aleksandra and I am a new EVS volunteer at Active. I am very excited to be here and would like to present myself in a short post.
Moving to another country is indeed exciting! Especially when it comes to Sweden and Stockholm-living and working on different island, admiring the seaside view every day. I am glad that I had a chance to start working with such interesting social-related subjects, such interesting and nice people as well as in a friendly and beautiful city of Stockholm.
I come from Warsaw (Poland) where I graduated from the University of Warsaw. I finished five years of social policy studies, specialising in family policy, labour market and related issues. I see addictions to alcohol and other drugs as a big issue for social policy, causing harm and bringing tragic consequences to the society. I am looking forward to the interesting projects at the Active office, hoping to contribute as well as learn from them.
My one year of adventure at Active has just begun and I already feel so activated ? Meeting new people, being in new places-it all means a lot and brings a lot of enjoyment!
Looking forward to working with you!
“United in Diversity” is the official motto of the European Union but living in these shocking days it comes naturally to question if the EU truly embodies it, if Europeans are coming together to help, make a difference, create the change they are expecting and not getting in time from their governments or are the Europeans growing intolerant to diversity, change or chances?
Today we woke up really early but everybody enjoyed the delicious breakfast that gave us the power to start into the new day.
In these early hours we went to an official visit of the European Parliament to have a look inside and learn more about it with the guidance of the Parliament staff.
Back at the hotel we worked in different groups on creative ideas how to address the European Commission’s decision not to create a new Alcohol Strategy. After presenting these ideas and some discussions we decided to be creative and to collect ideas to put into both a photo and a video.
Around noon we went to the same place as yesterday and enjoyed a great lunch. With renewed energy we were able to understand how to plan meetings. And with that new knowledge we started to plan the upcoming meetings in our national teams.
Last but not least we came together in groups to finalize a structure for the photo/video actions. After a long working day we earned our amazing Italian dinner. We finished our day with waffles and a tour through Brussels in the beautiful city centre.
Clara (Germany) , Thomas (Sweden), Manuel (Germany)
Hello everybody, how are all you guys today?
We are very good because we are in Brussels!
We started the day with the most amazing breakfast buffet to maximize our experience. We then had a session with Kristaps with a lot of funny group exercises and energizers for us to get to know each other. After we created an amazing group spirit we then moved on the a session with some rulemaking to increase our week here. There we also discussed individual fears and expectations of the week, and also how to reach and avoid them.
Then it was time for the main event of the day - the lunch.
It took place in a super fancy place that we walked to from our hotel. We had a super cute red haired flemish waiter. We enjoyed our three course lunch and talked about our countries different cultures and had a great time.
After the lunch we got back to the hotel and we reflected and informed each other of our processes of our projects so far. We also talked about the futures and how to get there.
The Brussel office representative Ellica then shared recent developments in alcohol in EU since our last visit last November. Vasilka then continued with further information about the European Parliament and advocacy.
And that’s our day so far. Now we’re off to dinner at an Italian place, which sounds lovely!
Have a great day, see you tomorrow!
All the best,
Tove (NSF Sweden), Samuel (Juvente Germany) and Simon (UNF Sweden).
The LYI or The Local Youth Initiative is a project organized by Active and powered by Fake Free. A project aimed at getting the younger generation of Europe to be more active in educating society about alcohol and it‘s genuine effects on people and to get the future leaders of our continent to support a fun and healthy lifestyle.