Travel With Climate Change

The Climate Change Collective

I am so pleased that we have established a blogging network which aims to keep climate change at the forefront of conversations. Our Climate Change Collective has already written two wonderful posts and now it is my turn to discuss the subject of transport, with a particular focus on how it impacts on the environment.

A Quick History Of The Climate Change Collective

The Climate Change Collective was born out of an exchange that took place when Michelle (EcoBoomer) left a comment on a blog post of mine back in summer. Michelle and I both care deeply about the impact of human activity on our planet and wanted to find a way to keep the climate change message at the top of everyone’s considerations. So we thought we would get a group of like-minded bloggers together and produce monthly articles.

We have several eco-bloggers in our blogging community, so Michelle tweeted to see what kind of interest there would be in a climate-change-related blogging collaboration…and the Climate Change Collective was born! (Full credit to Alison from A Sustainably Simple Life for coming up with the name.)

If you’re a blogger and would like to join our collective, please get in touch. The more the merrier!

Back To The Climate

When I studied my Geography degree back in 1996, I had found a course where the lecturers were already very aware of the threat of global warming. I was able to select subjects that centred on this and one such module was linked to Environmental Transport Management.

Anyway, as a result I became immersed in studies that were fresh and worrying at a time when climate change was just an occasional throw away comment on a BBC wildlife documentary. At the time few people knew about global warming and many who did refused to believe it possible. Some famous people actually mocked the scientists who bravely suggested it existed.

Transport – One Of The Biggest Climate Threats

First of all I want to talk about islands. Many people operate as if they are on islands these days. They have a home island, a work island, a ‘going out’ island and a shopping island. They hop in a vehicle and whizz between each island as if they are all disconnected.

One such example is children going to school. Often we find kids get in the car, distract themselves with devices and then arrive at school, almost magically. Then they hop into a car and nip to cubs or scouts or another hobby island before possibly visiting ‘grandma’ island. Often these islands are not very far away from one another.

Alongside this there are lots of issues. First, of course, pollution is highest during peak times and especially around schools where lots of cars are parking and stalling, queueing and congesting. Additionally, children are not getting the exercise they need before and after school, which would have woken them up ready for learning.

As well as this, kids have no idea about crossing the road safely, socialising with friends on the way to school and appreciating their own community and habitat. Instead they are largely absorbed by iPads and electronic games. As a teacher I often find kids don’t even know if they have a packed lunch in their bags as mostly they don’t even pack it themselves.

Independence is what we are losing.

Pollution is what we are gaining.

Statistically there is no increased safety risk when walking anywhere other than accidents caused by the unnecessary local traffic. In fact, the streets were much more welcoming when full of people walking and cycling to and from school and work. Walking to school never did me any harm.

Scaling It Up

So if we look at the global scale and think about unnecessary travel, we find the island theory (which I cannot allocate to one person – it is merely my take on what I discovered when reading around this issue) is still front and centre.

Many people move from one city to the next and one country to the next as if it has no consequence. Flying around for meetings, for quick getaways or just for the sake of it, has become second nature for many of us. People are always looking for the fastest way to get from one distant place to another.

Convenience Is The Problem

The last place I flew to. A place of excess and convenience.

After flying to Vegas in 2014 I had read some articles that made me realise I had to stop flying. I couldn’t justify it any longer and so made a pact with myself to only travel over land or sea from then on. I have kept to that but it takes a lot of effort.

Why bother?

Looking at all of the sources of pollution, there is one thing that grabs me about air travel. Planes pump greenhouse polluting gases right into the upper atmosphere.

Aeroplane average emissions of CO2: 92kg per hour per passenger. (Source: https://www.carbonindependent.org/22.html)

It is as if we are injecting pollution directly into the layer where it can do the worst damage. There is no chance of it being recirculated or absorbed by plants and trees. It is exactly where it needs to be to add to the insulating layer of greenhouse gases that are blanketing our lovely planet.

There are cleaner options such as Eurostar. I have become a fan of travelling by train and look forward to a time when the electricity generated to power trains is completely fossil fuel free. For now, I am impressed by Eurostar because they cover large distances in comfort and make far less environmental impact.

Source: eurostar.com

I am not sponsored by Eurostar but just thought their chart was interesting and useful. I use all sorts of trains to get around Europe, and although it is not always convenient, this mode of transport needs further investment until it becomes a preferred and most convenient method for getting between cities.

I hope that the USA can also invest in a rail network as I was shocked when I looked at flight trackers and saw the astonishing amount of planes flying interstate at any given time. During Covid, Europe’s skies cleared of planes but America was still full of flights.

In A Nutshell

None of this is comfortable to talk about. It is absolutely not easy to make changes that may benefit the climate. We cannot just always resort to convenience when travelling.

But we can suggest a conference is held over zoom instead of requiring several people to fly around the world for a meeting (or jolly).

We can consider enjoying a train ride to get to our holiday destinations.

And we can get up ten minutes earlier and encourage young people to walk or cycle to school, perhaps even strolling to the shops, saving those awful car park charges.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article. Opinions are my own, based on ny experiences and geographical studies. Please support the Climate Change Collective by commenting and sharing our articles.

Things To Do In Copenhagen (Part Three) Crossing Into Sweden

Beautiful Malmo

After spending some time exploring Copenhagen, I was keen to spread my wings and make my way over to Sweden for the day. If you didn’t catch my Copenhagen recounts, check out Part One and Part Two here.

The Oresund Bridge

From Copenhagen, it is surprisingly easy to cross the sea into Malmo, Sweden’s third biggest city. This 16 km combination of bridges, tunnels and island crossings was established in 1999 and has replaced ferries as the main way to get from Denmark to Sweden.

On a train, crossing the sea.

I loved looking across the Sound, which is a busy section of waterway just north of the Baltic Sea. In 39 minutes I had transported myself from Copenhagen train station to the one in Malmo. Being a lover of Scandinavia and its culture, I was super excited to arrive in Sweden for the first time.

Lund

Before spending time in Malmo, I wanted to visit Lund, a gorgeous little town nearby. So I nipped on the train to have a look at this quaint historic town. I had hoped to see Lund Cathedral but there was a service on so we weren’t allowed to go in. Also it happened to be covered in scaffolding due to renovations. This tends to be a theme everywhere I go these days. Just my luck.

Lund – stylish and quiet
Lund station
Lund Cathedral – the end that wasn’t covered with scaffolding.

I did find time to pop into a lovely bakery for lunch and was well looked after. It felt as though Lund was a very welcoming place, with friendly people, a quiet feeling and some incredible views. I would love to move somewhere like Lund. Maybe one day…

Lunch in a Lund bakery

Malmo

Looking around this very modern town, I enjoyed the layout and flashbacks to the past, such as Malmo Castle, which was sadly closed on Mondays. Nevertheless I had a good walk around this beautiful city which had extensive parks, plenty of shops and eateries, and even the Swedish capital of Ikea.

Malmo Castle
St Peter’s Church, Malmo
A beautiful Malmo park
Loved this architecture

The city of Malmo is easy to navigate by foot and has great transport links. With a thriving university, trendy restaurants and bars, and incredibly clean streets, Malmo is well worth visiting. I was impressed by its architecture, friendliness and all round welcoming vibe.

Back to Copenhagen for tea

After my trip to Sweden, I was soon back in Copenhagen for an evening meal. My mind was swimming with story ideas based on what I had seen that day. I absolutely loved my first taste of Sweden and decided I would go back again a few days later.

Thank you so much for reading about my travelling by rail. I am keen to encourage people to travel by train rather than flying because planes are such huge sources of atmospheric pollution. I hope that you will consider following my blog for more of the same type of content.

Edinburgh – A Historic City

With the sad news of Queen Elizabeth’s death leading to her body being held in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, I was reminded of my first visit to this wonderful city, back in April. Having not blogged about it, I decided that now was an appropriate time to share my thoughts of this ancient city.

There is something fascinating about these old streets.
A modern shopping centre.

As soon as I arrived at Edinburgh Waverley station I wanted to look around. I noticed a gin festival close to the station and was intrigued by the deep gully that divided one side of the city from the other. After dropping off my bags, I took a walk up to Calton Hill, which was incredibly steep but the views were rewarding.

Nelson Monument
On top of Calton Hill

Although it was raining, I enjoyed walking around the old monuments, including the National Monument with its twelve pillars and the Nelson Monument, as seen above. You will also find the City Observatory in the same place.

As I was only in Edinburgh for three nights, I wanted to squeeze in as much as possible. Of course, the evenings were spent tasting Scottish whiskey and exploring local pubs and eateries.

The Dome, Edinburgh

My first delicious meal was at The Dome and its menu was mouth-watering. I went for the fish dish with asparagus and had a very tasty creme brûlée for pudding.

Edinburgh had an intriguing spirit and was really welcoming, with its colourful cobbled streets, charming scenery and remnants of culture everywhere. It is also built on two hills, so walking around it really gets the blood flowing. My legs were aching each morning but the experience was amazing.

Adored this pudding.

This was just the start of my Edinburgh adventure and I have recalled how perfect Edinburgh is as a venue for bookish people in my guest post ‘Why is Edinburgh a reader’s dream?’ which I recently posted on The Grumpy Olive Blog.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my article. Please consider following my blog for similar future content.