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.

Don’t Forget The Climate

With politics being so horrendous at the moment, I do worry that some of the BIG issues are taking a backseat. Liz Truss has stepped down and we yet again have a vacancy for a new Prime Minister. All of this squabbling is stopping us progressing with many important matters, including global warming.

Energy is widely spoken about as expensive but we need to remember that current sources of energy are largely polluting. We must ensure that our concentration turns in the direction of making us energy efficient and self-sufficient.

At the same time, high temperatures of around 18 degrees in October is definitely unusual. Daily averages used to be around 10 degrees but we are now seeing warmer, wetter days. All we see on the News is bickering. What we should be seeing on the News is discussion about how we are going to reverse global warming.

This was just a quick reminder that CLIMATE CHANGE is still happening. While leaders argue over tax for millionaires, the world is in trouble.

Polar bears and seals are losing their habitats. People in Pakistan have lost their homes in floods. Forest fires have wreaked havoc once again in America. The situation is definitely worsening.

I hope that we can soon get back to dealing with the things that really matter.

Global Warming Affects Our Lives – Fact!

The Climate Change Collective of bloggers

I had a political morning today, meeting one of the UK Prime Minister candidates, where I was able to ask him about environmental policies. Just as I left that meeting, I was happy to see the first post from our brand new ‘Climate Change Collective’ group of bloggers. Brilliant!

Michelle and I originally had a conversation about creating a group for bloggers who wanted to write about climate change from our different perspectives and ensure it remained at the top of readers’ minds. It is great to see we already have a buzzing group willing to get involved and I cannot wait to see what each writer has to say.

Here is the very first article which focusses on how climate change is gradually affecting our daily lives:

Welcome To The Climate Change Collective:

My thoughts…

For me, as a geographer, I have always found it hard to convince people that global warming should matter to them and their lives. Michelle has cleverly outlined how it will specifically affect the retirement industry and discussed the impact air pollution is already having on health.

I look at the very flat Fenland area of agricultural land and market towns that is near where I live and worry about its vulnerability. Britain had a record 40 degrees C day in July, which was predicted to happen in twenty years or so. Meteorologists suggest that their initial timeline is redundant as warming has happened much faster than predicted.

If glacial melting is increasing in a feedback loop which is quite unstable, then the Fens could be under water within the next 30 years, as they were centuries ago, prior to drainage. This would destroy homes and demolish one of the largest arable farming patches in Europe.

That would have a massive impact on my life and the lives of many others. There are so many complex aspects to discuss but I do think people have woken up more to climate education, especially after recent turbulent weather occurrences around the world and a drought in the UK. Let’s hope we can bring environmental concerns to the top of government interests.

We can make a difference by urging politicians to invest in renewable energy and make the transport infrastructure much better. I hope that you have time to check out Michelle’s first post and join in with the conversation about climate change and how it is affecting all of us.