The Climate Change Collective is a group of bloggers who write monthly posts about the environment. This month, Boomer Eco Crusader has published a brilliant article about the impact that going out for experiences can have. Going out and about can have a significant environmental cost, comparable to buying and disposing of material goods.
This is my link post to her blog post which focuses on six ways to try and reduce the effects. I hope that you will take a look at her detailed discussion of this issue and share your own thoughts on the subject.
The Impact of Travelling
Travelling can be a great way to share experiences with family and friends. However, it can also be disruptive to local habitats and the transportation often causes a lot of carbon emissions. We often talk about a carbon footprint which relates to us moving around the planet.
I agree with Michelle that we do need to find ways to make experiences more ecofriendly. Using trains rather than planes is a positive alternative. Planes create a large amount of pollution which is injected directly into the atmosphere, contributing to the layer that insulates the planet. That same layer is the cause of global warming.
Check out this interesting article about ways to have enjoyable experiences while being environmentally conscious.
Thank you so much for checking the latest Climate Change Collective post. If you are a blogger who wants to join our collaborative network of environmental bloggers, reach out in the comments or through the link in Michelle’s article.
Many of you will know that I absolutely love city breaks. I always make sure I choose destinations that I can get to by rail or sea. In the past I have flown to so many places but now I make an effort not to fly as planes have been shown to directly pollute the upper atmosphere. So the Eurostar has become my preferred way of getting into Europe.
In the last ten years I have enjoyed some wonderful holidays. My idea of a good holiday involves great food, a little bit of culture and plenty of sightseeing (often involving a castle).
In this article I want to share the best European cities that I have visited so far. I am lucky enough to have been to Spain, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, France and Denmark. Out of those countries, here are my favourite cities to visit by train.
As soon as I arrived in Zurich, I was taken aback by the enormity of its grand train station, which was packed with shops and exhibitions.
Zurich was a brilliant place to visit and I was happy to watch a show at the Opera House, take a boat across the immense Lake Zurich and enjoy the bustling centre.
Much like Luxembourg City, it is easy to get a train from Zurich to surrounding places of beauty. I particularly loved a day out where I went up a nearly vertical rail track (Stoosbahn funicular) and had an incredible feast up a mountain.
Influenced by Switzerland, I am now always looking for places to eat cheese fondu since trying it in the city of Zurich. I first saw this tempting fondu restaurant on Travel Man which you can check out for yourself on Youtube.
I have been to glorious Paris several times over the past twenty years. It feels like a home from home. The added bonus is that Disneyland Europe is nearby but even without this, Paris has plenty to keep me coming back for more.
Known for its fashion and food, Paris thrives on its history and grand architecture such as the Arch de Triomphe and the Louvre. Walking up to the first floor of the Eiffel Tower and then taking a lift to the top was an amazing experience which I will always remember happily.
Only one thing stops Paris being my Number 1
As much as I love the museums, the exquisite cuisine and the general vibe, one thing lets me down. Everywhere you go there are smoking rooms. Usually they are attached to the outside of cafes and restaurants so you have to walk through them to get into eateries. Often I have to eat in one of these rooms if a venue is busy and I hate the smell of smoke.
My recent trip to Antwerp was so much fun. I had picked Antwerp as a getaway destination based on some Pinterest pictures that I had seen. It turned out to be a great choice.
Antwerp was the most festive city I have been to and felt so safe and welcoming. It was also really affordable compared to many of the other places I have stayed.
There will be a more detailed blogpost about Antwerp which I will link here in future.
Luxembourg was just a two hour train trip from Paris. The train had two floors and was really comfortable. Although it is a small nation, Luxembourg has a lot to offer. There is plenty of history there and public transport is now free.
When I visited there in 2019 there was still a small fee to use trains and I popped on one to go and see some beautiful villages and a couple of historic castles.
The city was not too busy but still had a buzz about it. Everything was relatively close together and, due to it being one of the main EU administration places, there were lots of places to be entertained, such as the Luxembourg Philharmonie, where we enjoyed a magical concert.
Since being a kid, I always longed to visit the set of The Sound of Music. So when I got the chance to stay there I took the guided tour of locations. I also fell in love with this beautiful city, surrounded by imposing mountains.
A wide river splits the old and new halves of Salzburg. As a bonus, when I went it happened to be the Salzburg Festival and lots of classical music events and theatre plays were being put on.
Full of beauty
I developed an unexpected fondness for sauerkraut while I was there and had a great time exploring the houses of Mozart. Salzburg was breath-taking, full of nods to Austrian tradition and home to plenty of tasty baked goods.
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
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.
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.
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.
I am not sponsored by Eurostar but just thought their chart was interesting and useful. In fact, 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.