Holiday season is in full swing – but is your method of travel sustainable?
Most of us will fly out to summer vacation destinations. However, this can have huge consequences for the planet.
The Guardian has found that taking a long-haul flight generates more carbon emissions than the average person in dozens of countries around the world produces in a whole year.
And even short-haul return flights are having an impact.
A flight from London to Edinburgh contributes more CO2 than the mean annual emissions of a person in Uganda or Somalia.
If you want to lessen your carbon footprint, there are many other sustainable methods of transport.
So skip the baggage reclaim queues, grab your passport and prepare to travel the sustainable way.
Trains produce less CO2 emissions per passenger than other modes of travel. In fact, transporting freight by rail results in an 80 per cent cut in CO2 emissions per kilogram carried compared to road haulage. Plus, a rail passenger travelling by high speed train, even at 200Km/hr, typically uses only 0.8 – 1.0 MJ of energy compared to 1.4 – 2.8MJ for a car driver. Better still, there has never been so many destinations connected by train either. The Eurostar is easily accessible from London St Pancras Station and goes to numerous places. You can catch a direct train to Paris, Brussels, Lille, Disneyland Paris, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the South of France, and Calais. Also, consider interrailing where you only need one ticket for a multitude of European holiday hot-spots. Sweden even is eyeing up new overnight train connections to mainland Europe in an effort to boost sustainable travel.
2. By boat
Ferries are an inexpensive way to reach many European destinations. And while the journey may take a little longer than a flight, you can enjoy the gorgeous sea views in the meantime. However it’s important to point out that not all water transport is equal. For example, cruise liners can have huge environmental impacts. That said, many modern boats are now using biodiesel, which dramatically cuts the pollution levels. Since the summer 2016, cruise ships that dock in Hamburg are able to use landside power from renewable energy. The diesel motors do not run continually. Furthermore, the cruise ship industry aims to be completely carbon-free by 2050. You can get to Dublin via Virgin’s Sail & Rail from just £39.
3. By coach
Coach travel is a great example of sustainable travel as numerous people are in one vehicle as opposed to all those travelers individually driving their own cars. According to the Getting There Greener Guide from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a couple travelling by coach, rather than flying, can cut their emissions anywhere from 55-75 per cent. Coach travel is great for those taking a staycation. And, there’s no limit to where you can go. Also, you’re bound to make friends on board, too.