Saturday, 28 December 2013

Travel (for pleasure)

Camp for Climate Action - Heathrow August 2007
Like many people I love travelling for pleasure.   I am aware however of the environmental impact of travel, especially over long distances.I love aeroplane travel, in my life I have been fortunate enough to visit North America on three occasions, to see Japan and to take holidays in many European countries. I love the magical thrill of soaring into the sky, the incredible vantage point on the Earth an aeroplane window provides and the wonder of stepping out into a foreign climate mere hours from one's departure, the marvel of having the entire world available for exploration.

In the mid-2000s however I realised that aeroplane travel as it exists today is unsustainable and cannot continue. According to the Environmental Transport Association a return trip by plane from London to New York produces about 1.2 tonnes of CO2 - roughly equivalent to the total emissions allowable if we are to stay within a fair share of the world's total safe emissions. If I genuinely wanted to demonstrate earthcare, I needed to recognize these limits and take responsibility for my own actions. I could no longer justify flying.

My first temptation to renege on my convictions came in 2005 when after a relationship failed, friends of mine invited me to holiday with them in Barcelona. I failed to resist, I let myself down and I flew. The decision haunted me though, and on the flight home I made a concious effort to stay present with the experience - enjoying all its nuances as I made a deepened my conviction to not fly again.

Since then I have faced more temptations to fly again, from the casual appeal of a quick trip to the heat of the Mediterranean, to offers of a free holiday in the USA and a work trip to Mumbai and the chance to visit India, a country that has long appealed to me. I have resisted them all but at the same time I have been determined to find other ways of meeting my yearnings to travel and, treating the problem as the solution, investigating other ways of travelling.

In December 2009 Claire and I travelled to Copenhagen to protest at the COP via train and ferry.

In October 2010 we went to Jordan by train, ferry, bus, taxi and boat.

In 2013 and 2014 we holidayed in France, travelling there and back by train.

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