We all like a bit of exploration, whether it’s jetting off to distant lands to adventure off-the-beaten-path and experience a world of culture we aren’t exposed to in our home country or simply getting out and about in your local town. Exploration and adventure fulfil our need for curiosity and wonder, there is nothing better than trekking through a peaceful woodland or resting on the shores of a beautiful, sparkling lake.
However, while getting to these locations is simply part of the journey, your preferred method of travel could soon put an end to these undiscovered green spaces and make the world a colder, adventure-less place. Choosing to travel by plane is often the worst culprit for environmental impact, even more so over short distances which are considerably more common than the (often) carbon off-set long distance travel. We take a look at the impact your adventure travel has and alternatives you can try that will take you from A to B with less harm to the planet.
The Effect of Air Travel
You cannot deny that airplanes are incredible technology marvels. Huge metal vessels that rocket through the sky often carrying upwards of 100 passengers, plus all their luggage and necessities. While the air-travel industry may not be the biggest industry in the world, it has one of the largest impacts, mainly due to the type of fuel that airplanes need to travel; kerosene. When kerosene fuel burns, it releases a huge amount of gases into the atmosphere, the most harmful of these is carbon dioxide, which contributes to the greenhouse effect.
Sadly, while other travel industries have been able to reduce their harmful impact. Such as underground trains that reuse what would otherwise be wasted energy and electric and hybrid cars that make use of electrical batteries. The aviation industry is unable to make such changes, the use of batteries in powering airplanes would require much larger aircrafts or much less space for passengers and the added weight would only increase the number of batteries required, making it a tricky cycle of finding the balance between weight and power.
Are Ships a Viable Alternative?
It’s not unheard of to travel short and long distances by ship or ferry, in fact one of the most popular travel methods in the UK is the channel ferry between Dover and France, welcoming 44million domestic passengers alone in 2017. Recently, Greta Thunberg chose to travel across the Atlantic from Europe to USA when invited to give a speech at the UN Summit on zero emissions. While the journey took two weeks (must longer than the simple 8 hour plane hop) it produced far fewer carbon emissions in comparison, a cause very close to Greta’s heart.
While annual leave accommodations and contracted holiday periods are not easily going to cover a two week journey each way to your holiday destination, it has opened people’s eyes to the alternatives available. As more people see the importance of using less harmful travel methods, there are greater opportunities for careers in boating and shipbroking across the world.
The Effects of Train Travel
Another very popular method of travel in the UK and across Europe is the trusty train. With multiple stations in most densely populated cities and no traffic to worry about, the train is one of the most commonly used methods of travelling long distances and causes much less pollution both noise and air when compared to roadways and air routes.
For the space they occupy, trains carry as much as 10 times as many people per hour when compared to a two-lane road and in regard to moving freight, a single freight train can carry 1000 tonnes which replaces up to 50 lorry journeys.
The main downside of UK train travel is the often-obscene costs with many commuters commenting that it costs them less to fly internally than it does to take the train. Shocking statistics that are sadly seen too often. However, without a push from the public, there isn’t much incentive for the government to step in and this needs to change.
Start doing more for the planet today and choose to travel in more reasonable ways, swapping your car for the bus and opting to take the train for cross country journeys. Speak to your local council regarding train fares and find out where we need to make a stand.
When it comes to planning your holiday, consider if you really need to return to that Spanish town for the fourth year in a row and choose to explore a city in your home country, not only saving on expensive travel costs but you might even find your new favourite place is closer to home than you realise!
The future of the planet is in our hands and putting off changing our harmful actions until tomorrow could make it too late to repair our beautiful Earth…act today and change tomorrow for the better.