Could you spend 59 hours on a train without WIFI or the ability to shower? Or cycle over 1,000 km from the Pyrenees to Málaga? More and more travellers are choosing to go against the flow and avoid taking planes and cars when they go abroad.
Back in April, Greta Thunberg toured around Europe solely by train to speak at climate change awareness events and true to her dedication to not flying, her upcoming trans-Atlantic trip won’t be by plane either. Next month Thunberg will be travelling across the Atlantic Ocean to attend the UN Climate Action Summit in New York and COP25 in Chile as part of a sabbatical year in the US. She is hitching a ride with the Malizia II, an 18-metre racing yacht. In a post on Facebook, Team Malizia claim that this journey will be ‘emission free’ saving the 1770 kg of CO2e that a flight to New York would create.
Clearly not all of us can call upon the Yacht Club of Monaco to ferry us abroad, but alternatives to flying and driving are gaining popularity owing to movements like Swedish ‘flygskam’, or flight-shaming. Flying emits 285 grams of CO2e per kilometre of travel which is almost twice that of road transportation and over twenty times that of rail travel according to European Environment Agency figures. Its not hard to see why the eco-conscious traveller might be looking to avoid this incredible addition to their carbon footprint.
It's definitely not impossible to travel whilst bearing your emissions in mind whether you choose to avoid road travel by taking the train or go completely plane-free by cycling to your destination. Despite public perceptions to the contrary, we saw just how achievable this can be when we spoke to five people who have made a success of following in Greta’s footsteps.