Why travelling less should be at the top of your list for a sustainable lifestyle

Why travelling less should be at the top of your list for a sustainable lifestyle

The UK has targeted 2050 to be the year we start living a carbon neutral life. We would have to lower our personal carbon footprint from 7.1t to 1.2t per year.

Photography Credit: Thijs Stoop

We all know we should be travelling less and after a couple months of a worldwide lockdown, air pollution has improved.


Did you know that the flights cancelled in March 2020 due to Covid-19 would have accounted for CO2 emission worth 28 million tonnes?

This is the same amount as one month of the UK’s total carbon dioxide emissions. Even the number of pollutants from vehicle exhausts have dropped drastically along roadsides within the UK, improving air quality all over the country.


How should we travel?

When we look at CO2 emissions per person per kilometer, flying is the worst. The aviation industry contributes to 12% of transport related emissions, making up 2% of global carbon emissions.

An airplane uses most of it's CO2 output during take off and landing: the shorter the flight, the higher the emission rate per kilometer. But air travel is so much more than just it's CO2 pollution. An airplane's water vapour at high levels form thin clouds that have an effect called radiative forcing, doubling the plane's carbon dioxide warming effect.

For short distances, consider taking a train or coach. Travel by train always comes out better than travel by plane. Diesel trains aren't the best and the highest marks go to trains run on electricity. If you are travelling within Europe, consider booking a seat on the Eurostar train, this is the least environmentally taxing way to travel.

When you're travelling with two or more people, taking a car is proved to be better than flying - but road transport takes up 12% of global CO2 emissions. This includes all cars, motor bikes, buses, coaches and trucks.

Taking a coach is a great option as well, but it's not better than an electric train or car. If you have time and want to save some money, the coach is the perfect choice for you.

Now that we can't travel, we have enough time to plan our next holiday. Comment below with your stories about your cancelled trips and what you're doing to improve your next holiday.

The Guardian
The Guardian

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