C02 emission difference between modes of transport
Random story: We once had a dog called Shadow who was quite an escape artist. He was a big fan of trains, and on more than one occasion had rail related escapades. Once he manage to take a train, alone, all the way up to Waterloo Station, only to get arrested at the barriers for not having a ticket. I think his fascination of trains came from Sunday trips to steam railways and the like with my dad and us kids. It can be said that we like trains in our family but after this weeks challenge, I have a new level of respect for them.
Let me explain why am I sounding like a trainspotter?
Well, it came as no surprise, following my 1st challenge, to find out that travel served as 33% of all my emissions, according to the WWF C02 calculator. We are all pretty clued up on the the fact that flying has some nasty environmental consequences, but how does it compare to other options?
For week 2, I decided to dig deeper into the impact of my travel. I have considered a few journeys that I had recently, or will soon take. If you fancy checking some of your trips, my recommendation would be ecopassenger as it gives a short and clear overview of the main 3: Train, plane & car travel. Plus it considers important parameters such as travel time.
Dortmund to London - 41% less emissions when driving vs flying
This year I will be heading back home to England for Christmas, the first time in 2 years, E.X.C.I.T.I.N.G! Now that I am living in Germany, I was pleased to see that the drive time, pretty much matches what I would need to fly, and causes 41% less emissions. Trains are again even better still, so depending on the amount of days I will be able to take off, this could still be an option.
Dortmund - Bielefeld for Work - Almost 4 train trips are equivalent to 1 car trip
Thankfully with my current client I do most of my work from home, but when I go to the office, I opt for the train (2 hours) instead of the car (1.5 hours). Not only do I get to use the time in the train and avoid the joy that is commuter travel on the German Autobahn, I also get to feel much happier about the impact of my choice.
In comparison to most people I know, I am atypical with my travel. On the one hand I have lived for the last 15 years without a car, but on the other hand, I’m someone who has done a lot of flying both for work and privately, so am absolutely no angel in terms of travel. Either way, Better Me Green, is about seizing the opportunity to change now and for the future. This exercise was great at helping me understand the extend of differences between transport choices, so I can make more informed decisions in the future. I also read some really interesting articles surrounding the matter. One thing that must be said, is that transport options are incredibly dependent on governmental policies and priorities. If we can use our voices and actions to encourage investment in public infrastructure such as trains and public buses, we are on to a winner.
My Better Me Green take-aways for the future are:
- Always ask how low can you go – Check train options as 1st priority.
- Look for ways to support lobbying for improved public transport networks.
- If car travel is necessary – see if there are options for sharing rides, not just friends and family but try carpooling. Germany has long been a leader with this concept. I’ve done it already a few times and generally you meet really cool, open-minded people too.
- Making the most of my new central location in Germany, to explore Europe by rail rather than flying.
- If deciding to fly, I am now going to offset my emissions. For the flight I just took to Ireland, I donated via MyClimate.org.
Thanks for reading
Your Better Me Greener