Adjusting Travel to be Green
As I was going through my guidebook, they had a call out about environmental responsibility. It made the fantastic point about reducing air travel, staying in a place a little longer, etc. It got me thinking, perhaps, rather than flying to another region of Spain (which I would likely do due to limited time), maybe I should stay in one place and explore the environs.
I am still debating. But it brings up a good question and discussion. I know we go back and forth on these boards, from "screw the environment, I want to travel," to, "I am reducing everything." How do you make the decision? Have you ever changed plans to be green?
I've changed plans to do it more eco wise loads but the decision is usually dependent on time and money to be honest.
With all the low cost airlines and flights in Europe it's so easy to nip from London to Italy or Spain for the weekend, and then it's cheaper when you get there, that thinking green ends up being an ideal reather than a constant reality.
But when you're travelling across a few countries, train is the best way to cram in as much as possible so I'll always go for that over flying anyway.
I've trained it around Spain and Italy and South East Asia instead of flying and am planning to train it around Australia. The Ghan takes three days to go from Adelaide in the south to Darwin in the north so I'd love to do that. And then I want to do the Trans Siberian from Moscow to Vladivostoc and sail to Japan.
And one day, when I ever get the money I want to sail from Ireland down through France and Spain across the Med to the Suez Canal through the Red Sea and across the Indian Ocean to Australia. So if you've got a few million hanging about can I have a lend?
We need to think harder about how we travel and how we live, but we need to keep traveling. So much learning and cultural exchange happens, and the communities we travel to benefit. Travelers have always been the cultural embassadors to the world, and we certainly need good embassadors today!
Keep thinking AND keep traveling, I say.
When you get to Seville though, you'll also be able to rent an electric car or take a segway tour - definately more fun than 'responsible'. www.blobject.es
I don't think traveling green means it will be any less of an experience, and in fact seeking out ecofriendly hotels or tours or whatever often ends up with finding some great stuff that's not in the guidebooks.
Taking the right kit also helps too, I'd argue that a solar powered charger, for instance, is a hell of a lot cooler, cheaper and greener than having to keep buying batteries.
Probably the simplist way to go green is just to continue the stuff that most people now do at home - recycle your waste, buy local food, reuse water bottles etc. It's no real effort but makes an impact.
I have no interest in driving...if I am going by land, I will take train/bus. I don't have time for any of that.
It is less about it being less of an experience, and more a question of has anyone changed plans to be more green (i.e. covered less ground, etc.).
I live my life pretty green as it is. But it is irresponsible to overlook the impact that flights have on the environment (but at the same time, not being able to give up travel). Since I am already damaging enough getting over there, should I stay closer and reduce the number of flights I could potentially take? I don't know. I was curious had anyone changed their plans, seriously, to try to reduce their impact. And not those carbon credit things, because I haven't made up my mind on their legitimacy.
If you are serious, then give up (or reduce) meat and dairy and you'll drastically reduce your greenhouse gas 'footprint'. People often overlook that aspect and focus on cars and planes. Even Al Gore found it too inconvenient to mention that truth.
My assumption is that most people here haven't cut back on their travel to be green. I think this is proving correct.
Also, some of my best travel experiences have been the result of sticking in one place for at least a week - but with a local to show me around. When I did this in the past it wasn't to 'be green', but to get to know a destination better. When I plan travels now though the green benefits of this kind of slow travel are definately a factor I consider too.
Spain is a pretty big country by European standards but it's possible to see a fair bit in a short time by train or bus. Without knowing your time constraints or interests, you could easily get from Sevilla to Granada, Cordoba, even Madrid by train within 1 - 3 hours.
In a small country like Spain with modern transport infrastructure I wouldn't even consider taking an internal flight - due to the environmental impact.
A couple of years ago a took a 3-night weekend break in Krakov, flying from London. But thinking about it now I doubt that I would do the same thing again. Nowadays I would only take a flight somewhere if it was a proper-length holiday. Next time I want a short weekend break I will stick to England or Wales, places where I don't need to fly.
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quote:In a small country like Spain with modern transport infrastructure I wouldn't even consider taking an internal flight - due to the environmental impact.
Hmm...In comparison to the States, Spain is small. But it is one of the larger European countries. And their infrastructure isn't that great if you have very limited time.
This is something I am still struggling with. Because I lived in Sevilla, I have done most of the day trips around there. And I want to hit the beach, if possible. And, there are some other constraints I need to consider, as well, that may dictate where I can go.
The positive, however, is that my work travel has been drastically reduced (from an average of one plane trip a month to, essentially, none). So even if I take a short hop flight, my overall footprint has been reduced a lot. Gah, we'll see.
But Iâ€™m with Craze_b0i â€“ Iâ€™d pick someplace I didnâ€™t have to fly to. The rest of Spain will still be there for another time.
Yes, Spain will be there, but considering I have been there several times...
And, weighing that my footprint has been drastically reduced this year (again, from about 12-13 trips - so 20 flights or so - to maybe 4 flights), well, that adds more to my feeling ok with taking one extra flight in Spain. I am already going from Lisbon to Sevilla overland (appx. 8 hours), and getting from Sevilla to Valencia takes around 9 hours, which is a whole day on an itinerary that doesn't have any extra time.
At any rate, thanks for the discussion. This wasn't supposed to focus on my specific trip, but more adjusting travel to be "green," and what are some of the tradeoffs.
*Also if you are travelling to Valencia did you know you can take take an overnight train from Cordoba to Valencia? (or at least you used to be able to) Saves a day of travel...
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