Choosing not to fly: the costs

As I write this, I’m sitting on a train heading for Berlin. The sun is setting and the fields rolling by as I get ready to settle down for the night. I’m mainly taking the train rather than flying because of my environmental values. I’m trying to lead a low-carbon lifestyle wherever possible. It’s also a bit of a cultural norm within the community of people I work with and me not flying is what people expect. I’ve not made a hard rule not to fly in my life, I just save it for special circumstances and for the last few years, I have found no reason to fly. 

So this is why I am on a train today. And I’m having a delightful time, meeting people, reading books, thinking, writing, watching the sunset. And I feel good for sticking with my values. But it comes at a cost: both financially and with time. To save 740kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) I’ve spent £75. That’s not easy on my wallet. It has also taken an additional 22 hours of travelling, compared with flying.

Using a transport calculator I made last year, I’ve generated some visuals to show this information. I do this to satisfy a nerdy inner-self but also in protest, as it clearly highlights the environmental conundrum we face as travellers….

So taking the train is a big carbon saving, but there aren’t many other incentives, particularly is your strapped for cash and time. I’m going to write some more thoughts on sustainable transport over at Brighter Future over the next couple months.