This past Thanksgiving holiday, I considered taking a train across the country. My trip was canceled because one family member could not go, but it got me thinking about the benefits of train travel. The scenery is up-close and personal. You can’t see much from 35,000 ft. The trip is far less stressful, especially if you’re a nervous Nellie about flying. Oh yes, one more thing, a train trip is far more environmentally sound.
That’s right. Your carbon footprint is much smaller taking the train or boat than if you fly. In fact, a round trip flight from Los Angeles to London generates more than a metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas contributing to global warming.
Also, flying creates contrails which play their own role in global warming. Contrails are water vapor and pollutants coming out of a jets engine. The water vapor quickly freezes causing the contrails to spread out forming cirrus clouds. Most clouds cool the Earth, but cirrus clouds are made up of ice crystals that allow sunlight to shine through, but trap warm air radiating up from the ground contributing to the atmosphere getting warmer. The contrail effect is limited to areas where there is a lot of air travel like the U.S., Central Europe, and Eastern Asia.
To find information on traveling by train anywhere in the world by rail, take a look at www.seat61.com.
Even driving your car is better than taking a flight if you have two or more passengers. There are ways to limit your carbon footprint even while flying. For example, you can book a flight on a newer, more efficient jet.
If your concerned about global warming, cutting back on air travel is one the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Take a train, boat, or car in that order. For short distances, ride a bike, or walk if it’s practical.