Why go by train?

As the title of the blog suggests, tomorrow my wife and I begin our journey to London from Sevilla – by train! When we told friends we were making this journey, and how we were making it, we received a variety of reactions: “how cool!”, “wow, that must take ages!”, “isn’t that really expensive?”. Almost everyone asked us why we didn’t take the plane – it’s much cheaper and takes a lot less time. Hey, I have a friend who flew to London with Ryanair the other week for next to nothing. Are you crazy? Why are you getting the train? No one, without exception, hit on the real reason for the journey: the environment, and climate change.

Travelling by train produces as little as one tenth the carbon emissions as travelling by plane, per capita. If we are to tackle climate change, we cannot continue to travel by plane. We have to change our habits.

But why should we travel by train? Everyone else takes the plane, so our little trip is not going to make a difference. So why bother? And anyway, sorting out climate change is the responsibility of governments, not us. They need to come to an agreement, over there in Doha or Warsaw or wherever, right?

The first argument can never be a reason not to do something. Just because everyone else does something, doesn’t make it right. And if we were to follow that argument, there would never be any change in the world. The second argument isn’t valid either: governments are in hoc to big business, and the corporate media refuse to report honestly about climate change, its effects, and what is really necessary to deal with it. We need to take matters into our own hands. It starts with us. This is a small step, but if we all take steps like this, together we will change the world for the better.

We plan to update this blog with progress reports of our journey. I also hope to find the time to write background articles about the trip, climate change, and how we can take personal responsibility for dealing with it.

Next stop: Sevilla Santa Justa!

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