Saturday, 12 January 2013

"From A to B? Or making A a good place to Be?"

This was the title of the Christian Ecology Link workshop I attended today. In doing so, the Government-funded transportdirect website calculates I created 21kgs of carbon emissions on my train journey: this was, it seems, less than a quarter of what it would have been had I driven, but nearly double that of a coach passenger.

I looked these figures up after my return, having been stirred by the workshop's presentations into taking more interest in the way in which I travel around. One of the speakers, indeed, urged us all to consider a pledge "to live within rations". 500 kilograms a year is suggested. Only by doing so would we avoid the pitfall of "vague good intentions, such as This year I aim to be driving less, flying less, using less... All use-less!" he said.

So, I now have a strategy for action. Measure my carbon footprint, first: record car mileage, train and longer bus trips. (Air travel is out at over a kilogram every two kilometers for CO2, multiplied by about three if you take into account nitrogen oxides etc.) Secondly, live locally. Thirdly, when driving, never exceed the speed limit.

There were other exhortations, but you can only take on board so many at a time, and that's plenty for me to be going on with. And besides, there's the big unspoken challenge: how to avoid being Holier than thou?

The workshop was the first meeting to be held in the newly-refurbished basement of St Aloysius' Church, Somers Town, just behind Euston Station - where I saw an encouraging number of bikes stored, for weekday commuting.

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