Fear of Flying…

Fear of Flying
By Heather Owen

Cheap flights galore mean flying is easy and convenient for many of us. I used to fly numerous times a year to visit friends and family and to play in the big beautiful world. However, recently I have made a pact with myself to try not to fly. Even though my heart used to race in fear when the plane lifted off, I haven’t stopped flying for fear for my life, rather for fear for planet Earth!

The intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) report in 2007 estimated that there will be an average temperature rise of 0.2 degrees every decade. The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change written for the UK governement in 2006 indicated that immediate action is required to minimise not only the disasterous ecological but also the economical consequences of global temperature changes.

It is now widely accepted that the cause of this global temperature rise is due to the increase in emissions of gases (such as carbondioxide) since the industrial revolution and our reliance on the burning of fossil fuels for energy and transportation. A quick look at my own carbon emissions (http://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx) indicates to me that the major way I can limit my personal emissions immediately is to stop flying.

To travel within the UK without flying is fairly easy. www.traveline.org.uk is a door to door journey planner by any means of transport within the UK. To travel between the UK and the rest of Europe without flying is trickier. The two options are by train via the Eurostar (www.raileurope.co.uk) or a bus/ferry combo. European trains are relatively reliable and fast (London to Geneva takes 7 hours) but it is cheaper to travel by coach. There are many different coach companies but a good start is www.eurolines.com

I’m not saying that I will never fly again, but the main thing that has changed for me is that I now think more carefully about any trips I take and as a result I stay in Scotland for alot of my holidays. The coastline is something Scotland definitely has over the Alps so I have learnt to surf. And there’s all sorts of outdoor adventures to be had here in Scotland without the need to travel to distant places. The high mountains still call me occasionally, so I hop on the train, read a book, sleep, eat, sleep some more and eventually arrive in the Alps for a big treat of a trip.

The downside is that trips to the rest europe cost more and trips further afield are not possible without flying. When I go to Europe I take the train, and since travel by train takes longer there are no long weekend breaks abroad anymore. However, I feel that I have learnt to appreciate what there is to do close to home. I’m getting to know and appreciate really special places, and still feel that my drive for adventure is satisfied!

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