Photos

New! 'Best-of' photos available here in interactive album.

All photos from this trip can be found in my Trans-siberian gallery. Click on the image below to enter.

Click here to enter my Trans-siberian gallery

Videos

All videos from my trans-siberian trip can be found on my Trans-siberian You-Tube channel. Click the image below to view.

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Blog Index

My summer 2007 trans-siberian blog can be viewed as a single (HUGE!) page, or as individual pages listed below.

Japan

The journey begins
Leaving Japan

China

Welcome to China
Voyage to Shanghai
Shanghai - Day 1
Shanghai - Day 2
Bullet Train to Beijing
Arrival in Beijing
Forbidden City & Great Wall
Stranded in Jining
Beijing Duck
The hotel Hutiejuhengnuobinguan
Business in China
Thoughts whilst waiting

Mongolia

Hello Mongolia
Endless miles of stars
Live from the yurt
Speechless for 3 days
Where's my train gone?
Yurtastic fun

Russia

Buying tickets in Russia
Driving in Russia
Lake Baikal - part 1
Lake Baikal - part 2
Travelling 3rd class
The Russians
The 60 hour, 4100km ride part 1
60 hour train ride part 2
A walk amongst the stones
Hello Moscow
What? You mean my train for Germany left an hour ago?
A day in Moscow

Europe

The most luxurious Train in the whole world
Hello Poland
They speak my language!
British Passport Control

England

Arriving in the UK
A familiar sunrise
One week on
The final Leg
The final word

Why not fly?

Last year, I was listening to a radio program in which the environmental impact of flying was discussed. In order to demonstrate the hidden cost of travelling by air, a comparison was made of a Mr. Harrison and a Ms. Fletcher’s trips to Manchester from London, a journey that saw them both cover about 181 miles (290km).

David Harrison decided to take the plane. Thanks to the low cost of tickets on his favourite budget airline, which could partly be attributed to the fact that airlines do not have to pay tax on fuel, his trip was only going to cost him £50 (US$100).

Hannah Fletcher disliked flying, but was perfectly happy to spend £60 (US$120) on her train ticket, which bought her a great view of the forever changing countryside.

Whilst initially David’s journey appeared to be cheaper than Hannah’s, the real cost was not printed on the ticket. Whereas the amount of Co2 released into the atmosphere by the train was the equivalent of 14kg per passenger, by taking the plane, David was responsible for the discharge of 90kg of the polluting gas. To make matters worse, this Co2 was released high up in the atmosphere, where it did far more harm that that Co2 released at ground level.


Over the past couple of decades, I have noticed significant changes in the environment that can be attributed to global warming. Of these, the most obvious are those of the decreasing amount of snow.

When I look back at photos taken during my childhood, I can scarcely believe that we had so much of the white stuff – huge great drifts that closed the roads and gave me a few days off school in which to throw snowballs at my little sister. The same phenomena has been noted here in Japan, where this past winter, many villages which rely upon the ski season for its annual income, found themselves with no use for snow shovels, as what little did show up was gone within a few hours.

Up until now I’ve done my bit. You know, bought energy-saving lightbulbs, travelled by public transport whenever possible, and used the central heating as little as possible. However, when it came to flying to Japan – a return journey I’ve made 4 and a half times in the last few years, I never really considered the impact that this would have upon the climate. That was, until I was pointed in the direction of a website that enabled me to quickly calculate the impact that these flights were having upon my annual Co2 output…

I must admit, I was absolutely shocked.

Image 1: The amount of Co2 I release over the course of a year (based upon my consumption of electricity and gas. I do not own a vehicle thus this is not included, nor are any flights to Japan).

(Image courtesy of www.rsacarbonlimited.org)

My Co2 output if I don't fly

 

Image 2: The amount of Co2 I release over the course of a year, now including a one-way flight to Tokyo. As you can see, this single flight is almost doubling my annual Co2 output.

(Image courtesy of www.rsacarbonlimited.org)

My Co2 output with one flight

 

Image 3: The amount of Co2 I release over the course of a year, including a return flight to Tokyo. These two flights now account for well over half of my annual Co2 output. I'd be up to my limit if I took the plane.

(Image courtesy of www.rsacarbonlimited.org)


My Co2 output with two flights

 

When I saw these images, I immediately felt a sense of guilt. How irresponsible I would be to consciously release such a lot of pollution into the atmosphere when there was an alternative. If I were genuinely concerned for the welfare of my yet-to-born children, surely I would seek to avoid making significant contributions to climate change.

Thus, I decided to take the train. It is my hope that my trip inspires others who are planning a trip abroad to consider alternatives to flying.


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