I have been visiting Holland on & off for several decades, since the early seventies in fact. I have always travelled Stena Line across the North Sea. It does take a long time. It is only 101 miles, that is 87¾ nautical miles but it takes almost 7 hours. In fact I do it this way because I enjoy the journey. Or at least I enjoy the journey out, that is the journey between Harwich & the Hoek van Holland & as I enjoy going on Dutch trains, I enjoy going up to Amsterdam on arrival. It is part of the holiday. Coming back is not so enjoyable. We arrive back in the UK so late, it is almost midnight by the time I arrive home & the holiday is over. I, myself, on these journeys am just wanting to catch up with myself in London. There is also the question of the carbon footprint in fact & obviously this is the more important question. But much of what we do to lessen our carbon footprint is tokenism.
I was talking to someone yesterday who asked why I always this way rather than by plane. I said, “It’s the carbon footprint.” She said “What is that?” This is what those of us who are concerned about imminent environment catastrophes, are up against.
There is a wider question. I came back last Wednesday, travelling across the North Sea as usual on one of the super luxury super nice Stena ships. The capacity for the ship is 1,200 passengers & loads of cars & lorries. But by my estimation there were less than 20 people on board. I may well have underestimated this amount but not by much I can assure you. The carbon footprint of these enormous ships is enormous. In fact stepping onto a plane where there are empty seats, my carbon footprint would have been the same because both the ship & the place would have travelled anyway.
What is needed is political action which persuades people to travel less & for example have more stay-at-home holidays. The environment, the planet, this is all we have. We are heading headlong over the cliff.
That nice Icelandic volcano which reduced flying somewhat last year doesn’t seem to have persuaded many people to change their habits. But is there anything that would?