A European movement known as “flight shaming” is encouraging travelers to take the train rather than to travel by air, citing concerns about the emissions put off by aviation.
The aviation sector is responsible for an estimated 2.5% of carbon dioxide emissions globally, but participants in the flight-shaming movement say their abstinence has significant impacts.
According to The Washington Post, one ticket for a single passenger can eliminate almost a year’s worth of environmentally-friendly living. By choosing train travel, an individual can cut their travel emissions by around 80%.
In some countries, the movement has begun to accomplish its goals. In Sweden, where flight-shaming is particularly popular, air travel was down 3.8% from 2018. However, in Europe as a whole, air travel increased by about 4.4%.
Other factors contribute to a traveler’s preferred methods of transportation, such as convenience. Despite being less environmentally damaging, traveling by train can be significantly costlier in terms of time. A two-hour flight can quickly turn into a more than 24-hour journey across multiple forms of ground transportation.
Some airlines such as Scandinavian airline SAS are responding to the movement by attempting to reduce their emissions. Planes have been encouraged to reduce weight and increase fuel-efficiency by ending in-flight duty-free sales and asking that passengers pre-book their meals.