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‘Flight Shame’ Has Travelers Opting For Trains Over Airplanes

By Leah Freeman-Haskin

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The term “flight shame” has been making its way around the internet in the past few months forcing frequent travelers to reconsider their modes of transportation. The term has become a movement about feeling accountable for your carbon footprint. More information is coming out about the impact that emissions from flying have on climate change. We know now that flying is probably the most carbon-intensive activity you can do, on an hour-to-hour basis.

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This factor has been the catalyst to launch the global, anti-flying “flight-shame” movement – or flygskam in Swedish, where the movement began. And now, this resistance to air travel has reinvigorated travel by trains.

According to bbc.com, “it only takes a return flight from London to Moscow to use up one-fifth of your ‘carbon budget’ for the whole year. This budget is the amount of carbon each person can emit in 2030 while still avoiding dangerous levels of global warming. Making the same journey by train would use roughly one-50th of your yearly budget.”

Travelers are finding that train travel is a much healthier alternative for the future of our planet. For slow-travel enthusiasts, trains may not sound like a bad option. But with limited high-speed trains within the United States, the reality of this shift may still be a few years away.

A major overhaul of Amtrak’s Acela service in the Northeast Corridor is coming up in 2021 that will get you from Portland to Vancouver in just under two hours.


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Similarly, Virgin Trains are expected to be operational in 2023, getting passengers from Miami to West Palm Beach in 60 minutes. This is usually a two-hour drive by car.

The “flight shame” movement has certainly gotten people talking and thinking about their contributions to climate change. Time will only tell where this will take us in these next critical years to save our planet.

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