One of the challenges many destinations face, particularly the ones in Alpine regions, is finding sustainable travel alternatives to offer guests. Current public infrastructure lacks the capacity to connect European countries with one another in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Unless you’re willing to spend sometimes 20+ hours travelling, and spending more money on a train ticket than a plane ticket, this form of travel can seem unappealing (for most).
All that being said, a focal point of our Summit is sustainability, with the Friday plenary sessions focusing on ‘ Sustainable MTB Tourism’ and ‘ Sustainable trail design, construction and management’.
Sustainable travel: What’s realistic, and how can our individual action create change?
Part of IMBA Europe’s work is involving ourselves in meaningful projects that are seen as relevant in creating positive change to the mountain biking community. One such project is the ‘Sustainability and Environmental Education in Outdoor Sport’, a transnational Erasmus project. The recent report released from the SEE Project- Report into the broader sustainability issues of Outdoor Sports identified nine key areas where outdoor sports can work to mitigate our impacts on the environment. They are as follows:
- Mobility and Travel
- Equipment and consumption
- Waste and use of unsustainable materials
- Food and drink
The focal point of this article will be mobility and travel. Based on common knowledge of CO2 it’s obvious that the most energy efficient way to travel to Folgarida would be by foot, bicycle or other human powered mechanism. However, unless you can take a week off work, for many this is not feasible. Table 1, sourced from the SEE Project (McClure et al, 2021) demonstrates the total quantity of greenhouse gases emitted per KG per passenger per form of transportation. Evidently and not surprisingly, domestic short haul flights are the worst contributors in terms of emissions. What is interesting and relevant is the comparison between short haul flights and large petrol cars (refer to table 1 & 2). Both short haul flights and large petrol cars emit almost the same amount of carbon dioxide per km, taking into account that the figure from the short haul flight is per person. Most people travelling to Summit will opt for the plane / car or train option, as it is the quickest option, and sometimes the cheapest.
|Domestic / short haul||passenger.km||0.255 kg CO2e|
|Long-haul||passenger.km||0.15 kg CO2e|
|Train||passenger.km||0.041 kg CO2e|
|Bus||passenger.km||0.105 kg CO2e|
|Coach (long distance)||passenger.km||0.028 kg CO2e|
|Ferry (foot passenger)||passenger.km||0.019 kg CO2e|
|Ferry (car passenger)||passenger.km||0.13 kg CO2e|
Table 2 – The differences in greenhouse emissions from a range of vehicle sizes
|Diesel||Petrol||Hybrid||Plug in hybrid|
|Type||kg CO2e per km||kg CO2e per km||kg CO2e per km||kg CO2e per km|
|Campervan||0.265||0.313||No data||No data|
Highlighted below are the suggestions made from the SEE Project. The top tips and takeaways is to try and coordinate your travel with other Summit attendees. Rather than driving alone in your car, why not offer a seat to someone who is coming in by plane or train. Not only is this more beneficial in terms of CO2 footprint, but you’ll also be helping someone else out.