From Leeds to Beijing by Train!

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Flying. It’s convenient and quick but let’s face it – it’s a big environmental headache. And worldwide ecological conferences aren’t helping in that matter.

As argued by my editor, Claudio Ruch, in the above linked article, we have to sometimes look beyond the carbon footprint to see what value we’re getting. After all, if there hadn’t been a global conference, I would still be sitting in Switzerland and Samuel Pickard in the United Kingdom, we would have never met and there would have been no extraordinary story to report.

However, since all that was just conjecture and I did attend the World Resources Forum in Beijing, I had the chance to hear Samuel’s story. A PhD student at the University of Leeds. Mr Pickard is working on low carbon electricity generation and he also moderated, and presented, at the conference. But wanting to experience this conference more fully, and perhaps because he’s interested in low carbon technologies, Mr Pickard decided not to fly but to travel from Leeds to Beijing by train!

Discover more about his adventure in this interview as well as on his adventure’s blog that invites all of us to think about our way of travelling.  So let’s do this.

Find out more about his trip on his blog.You’ll also find his calculation of his journey’s footprint.

6 thoughts on “From Leeds to Beijing by Train!

  1. I wish I had the two weeks to travel the Trans-Siberian railway route – must be a real adventure! Maybe next time we should reserve an entire waggon for all the European participants and travel together to Beijing . . .

  2. Yes! Why not have it organised for participants? it would be a lot of work, but at the same time, for a conference about resources, it would be really coherent!
    Another point is that while doing this interesting interview, I got to reconsider my way of travelling not only in terms of transportation. We usually see a “holiday” as a finale destination. We go to X place on holiday. What I really appreciated about Samuel’s journey is that his holiday began on the train, his holiday is a journey! Visiting all those countries is a real adventure, which sounds more authentic. I wish that one day, I will be able to do the same!

  3. Thanks everyone – I’m glad people want to do the same thing – if you get the opportunity then you should! I would stress though that while I did see a lot of places out of the window, it wasn’t all a holiday. In fact, on the way to the World Resources Forum I wrote 2 papers and 2 posters for another conference and a chunk of my thesis – it’s a great place to work with no distractions aside from the awesome scenery going past. Also, a ready supply of tea available just at the end of the carriage and speaking barely any Russian meant I was rarely disturbed (not advocating being ignorant though!). Oh and I have things already piled up ready for the return leg!

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