Reluctant Traveller and the Environment

Reluctant Traveller and the Environment

So we are off too the land of the awks and a long white cloud which trips off of the tongue quite easily (and by the time this is published we will have arrived)until you start to take into account how far away it is from Ipplepen.

This planet that hangs in space (and let’s face it we don’t even know which way up it is because space itself is so big in fact it is bigger than big it is that big) is in reality very, very small.

But what do we know about the size of this planet?

Well we know it is approximately 24901 miles in circumference.

We also know that Auckland which is our destination is 11337 miles from Ipplepen which means that by the time we return we will have travelled a distance almost equivalent to the worlds circumference.

I suppose I should also add that this piece of space debris that is home to seven billion of us has been around for a paltry 4.5 billion years and as far as we all know is the only place of its kind not only in this but any universe.

But I digress.

It may seem strange to those who know me and that I served in the Royal Navy for 23 years travelling around the globe that I really am a reluctant traveller.

Or at least I am when it comes to air travel and not only because of the buggering about you have to go through at the airports.

I would much prefer the slower progress where each night the clocks depending in which direction you are travelling either East or West are altered one hour rather than air travel which entails 25 hours strapped into a tube to travel 13 hours into the future or the past.

How I dislike the jet lag that follows.

There is another reason amongst many others that I dislike air travel and that is the damage it causes to our little planet.

For millions of years the earth maintained a very delicate balance between the land and oceans providing its people and the animals with everything they needed to survive.

In the past two hundred years that balance has been well and truly eroded away by carbon emissions and other factors that have left us on the cusp of disastrous climate change.

Add to that our reliance on and the over use of plastic (not forgetting the amount of waste we produce) and we are in a position that unless we start to make serious changes to the use of energy and plastics in the next 20 years we may well end up at the point of no return.

Which brings me back to air travel and our journey which takes us from Birmingham to Dubai and then Dubai to Auckland via Bali.

All of the food comes in plastic containers (and some of it is even edible), the cutlery is plastic and the headphones and blankets they supply come in a non-reusable plastic bag.

What is even more difficult to understand is that just before we landed in Bali the blankets that we used were collected before we then disembarked from the aircraft and those of us in “transit” to Auckland then re-embarked two hours later to the very seats we had just left where we were issued with new blankets in plastic bags.

Why didn’t they just let us use the ones we were issued with in Dubai?

I’m sure the airline (which by the way is Emirates) will have a valid reason but the amount of plastic they use on long haul flights is staggering.

It makes you question whether those of us who are now making an effort to help end the cycle of waste are wasting our time.

Well (and I admit it is only my opinion) we aren’t wasting our time.

It may not be a major or even dramatic change to the way we live to recycle the waste we produce, when shopping to favour buying goods that aren’t covered in plastic or come in plastic containers and to re-use or recycle glass bottles and jars because no matter how small the change cumulatively it does make a difference.

In England alone there was a reported drop from 7 billion to 0.5 billion single use plastic bags in the six months following the introduction of a 5p charge for the bags.

Think about that for a moment.

That’s a drop of 6.5 billion single use plastic bags in six months which has a number of benefits not all of them serious in nature.

Firstly it has been calculated it has saved hundreds of thousands of tonnes of CO2 from not having to produce the bags.

Secondly it has raised over £325 million which it was intended should go to either good causes (whatever they might be) or to improving and protecting the environment.

Thirdly it has freed up countless drawers and cupboards in kitchens up and down the country which previously housed billions of plastic bags kept just in case they might come in handy.

Well Auckland beckons and New Zealand prides itself on its environmental policies and attitudes.

This will be our third visit so it will be interesting to see if things and how things have changed since our last visit but first we we have to negotiate New Zealand customs who are nothing if not understandably paranoid about the fear of people bring into their country something that may reek havoc on their environment.

Our hiking boots have been scrubbed and then scrubbed again but will they be good enough?

Friends who are now NZ citizens having lived here over ten years have asked for Yorkshire Tea but will it be allowed to enter the country?

Well in just over two hours we will find out and then it will be hugs all round to our grandson, son and daughter in law who will be waiting for us.

Our grandson is almost two and we want him to grow up in a safe and healthy environment which is why I truly hope our leaders will wake up to the environmental disasters that are happening and take the bold measures required to prevent them.

As for the rest of us!!

This precious planet is blue and green and we all have a part to play in helping it too stay that way.

It would help if major airlines and other multi-national, international organisations and businesses would do their bit to help.

I will be blogging from New Zealand for the next few weeks so who knows what the topics of them will be?

We will see what comes up,

Kia-ora everybody.