‘Travel and Transport’ was the theme of the evening’s discussion this third week of Carbon Conversations. Stories of favourite and nightmare journeys were shared – from wonderful night time cycling through Hyde Park to the extreme frustration of delays, queues and missed connections while under pressure to meet a deadline elsewhere. We talked about what travel represents to each of us , especially within a culture where it has become so accessible and so enjoyed. Aspirations to travel the world are encouraged almost as a rite of passage and, subsequently, many thousands of conversations coalesce around those experiences. We looked at our reasons for making journeys and there was a recognition of the challenge that would be felt were the visiting of family and friends abroad to be restricted.
We talked about the advantages and deficiencies of cycling and the current public transport system – who it works for, or not, – and some of the steps that could be taken to make it more accessible for all and why the obstacles to this happening are so significant. There was a recognition that solutions in potentially wonderful technologies may be still in their infancy! This theme of taking difficult carbon-reducing decisions was continued in the group game we played: we experienced how lifestyle changing decisions could be made at the individual family level (good, though sometimes not to our liking, inconvenient and expensive) alongside having the opportunity to make strategic policy decisions at a government level (also good, potentially having a great impact but likely to incur huge resistance from many quarters).
We spent some time reflecting on the dilemma of what feels acceptable behaviour and how we can take responsibility for our carbon footprint . Our final activity was deciding on a manageable action that we want to take and then looking at the driving and restraining forces that we could see coming into play, and then focusing on reducing the effect of the restraining forces. Plenty to think about during the week!