It’s not easy to tread lightly upon the earth when you have 10lb of mud on each boot, but we try….
If yesterday was the hump day, maybe today was the clump day. The forecast was for sunshine and rain – but we got very little of either. It was a day of grey skies and grey fields. Thank heavens for our bright orange jackets and baseball caps to brighten up the day. I had the feeling that orange – as well as being symbolic of change – would be just the ray of sunshine we needed to boost our spirits on a drab winter’s day. And as I increasingly find as I tune into my intuition, it has turned out to be a great success.
The only dodgy orange moment was when we entered a field past a sign saying “Beware of the bull”. Laura asked the key question: “So what are we supposed to do about it?” To which I replied, “Not wave any red hankies in its direction?” “And what about bright orange jackets?” came the rather too pertinent response.
Luckily the bulls, although large and funny-faced, were mostly benign. After a few faintly hostile glares they ambled off out of our way.
Today the challenges were less bovine, more medical. Jane has some new boots – alas, not Keens, our sponsor’s footwear not being available in Colchester at short notice – and by swapping between her new boots and Laura’s old boots was able to adjust the pressure points on her feet at regular intervals. Alison’s knee is like a melon, but she soldiers on stoically. We are considering how to make it through the rest of our journey without anyone suffering permanent injury, and have lined up a few environmentally friendly contingency plans.
It is fascinating to think that 200 years ago – even 100 years ago – walking was THE way to travel. Our 20th/21st century bodies are just not used to walking long mileages day after day. What softies we’ve become! Yet, no matter the aches and pains, it still feels pleasantly natural and, well, HUMAN to move at walking pace. When we cross over a motorway or major road, the traffic seems to whizz by at an indecently fast pace, the smell of exhaust fumes unpleasant, and the roar of internal combustion engines displeasing to our ears. By contrast walking, for all its limitations, seems to connect us to our human heritage. We have time to notice trees and wonder at their species, we surprise rabbits by approaching unheard, we send pheasants flapping hectically out of hedgerows as we pass. We see people working in their gardens and have time to say “Good morning” and comment on the weather.
It feels good.
Tomorrow night we take the ferry. Not as environmentally low impact as we’d hoped to be, but we didn’t manage to find a sailboat to take us across – and given the weather conditions the ferry is
probably a more reliable bet than sail. Out of interest, here are the CO2 comparisons:
Options for the outwards journey:
Flying from London to Brussels produces approximately 400 kg of CO2 per person.
Train (Eurostar) produces about 20 kg of CO2.
Our choice: Walking (with ferry across the North Sea to Holland) produces only 12 kg.
And for the return journey:
Flying from Copenhagen to London produces over 360 kg of CO2.
Our choice: A train ride from Copenhagen to London produces approximately 55 kg of CO2 per passenger.
‣ The UK’s total carbon footprint is over 500 million tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of over 420 million flights from New York to Los Angeles. Individuals account for 45% of this.
‣ The average carbon footprint per person in the UK is 10 tonnes. The average Indian is less than 2 tonnes and the average American or Saudi is closer to 20 tonnes.
And Alison is sitting here in the Sun Inn, Dedham (home town of the painter Constable) reminding me that if we want to save our snow – and the planet – we ALL need to get down to 2 tonnes. Wow.
Lovely mention by Act on Copenhagen, a subdivision of the UK government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change – click here to see it.
Please support my friend David Kroodsma, veteran of the Climate Ride (bicycle ride from New York to DC), tech guy for 350.org, long distance cyclist (San Francisco to Tierra del Fuego) and all-round good guy. He is hoping to be selectedby the Huffington Post as their Hopenhagen Ambassador to report back from Copenhagen. I personally would love to see him there, and believe he would make a great correspondent. Please watch his video and vote for him here!
[All photos today: credit to Alison Gannett and her trusty iPhone!]