The sustainable experience of the world: How does climate-friendly travel work?

Everyone only has to travel once in their life if we want to stick to our CO2 budget. But can we also travel sustainably to protect the climate and the world? Maria Cappeler, author of A Beautiful Planet, has the answers.

By Jersen Livia Paya

Copywriter, journalist and author Maria Kappeler lives in Salzburg. The nearest S-Bahn station is 2 km away and you don’t need a car. She is also a passionate slow traveler. “I do everything on foot, by bike and by train.” However, it “completed” the days of low-cost airlines and finally made them think. Because as a travel journalist, she has traveled a lot with bloggers and at one point asked herself “what are we really doing there? We like to say we look at foreign cultures, but would we like to look at Thailand as much if the prices there were at Western levels? I don’t think so.” It’s not just about your personal carbon footprint, but also your understanding of the values ​​you take with you from home. So what can we do better in the future to preserve the world? We talk to the author of Lovely Planet about it.

Jasmine Walter

Jersen Livia Paya: In your book you wrote about “traveling with your heart and keeping the world”, what do you mean?

Maria Kappeler: When we travel, we always get excited. To paraphrase a philosopher I spoke to, one must allow the heart to run the mind as well and not just define travel in terms of excitement. It’s not just about personal enrichment. The ability to get excited and open up when traveling can also be used to rethink travel. So traveling with a heart of course means first and foremost being grateful for what I have already seen and that I can absolutely travel. Because a lot of people can’t do that. Most of the world’s population has never seen what’s inside a plane. This is part of the idea behind Traveling with the Heart.

Keyword Airplane: The new buzzword “terranean” – i.e. traveling without a plane, have you been using it for a long time?

I’ve been asked about it a lot lately and I think it’s an apt term. I also think that this can be achieved and that I will probably get used to it afterwards. Personally, I don’t need that kind of terminology, but I think a lot of people need it just so they can stick to something that might be part of a trend. This simply has a relaxing effect on your mind when you know a plane is out of the question. I think it makes sense.

Traveling without a plane is nothing new. Is “terran” just a new marketing word? Why do you need a new word for it?

This is something that came out in my book, that we humans always do what other people do, and what those around us do. We don’t really understand that. Our brains are always in line with what really is and what is the norm, even if that means flying around the world and not caring. And our brain has a certain ability that we need for everyday life. That’s why it’s important to set new standards, because it doesn’t work that way. And you can see that with the example of vegetarians, it took a while before it was at least partially established.

Some people need this to follow directions. And this is at least a trend that does not harm the environment, but rather the opposite.

But it’s not about trends. It’s about making a story. “You only feel comfortable on the beach where this movie was filmed” – this is quite a common cliché, and it also comes from marketing, so take up these “weapons of marketing”. Psychologically, this is probably the best approach to ‘terrain’ direction.

book cover

Kremayr and Scheriau

“Beautiful Planet. Travel with Your Hearts, Save the World” by Maria Kappeler Published by Kremayr & Scheriau.

More on this topic:

Flying and the pronoun “tiran” – a new word that should create a new reality, something like “vegetarian”. It means traveling without a plane for environmental reasons. The question arises as to whether everyone who still flies should feel ashamed from now on—and what the potential elimination of long-distance travel means for people’s cultural self-image.

In your book A Beautiful Planet and in your work you talk to philosophers, psychologists and researchers and invite everyone to ask questions. What is the most important question when I want to travel sustainably?

Perhaps the most important question is the question of your own values. Am I someone who cares about environmental sustainability? I must know my own values. And if that’s important to me as I deal with the realities of flying, for example, I might make a different decision than I might now. Why do I travel and what effect does my travel actually have? Traveling is a very selfish behaviour. If you want to travel wisely, you should always ask: Yes, what will my trip actually do? So it’s not just what I extracted from it myself.

You also mentioned the costs: who can travel such long distances by train or ship abroad? So who has this privilege of time? Or is it just something that only franchisees can have?

Traveling is a privilege. Even in Austria, not everyone can travel. Some residents can afford several long trips per year, others may be able to afford a trip to Mallorca every two years. Some enjoy greater privileges and through their actions cause more harm, so to speak. I think they have more responsibility too. This is now called “environmentally concerned climate culprits,” so to speak. Often some of them are well educated, may have completed a semester abroad, live in Vienna in an apartment in an old building, worry a lot about the climate.

But they often get on the plane. In other words, in my view, the privileged will have more responsibility anyway. You also have more time and money, you can better arrange it for such long trips, by train, ship, etc. Assuming we are moving a lot anyway, we simply have to travel a little less and then travel much longer and more purposefully. The economic and digital nomadic then cannot afford it. Moreover, the world of work is also changing: keywords for home offices. You can have more free time every time, you can take a vacation. So planning a longer trip every few years would be a good approach. And those who only have time to travel one week a year anyway, yes, should consider the permissible radius range.

We all deserve the rest, but flying is not a human right.

You yourself traveled to Morocco by train and ship and then returned by plane. What are the moments when you say you can fly now or you can even say it like that?

Yes, I think everyone should figure it out for themselves. That’s why I stand for knowing your own values. Purely mathematically speaking, you’re never allowed to fly for life anyway, so maybe one “fair” trip in a lifetime, or two, or 3, or 4 shorter flights. This will be if you want to achieve climate goals and distribute the global carbon dioxide budget fairly, so to speak, to everyone in the world. It’s not about ego and it’s not about personal enrichment, it’s about the planet.

Excerpts from the book “Beautiful Planet”: “According to the Paris climate target, global warming must be limited to less than two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. To achieve this, everyone in the world must emit only about two tons of carbon dioxide per year. European Union citizens also consume eight to nine tons per year on average with four times the amount of carbon dioxide.The average global consumption is about four tons of carbon dioxide per year, which is still double the calculated maximum.

I think everyone can find their own way of dealing with it: maybe you can continue to fly the way you want and campaign to create a CO2 account or wealth. Because the rich also contribute a lot to it. The question is also: Why is travel so important to us? I think there is something wrong with our social structure and way of life. We just don’t act type-appropriate which is why we always want to get away somehow, because we can finally be there, so to speak. The most important approach is the journey indoors.

What other tangible improvements would you require for travel on Earth?

structural change. At some point you are no longer using a flight search engine and looking for a flight of course, but this is only a train search engine. Cross-border travel and reservations by road should become simpler and more straightforward. But that is also being worked on.

The train runs along the coast

CC0 via Pixabay

But I don’t think you can always blame “those who are out there” for everything, it’s also about a change in consciousness, not just making demands.

Environmental psychologist Sebastian Seebauer explained to me that a lot of it is about taking actual action and seeing it work. Then it’s about telling the story, trying again, and sometimes failing.

But if you can’t get to work and just wait for everything to work as well as possible, you can probably wait forever.

For a systemic change, we need to demand and support it, above all by the population.

FM4 On Loud: What do you think of “overland” travel?

A new buzzword is haunting the media: “Land” is alive. With climate protection in mind, travel across terrain should reduce its carbon dioxide emissions and create more climate justice. This should be possible through the use of exclusively ground transportation such as trains, buses, bicycles or even on foot, even over long distances.

But how good is international rail travel to Portugal, Scotland or the Black Sea currently? Frequent transfers, high travel costs, onerous train ticket reservations: How attractive is long-distance train travel on Earth, as long as there is no unified rail network in Europe? Under what circumstances is it conceivable to give up flying this summer and travel on Earth? What do you think about it and how do you snow it?

Claudia Untrueger talks at FM4 Auf Laut with Elias Bohun from Traivelling, with Bernhard Rieder from ÖBB and with communicators about the earthly lifestyle and sustainable mobility. Call and join the discussion on Tuesday, May 17th. From 9 pm 0800226996 is the studio number, call and join the discussion!

Leave a Comment