The best option by far is to plan a plane-free route to your holiday destination. The environmental group Tourism Concern predicts that by 2015 half of the annual destruction of the ozone layer will be caused by commercial air traffic. If you feel you have no option but to take to the skies try to avoid internal flights and stopovers. Take-offs and landings release the most carbon.
You can also offset the carbon emissions of your flight – either by investing in a campaign against climate change or planting some trees. Although offsetting schemes are hugely controversial, many environmentalists argue it’s better than nothing. Log on to www.futureforests.com or www.climatecare.org, which have carbon calculators to show how much your flight has cost the planet.
For short journeys cars are the least green transport. Cold engines produce up to 60 per cent more fumes than warm ones and it takes about five miles before catalytic converters begin to work. But if the car remains the only option there are a number of practical measures you can take to improve fuel economy – avoiding fast acceleration/ heavy braking, making sure your car is properly tuned and checking that the tyres are at the correct pressure for starters.
For journeys overseas, the train is something of an underused option – though the Eurostar service to Paris and Brussels has helped. In April Eurostar announced plans to make its high-speed train services ‘even greener’ and slash CO2 emissions by 25 per cent per traveller journey by 2012. A full train is at least twice as energy efficient – and less polluting – than a full car. However, despite the absence of direct carbon emissions the electric train is mainly powered by fossil fuels – coal and gas – so it’s not an entirely eco-friendly option.
Buses and coaches
Bus and coach travel is a less greener option than train travel but far better than car. The government website www.direct.gov.uk/en/travelandtransport/index provides information on your nearest bus or coach service, the types of tickets you can buy and how to avoid a penalty fare in London, among much else. You can even find out how to hire a coach or community bus. There are also details of discounted bus and coach tickets for young people, seniors and disabled people.
Don’t let the fact that Margaret Beckett is a caravanning enthusiast put you off. According to the Telegraph she described it as the ‘environmentally friendly way’ to holiday and she has a point.
Caravanners spend most of their holiday outdoors and eliminate the need for concrete cities of purpose built holiday resorts, instead using the existing infrastructure of roads, towns, villages and farms. But some vans are oil-leaking eco-disasters and some sites are stains on the landscape.
A variety of organisations offer guidelines on how to caravan responsibly, from national caravan clubs through to Friends of the Earth, the three main points being: choosing environmentally aware sites; thinking about how to operate, in the caravan and around the site; and ensuring that the caravan itself is as environmentally sound as possible. For more tips check out www.practicalcaravan.com/features/green.html
Most water travel is low impact – especially sailing vessels – and although it is slow and the port may be some distance away, sea travel is a worthy green option. Eco-cruises have taken off in response to a quest by both passengers and cruise operators to go off the beaten track and explore their natural surroundings more respectfully .
Remember not to overlook the cheapest form of holiday transport, your legs! Walking or cycling is the cheapest and greenest travel option by far. So consider holidaying locally. Explore walking holidays on www.ramblers.org.uk and cycle tours on www.bicyclebeano.co.uk. And even if you haven’t managed to make it to your holiday destination by entirely eco-friendly means try to make it up by only walking, biking and using public transport to get around once there. Chop and change
Choosing a single best method of transport can be difficult and sometimes impossible. Consider combining different options to make the best use of each. Go on journey planner websites such as www.seat61.com, which advocates travel by train and ship. It contains comprehensive information on just about any route a traveller could desire.
The new ecoescape green travel guide helps you find the nearest rail and cycle route links to help you on your way. A bit of forward planning can ensure you adopt a convenient mix of various ethical transport for different parts of the journey.
In March 2007, Ed Gillespie set off on his round-the-world trip as a ‘slow traveller’. For the most part, slow travel involves anything but flying and is the antidote to fast getaway breaks. It follows on the heels of the slow food movement, the antidote to fast food. Gillespie is cataloguing his year-long trip on www.lowcarbontravel.com. So don’t let the extra time taken to ethically travel put you off. The pleasure should be in the journey not just the destination.
Laying out the case for Labour's leadership of a Progressive Alliance, Jeremy Gilbert argues that far from posing a threat to the Left, the Progressive Alliance offers a golden opportunity to end Tory rule and build a 21st century government committed to social justice.
The Greens have stood down in Brighton Kemptown to clear the way for Labour, and the Lib Dems won’t stand in Brighton’s other seat, Green-held Pavilion. Davy Jones, who would have been the Green candidate in Kemptown, says this shows the way forward
The snap general election represents a unique opportunity to defeat this terrible government. We believe that visual artists have a crucial role to play!
Drax is the UK's biggest source of CO2 emissions – and we're paying for it, writes Almuth Ernsting
For the past 3 years, Barby Asante and members of London-based artists' collective, sorryyoufeeluncomfortable, have been responding directly to the vision of James Baldwin. Ahead of the nationwide release of a new film about the American activist and author, they reflect on the enduring relevance of Baldwin in Britain today.
Housing campaigners' gains in Bristol are spurring on a national movement to build a renters' union, writes Stuart Melvin
A new Espionage Act threatens whistleblowers and journalists, writes Sarah Kavanagh
We need an anti-austerity alliance, not a vaguely progressive alliance, argues Michael Calderbank
Rahila Gupta talks to Kimmie Taylor about life on the frontline in Rojava
It may seem as though these apps are working for us, but we are also working for the apps, writes Kurt Iveson
Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 24 May
On May 24th, we’ll be holding the third of Red Pepper’s Race Section Open Editorial Meetings.
Our activism will be intersectional, or it will be bullshit…
Reflecting on a year in the environmental and anti-racist movements, Plane Stupid activist, Ali Tamlit, calls for a renewed focus on the dangers of power and privilege and the means to overcome them.
West Yorkshire calls for devolution of politics
When communities feel that power is exercised by a remote elite, anger and alienation will grow. But genuine regional democracy offers a positive alternative, argue the Same Skies Collective
How to resist the exploitation of digital gig workers
For the first time in history, we have a mass migration of labour without an actual migration of workers. Mark Graham and Alex Wood explore the consequences
The Digital Liberties cross-party campaign
Access to the internet should be considered as vital as access to power and water writes Sophia Drakopoulou
#AndABlackWomanAtThat – part III: a discussion of power and privilege
In the final article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr gives a few pointers on how to be a good ally
Event: Take Back Control Croydon
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Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 19 April
On April 19th, we’ll be holding the second of Red Pepper’s Race Section Open Editorial Meetings.
Changing our attitude to Climate Change
Paul Allen of the Centre for Alternative Technology spells out what we need to do to break through the inaction over climate change
Introducing Trump’s Inner Circle
Donald Trump’s key allies are as alarming as the man himself
#AndABlackWomanAtThat – part II: a discussion of power and privilege
In the second article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the silencing of black women and the flaws in safe spaces
Joint statement on George Osborne’s appointment to the Evening Standard
'We have come together to denounce this brazen conflict of interest and to champion the growing need for independent, truthful and representative media'
Paul O’Connell and Michael Calderbank consider the conditions that led to the Brexit vote, and how the left in Britain should respond
On the right side of history: an interview with Mijente
Marienna Pope-Weidemann speaks to Reyna Wences, co-founder of Mijente, a radical Latinx and Chincanx organising network
Disrupting the City of London Corporation elections
The City of London Corporation is one of the most secretive and least understood institutions in the world, writes Luke Walter
#AndABlackWomanAtThat: a discussion of power and privilege
In the first article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the oppression of her early life and how we must fight it, even in our own movement
Corbyn understands the needs of our communities
Ian Hodson reflects on the Copeland by-election and explains why Corbyn has the full support of The Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union
Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 15 March
On 15 March, we’ll be holding the first of Red Pepper’s Race Section open editorial meetings.
Social Workers Without Borders
Jenny Nelson speaks to Lauren Wroe about a group combining activism and social work with refugees
Growing up married
Laura Nicholson interviews Dr Eylem Atakav about her new film, Growing Up Married, which tells the stories of Turkey’s child brides
The Migrant Connections Festival: solidarity needs meaningful relationships
On March 4 & 5 Bethnal Green will host a migrant-led festival fostering community and solidarity for people of all backgrounds, writes Sohail Jannesari
Reclaiming Holloway Homes
The government is closing old, inner-city jails. Rebecca Roberts looks at what happens next
Intensification of state violence in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey
Oppression increases in the run up to Turkey’s constitutional referendum, writes Mehmet Ugur from Academics for Peace
Pass the domestic violence bill
Emma Snaith reports on the significance of the new anti-domestic violence bill
Report from the second Citizen’s Assembly of Podemos
Sol Trumbo Vila says the mandate from the Podemos Assembly is to go forwards in unity and with humility
Protect our public lands
Last summer Indigenous people travelled thousands of miles around the USA to tell their stories and build a movement. Julie Maldonado reports
From the frontlines
Red Pepper’s new race editor, Ashish Ghadiali, introduces a new space for black and minority progressive voices
How can we make the left sexy?
Jenny Nelson reports on a session at The World Transformed
In pictures: designing for change
Sana Iqbal, the designer behind the identity of The World Transformed festival and the accompanying cover of Red Pepper, talks about the importance of good design
Angry about the #MuslimBan? Here are 5 things to do
As well as protesting against Trump we have a lot of work to get on with here in the UK. Here's a list started by Platform