In March, I was invited to speak at a “Jewish Feminisms” conference, so I tried an experiment: I hauled myself from Denver, Colorado to Ann Arbor, Michigan—all on a long-distance Amtrak train. The journey was 2,460 miles; including delays, it took me over 40 hours to get there and over 35 hours to get back.
Being on a train for that long was mind-numbingly boring most of the time. I found myself wanting to jump off at several points. There were weird smells, and the food was awful.
And yet, according to this nifty little carbon footprint calculator, taking the train resulted in a carbon footprint of 0.05 metric tons. If I had flown, my carbon footprint for this trip would have been 0.81 metric tons, which is more than 16 times the carbon.