Margrethe Sagevik, a Sustainable Development Advisor at UIC, is one of the fortunate individuals who are travelling from Kyoto to Copenhagen over the next two weeks by train.
Norwegian born Margrethe was one of the team that came up with the idea of a train journey to symbolically connect Kyoto and Copenhagen but she never expected to be one of the people actually making the journey.
“Travelling on the worlds longest rail journey has always been a dream for me”, said Margrethe, “however this journey, amazing as it will be, will not be for pleasure alone.”
This journey is the symbolic joining of two climate summits and a mission to promote the role of rail in sustainable transport and so Margrethe will be taking full advantage of the journey through Russia to see how Russian railways face up to the challenges of keeping the worlds longest railway line functioning in the extremes of a Siberian mid-winter.
“On this journey we get a unique opportunity to see how the impacts of the changing climate have affected a whole continent. By reporting live on what we see along the journey we hope we can increase the attention to the urgency of acting and the importance of reaching an agreement on how to combat climate change in Copenhagen.”
I asked Margrethe how she would cope personally with living on a train for so long. She said,
“Well I’m really looking forward to meeting and learning from people during the journey. And during the quiet times I’ll listen to music – perhaps some of the bands that I did not have the chance to hear during the Norwegian summer rock festival I worked for last summers.”
“But one of the first things I must do is buy some cold-weather clothes in Vladivostok! Something that can keep me warm when we get off the train and its minus 20.”
About Margrethe’s role at UIC
Margrethe has been working for UIC (www.uic.org) since 2003 and has participated in all the United Nations Climate Change conferences since then. She was responsible for the Keep Kyoto on Track campaign, a communication campaign targeting conference participants with a message that the transport sector can achieve sustainable mobility through rail and public transport. Her role is to help co-ordinate the teams and projects that are moving the railway sector to operate in an increasingly sustainable way.
Margrethe is also one of a team who are alerting the rail sector to the challenges they face from infrastructure damage due to climate change: damage caused by flood, land-slip and power loss from high winds.