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Carbon Calculator Sand Sculptures for LNER

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Series of sculptures unveiled at London King’s Cross Station to highlight environmental credentials of train travel as staycations boom
© Charlotte Graham

We’re all very concerned about our carbon footprint and how the choices we make day to day have an adverse effect on the planet and the climate emergency. At Sand In Your Eye we are taking steps to reduce our impact and ultimately become carbon neutral. Our sand drawings are very low impact as we rake logos, images and messages into the sand and the tide washes it away leaving no trace. The carved pumpkins we make for Halloween end up on the compost heap, making soil for next years plants to grow in. The paint we use for our field paintings and land art is biodegradable and washes away with the rain.

After a year where we’ve been confined to our homes and local areas because of the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns, the average Brit is predicted to travel 6.7 times the length of the British Isles in the next 12 months to see friends and family and holidaying in the UK or staycationing this summer. This means each person is set to contribute 949kgs of carbon through domestic travel including cars, planes and trains. LNER are trying to encourage people making long distance journeys this year to think about their carbon emissions when travelling across the UK. Over half of us would like to reduce our carbon footprint, travelling by train is a great way to make a massive effect on the amount of carbon we are personally responsible for. An equivalent car journey will produce three times as much carbon and a plane journey to the same destination is a whopping six times more polluting!

Sculpture of Tyne Bridge unveiled at Newcastle Central Station as part of a series highlighting the environmental credentials of train travel as staycations boom.
© Charlotte Graham

They asked us to create a series of pre carved sand sculptures to illustrate these figures as well as some cultural icons to celebrate three of the cities along their network. We sculpted a car, train and plane out of black sand, the size of each was proportional to the amount of carbon they release into the atmosphere – the Azuma diesel/electric hybrid train, used by LNER is tiny in comparison to the jet plane soaring through the skies. London, Newcastle and Edinburgh were represented by Tower Bridge, the Tyne Bridge and a highland cow respectively. The sand sculptures were made in our studio and then delivered to Kings Cross, Newcastle and Edinburgh Waverley train stations and installed by our team.

Sculpture of Tyne Bridge unveiled at Newcastle Central Station as part of a series highlighting the environmental credentials of train travel as staycations boom.
© Charlotte Graham

Sand sculptor Jamie Wardley made his own long distance journey from London, to Newcastle and Edinburgh (via a sand drawing job in Cornwall!) to make some finishing touches to the sculptures and talk to the commuters and day trippers in each of the train stations. To cut down on Sand In Your Eye’s carbon emissions, Jamie now drives a Tesla model 3, which can travel long distances on a single charge. We’re just waiting for them to bring out a van and then our sand drawings, sand sculptures, ice carvings, and pumpkin events can be fully electric and even more environmentally friendly!

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