From the language that brought us words such as Abba and Celsius, the Swedes have invented a new concept that could soon change the way we travel:

"Flygskam."

Pronounced 'Fleeg –skaam' - it describes the rising social guilt felt by environmentally aware travellers.

Sweden is a country famous for exporting jet setters. Without airplanes there would be no Mama Mia on the Med and Bjorn Borg would have had great difficulty keeping up with the Tennis circuit.

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However, a new generation of Swedes are shunning air transport for trains, believing it to be less harmful to the environment in emissions.

The movement was founded by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, who came up with the concept to put trains-over-planes.

And she practices what she preaches. The young climate activist has accepted invitations to speak at Davos and the climate summit in Katowice, knitting together an international calendar of engagements by rail.

A number of celebrities have also pledged to #stayontheground, including skiing commentator Bjorn Ferry who only travels to competitions via train.

250 people working in the Swedish film industry have signed a petition in the daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter to reduce the amount of filming done abroad.

"I'm certainly affected by my surroundings and (flight shame) has affected how I view flying," said Viktoria Hellstrom, a 27-year-old political science student in Stockholm, quoted by the Daily Mail.

South: Swedes were found to have five times more air miles than the global average. Photo / Getty Images
South: Swedes were found to have five times more air miles than the global average. Photo / Getty Images

She was already cutting down on flights, buying train tickets not planes to holidays in Italy with friends.

"The only way I could justify going there was if I took the train," she said.

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In a study of travel trends over the past thirty years, Swedes were found to have five times the global average air emissions per capita. The study from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg shows that since 1990 emissions from international flights have soared to account for 61 per cent of this.

It might make sense that the Nordic nation is grappling with this issue now.

Although the harsh winters had always been a factor forcing Swedes abroad, is has also been showing the most drastic effects of climate change.

The country is warming at twice the rate of other counties, affecting the natural ecology.

Environmentally aware: In Stockholm, a bike rack takes the space of a car. Photo / Susan Yin, Unsplash
Environmentally aware: In Stockholm, a bike rack takes the space of a car. Photo / Susan Yin, Unsplash

For other Nordic nations the phenomenon hasn't taken off.

Finland came up with their own term "lentohapea", though it has failed to gain much traction.

It's not all doom and gloom and global warming, though. For some Swedes flight shaming has been a positive thing.

The national rail operator SJ reported a 21 per cent rise in business.

The country is reintroducing long forgotten scenic rail journeys for passengers to enjoy taking their time along the snail rail.

Three scenic Swedish rail journeys that demand your time

Last year national rail operator SJ invited polled passengers on the most scenic rail line in the country. Here are the top three, most beautiful tracks through Sweden. It would be a shame to fly.

Lidköping to Mariestad
1 hour
A table top mountain pass provides stunning views over Sweden's largest lake, lake Vänern.

Kiruna to Narvik in Norway
3 hours
The most northerly line through the Lapland mountains joins the two countries crossing over the top of the world.

Järvsö to Ånge
2 hours
A main line though traditional Swedish countryside, mountains and unchanged farmland