It’s no secret that jet-setting around the world via airplane is not the most environmentally-friendly thing to do. Here are 7 ways you can offset your carbon footprint.
Yet, it seems that even the most conscious travelers are guilty of disregarding this fact. Almost 2% of total man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions worldwide can be linked to the aviation industry. While this percentage may seem quite small, let’s put it into perspective:
For every mile (~2km) a plane travels, a little over 53 pounds (24 kg) of CO2 is emitted. This means that an estimated 600 million tonnes of CO2 is being released into the atmosphere annually. When these gases enter the atmosphere, they trap heat from the sun reflecting off the Earth’s surface, producing a natural greenhouse effect. This thus causes global surface temperatures to increase (aka that little thing we all know as global warming), which ultimately leads to climate change.
So really, that 2% is a very big deal. However, with more and more people becoming interested in traveling the world, these statistics are only expected to increase. Leading experts predict that the aviation industry could potentially contribute to 15% of man-made CO2 emissions by 2050 if our current habits don’t change.
But let’s face it, flying is the most convenient and quickest way to globe trot- these days, nobody has the time to get from Hong Kong to Honolulu (and back!) by sailboat. But giving up or cutting back on flying aren’t your only options- Here are 7 ways you can offset your carbon footprint this year.
1. Choose Economy Class
In a purely physical sense, economy class seats are closer together, which allows more travelers onto the flight and spreads out carbon emissions between a greater number of passengers. Although coach may not have luxuriously spacious seats and free-flow champagne, choosing to fly economy class is better for both the environment AND your wallet. #WorthIt
2. Take Direct Flights
Takeoffs and landings are responsible for burning the most fuel, so opting for a non-stop flight can cut emissions by 35%. Although direct flights can be slightly more costly than paths with multiple layovers, choosing to fly directly to your destination is the greenest option. There’ll be fewer CO2 emissions being released into the environment + You’ll be spending less time on an airplane. Win-Win.
3. Combine Trips
If time permits, why not check off multiple bucket-list destinations in one go? Joining several smaller trips in one region will prevent multiple fuel-guzzling, long-haul flights in the future. Giving you just the right excuse you need to book that month-long Euro-trip you’ve always been dreaming about.
Topas EcoLodge—Sa Pa, Vietnam
4. Choose Environmentally Friendly Accommodation
Accommodation, for travel, accounts for around 20% of CO2 emissions. From hostels to hotels, to eco-lodges—there are environmentally friendly options for just about anybody’s taste. Do your research before you book- you’re bound to save a few dollars and a lot of CO2 emissions, as well as plastic waste!
5. Walk or Bike to Sightsee
Delete your Grab app and hit the town to explore by bicycle or on foot. Not only is this an exciting way to see a new place, but it also leaves zero impact. If this is not possible, consider living like a local and taking public transport. Buses and trains disperse their emissions between more riders, thus significantly reducing the amount of greenhouse gases and pollution generated.
6. Neutralise Your Footprint through Carbon Offsetting
Carbon offsetting is the practice of calculating the CO2 created in flight and donating the amount to a project that destroys greenhouse gases and produces renewable energy. Such as, reforestation or a wind farm. One option to offset is Terrapass, check them out to learn more about the initiative and their current projects.
Floating Markets—Bangkok, Thailand
7. Eat Local & Plant-Based
Consider “food miles”, or the distance ingredients travel, when choosing where to dine. Ensuring that your meals are locally sourced can reduce your footprint by up to 7% because fewer CO2 emissions are released to get them from the farm to your table. Not only is this better for the environment, but eating locally also directly supports the surrounding economy and provides you with a way to truly experience the local culture. Additionally, choosing plant-based foods has similar benefits, as fruits and veggies generally have much less of a carbon footprint than animal products. By choosing conscious vegan options, it is possible to reduce food-related CO2 emissions by up to 19%. If this seems out of the question, sacrificing meat for just one or two days can still have a major positive impact.
Following these tips will ensure your wanderlust lifestyle is leaving as minimal of an impact on the planet as possible. Making it a bit easier to sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight. Where will you be flying off to for your next green holiday? Also, here’s an article for you to figure out what carbon neutral energy really is.