Summer is well and truly upon us, and that means jetting off the new exciting locations on holidays. As wonderful as travelling is, it can have terrible effects on the environment. Flying makes up 2% of all greenhouse gas emissions. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) revealed in 2018 that 4.3 billion people flew. This was an increase of 38 million from 2017. Climate change is almost exclusively the result of human Co2 emissions. We need to drastically reduce our emissions to stay under 1.5 degrees of global heating. It’s so important if we’re going to travel, to travel green.
Living sustainably doesn’t mean you should just stop travelling altogether, it just means you should be more mindful about it. Here’s how to travel greener this holiday season:
There’s a growing movement of people who actually just don’t fly at all. Emma Thompson was criticised lately for flying from LA to London for the Extinction Rebellion. The No-Fly 2019 campaign is encouraging people to go a year without flying, and some think not flying should become as popular as Veganuary is.
Some would argue that they actually had a more fulfilling trip, travelling by other means. Although the additional cost, and the need for more time off, can be inconvenient, it’s a sacrifice worth making. Elise Fitzsimmons co-founder and publisher of the feminist travel magazine, Unearth Women, weighted in on travelling green:
“With a little preplanning, careful packing, and consideration travellers can cut down on single-use plastics every day. An easy way to minimize single-use is to invest in a UV water filter and a metal or BPA free reusable plastic bottle.
Whatever the water quality may be where you are headed, it is a good idea to remember to pack your water bottle. Purchasing single-use water bottles while you are strolling the museums or gearing up for a trek add up.
According to Earth Day, humans use 1MM plastic water bottles per minute. Carrying reusable utensils with you can help cut down on the plastics you consume when indulging in takeout or street food.
If you enjoy using straws remember to keep a reusable, folding straw in your day pack or purse. When out shopping for groceries or gifts brings with you a soft tote bag and skip the plastic.
Many towns and cities have enacted a tax or fee on plastic bags at grocery stores. Save money and the environment when you remember your tote. For your morning drink, skip the plastic lid or bring your travel mug. Travelling can be a whirlwind, but taking a moment to slow down and consider the plastics involved in your daily purchasing decisions, you can make an impact. “
Alternative modes of transport
“Trains are a relaxing way to see parts of the country you might otherwise fly over. Seat 61 has a wealth of knowledge about rail travel everywhere from Australia to Zambia. When travelling overland by car ride-sharing will cut down on emissions.
Companies like BlaBlaCar are a reliable source for sharing rides and are ideal for backpackers with a little more time. For the truly adventurous, one can bike from one country to the next! Looking to cross oceans and seas? Consider purchasing a repositioning ticket on a cruise line. When a cruise line moves a ship from one rout to another in a different part of the world, re-positioning cruise tickets can be purchased for deeply discounted prices.”
Elise also advises tourists to look for tour companies that support local communities. This means staying in locally owned hotels, eat in places that cook locally sourced produce, are B corps, adhere to ChildSafe policies, and connect with the local community.
“From bat conservation in Australia to Souks and Sahara in Morocco, Unearth Women is partnering with boutique tour companies to bring eco-conscious and responsible travellers on life-changing trips around the globe”, she explained.
Carbon Offsetting Flights
You can try carbon offsetting after flying if you don’t have an alternative mode of travel. Carbon offsetting means compensating for the emissions caused by the trip Some airlines offer their own carbon offsetting, but at the moment most don’t. For those who don’t, companies like ClimateCare, and C-Level do. You can calculate how much your journey generated and then donate money to off-setting projects. C-Level were actually the ones who coined the term “Carbon Footprint”, in the 2000s!
CEO of ClimateCare, Edward Hanrahan explains that:
“We know that many airlines are looking at ways to reduce the environmental impact of their flights – so what can they do in the interim to help their passengers reduce their personal travel carbon footprint? If flying, it is essential that either the airline or the customer takes responsibility for the emissions from these flights. Some airlines such as Virgin Atlantic and Air New Zealand provide their passengers with easy to use carbon offset calculators. For maximum effectiveness, these should be well signed and effectively promoted to passengers. It should also be made as simple as possible for passengers to offset, for example within the booking path and when checking-in online. Finally, airlines need to ensure they are working with a reputable partner with a strong delivery track record.”
ClimateCare and its partners have cut over 33 million tonnes of CO₂ and improved quality of life for more than 34 million people around the world, and develop programmes to tackle poverty, improve health, and protect the environment, you can find their carbon calculator here.
Are you going anywhere this summer? If so, how are you planning to travel green on holidays?
This is not a sponsored post.