Tourism is responsible for roughly 8% of the world’s carbon emissions, making it a significant contributor to global climate change. Don’t worry though. There’s no need to cut travel out of your life completely in order to combat global warming. There are many ways you can reduce your footprint when traveling. And if enough travelers are making smart, sustainable choices, we can lessen our impact on the planet. Here are five suggestions to get you moving in the right direction.
Use ground transportation when possible
Traveling from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia? Or maybe New York City to Boston? Skip the puddle jumper flight and just drive the three or four hours instead. Even better, take the train. Ground transportation is always a more environmentally-friendly option than flying. Taking the time out of your day to drive versus fly will reduce your carbon footprint dramatically.
Choose your airline carefully
If you do need to fly, be strategic. Some airlines purchase carbon credits to address their large carbon footprint. Others take their commitment further by using biofuels as a step toward sustainable flying.
While the supply of biofuel doesn’t meet the demand yet, there are airlines investing in its growth. If you live in the United States, popular airlines using biofuels include United Airlines, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue.
The biggest use of fuel when it comes to flying is take off and landing. The more flights you take, the more you’re contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Resulting in a larger carbon footprint. Do your best to find a nonstop flight to your destination, even if it means you have to pay a little more. Or take ground transportation to an airport further away from your home because ultimately, that will help reduce your footprint.
Offset your flight
Some airlines offer the opportunity to offset their operations via offset credits. Consumers, however, also have the option to offset their flights by purchasing credits independently. When purchasing offset credits from a third-party, you will typically provide information regarding your travel and calculate the number of credits you need to purchase to essentially “undo” the damage your travel contributed to the environment.
After you purchase the credits, the proceeds then go to an organization, like Sustainable Travel International, that’s doing reforestation, clean energy and carbon projects around the world.
When you’re actually in your destination, look for ways you can conserve energy. Choose hotels that use solar power. Rent energy-efficient cars. Purchase solar-powered chargers for your mobile devices. Simply turn off the lights, television and air conditioning when you leave your hotel room.
It all adds up.