We have been hearing the term "global warming". In recent months, I have started to read travel stories about how the permanent ice caps of Kilimanjaro have melted, ski resorts in the Alps have been permanently closed due to less snow, how glaciers in the Arctic have melted, and More and more frequent, more severe weather disturbances are disrupting tourism, and stories continue to happen. Some of these stories even exhort us now not to go before some parts of these scenic spots are changed or disappear forever. Climate change is now a concern for travelers worldwide.
Of course, travel has an impact on the environment. Long-distance travel involves the production of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and passenger aircraft are some of the most intense pollutants present. In addition, wherever we go, we consume food and other services and cause waste. So what should I do?
In terms of aircraft emissions, we can actually do something specific. There are ways to offset the greenhouse gas emissions from air travel by buying trees that will be planted to offset these emissions. In "Trees of the Future," your $ 40 will actually be used to grow 400 trees, which will help offset greenhouse gases. You will also get a Global Cooling Certificate and bumper stickers. On their website, you will also see a list of partners, including hotels and bed and breakfasts powered by renewable energy.
The Rainforest Alliance actually provides a variety of information for eco-savvy travelers. They also provide tourism agencies with sustainable tourism certification based on ways to reduce the consumption of water, energy and other resources and improve waste management, treatment and disposal. They even provide a toolkit of best sustainable tourism practices for tourism SMEs.
On their website, the Rainforest Alliance also promotes many simple eco-friendly behaviors that we can all try to follow:
o Support the local economy by finding locally owned accommodation and dining options, locally grown food, and locally made products and handicrafts.
o Conservation of green hotels, whose managers have formulated water and energy conservation plans.
o Stay on hiking trails. Clean up your mess and dispose of waste properly. Stay away from wild animals.
o Take public transportation as much as possible.
o Avoid vehicles with two-stroke engines, such as motor boats, scooters, and certain boats, which are heavily polluted.
o Culturally sensitive to local customs, greetings, dress and eating habits.
o Treat others with the same respect you demand in your community.
Other eco certification programs for tour operators and tips for savvy consumers include the following websites:
-Green Globe 21
-Global Ecolabel Network
-Climate Neutral Network
Another interesting site is Future Forests: it promotes a "carbon neutral" lifestyle to offset our impact on the environment. The Forest of the Future has been proving people to various environmental gifts since 1997. For example, you can buy a tree for $ 10. You can even plan a carbon-neutral wedding with Future Forests.
One thing about their website is that they provide a very cool carbon emissions calculator that lets you calculate the expected emissions from flying or driving. I thought let's check it, so I entered some hypothetical data for a flight from New York City to London, UK.
I immediately discovered that this flight would produce 1.22 tons of carbon dioxide. The calculator also told me that if I donate 2 trees, I can neutralize flying carbon. Alternatively, I will be able to provide 2 energy-saving light bulbs to a small community in a developing country. Both options will be £ 30. I also checked their carbon drive calculator. If I travel 400 kilometers [250 miles] in a car with an engine size between 1.4 and 2 liters per week, I will produce 4 tons of carbon dioxide per year, which will require 5 trees to offset.
In addition to planting trees, you can also buy "carbon offsets". "Carbon offsets" are actually investments in projects or actions aimed at eliminating greenhouse gas emissions. There are many types of compensation projects, which may include tree planting or afforestation, building renovation [ie installing more efficient heating / cooling systems], or wind power projects.
According to the "Better World Club" website, it works like this: You can fly through the "Better World Travel-Member Reservations" flight and get a free carbon offset [worth $ 11.] For its domestic US flights Book flights over the Internet [another travel agency or airline] and send them tax-deductible donations to offset the CO2 emissions from your flight. [US $ 11 for domestic flights and US $ 22 for international flights.]
So the good news is that, even on the go, there are ways to balance the environmental impact of all of us.