Let’s talk about traveling and the environment.
To be honest, this has been one of the hardest issues we’ve dealt with since starting Radical Broccoli. We have a job that requires traveling, we have a grandmother in Portugal, we have family in Cape Verde Islands, we still have places to explore to gather inspiration from, and we love surfing, which is amazing to enjoy in various tropical spots. We also feel a deep passion for traveling and living abroad, and this has been a big part of our upbringing.
Have we tried to stop traveling? Yes! This summer we both decided to have a staycation instead of traveling to see how that worked out. It was amazing because the city was to quiet during the summer! (We made a guide here).
To us, connecting with other cultures is one of the most valuable learning experiences you can have. Being daughters of two military officers has brought us along on many travels, and we have moved across the world all through-out our childhood. And honestly, nothing has been more educational! (Maybe that’s why we like to keep this blog in English too, hah.)
As a platform sharing inspiration on how to live more eco-friendly, traveling is a part of our lifestyle that has led to many questions. We’ve spent hours and hours to figure out how we can combine all our daily environmental efforts and still be able to have the freedom to travel without making a large negative impact on the environment. As we are super dedicated in our daily life and even embark on crazy projects like our month without plastic, we want to include all aspects of our lifestyle into this climate-positive way of living. We want to share the best solution we have found yet, and how we plan to deal with our upcoming travels and emissions – and would love for you to do the same!
Why is this important?
A 2017 estimate said air travel accounted for 2.5% of all carbon dioxide emissions.
What is carbon offsetting?
Carbon offsetting today is usually done by investing in a project that leads to a reduction in Co2 or equivalent, somewhere else on the planet. This can be anything from projects working on providing clean drinking water in Rwanda, investing in a hydroelectric power plant in Turkey, or investing in a solar power plant in India. Each project is measured in the amount of CO2 equivalents it will reduce each year.
Whatever the approach, a good carbon offset program has its calculations verified by third-party standards. It’s also important that any carbon offset program makes sure that the efforts wouldn’t have been done without the contribution (additionality). And a truly gold-standard carbon offset program also helps local communities by creating jobs or rebuilding biodiversity in the area (1).
What can we do?
1. Calculate the emissions of your trip. Use a calculator such as:
Different calculators have different methods, so the results may vary. Our upcoming trip to Costa Rica, for example, resulted in somewhere in between 1.9 – 3.5 tonnes Co2.
2. Reduce your emissions. There are various ways to go here:
- Firstly, let’s reduce our fossil fuel consumption by setting up online meetings through Skype, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts instead of traveling for short meetings.
- Investigate fuel-efficient airlines. The International Council on Clean Transportation has made a list of the 20 most efficient airlines in the Transatlantic (Norwegian Airlines is #1 – yay!!) and the Transpacific.
- Join Chooose – an amazing company that does the offsetting for you, all you do is sign up to be a member.
- Select a certified carbon reduction program. Check these sights:
- Additionally, consider how you can alter your plans to include direct flights instead or layovers, closer destinations, and accommodations using renewable energy sources.
Carbon offsetting criticism
Of course, buying carbon offsets won’t stop global warming, but if you’re going to travel anyway, this is probably your best climate-friendly alternative. The method can also be criticized as a way to just feel better about our emissions and disincentive us from working to reduce them. This might be the case, but we always salute all efforts of doing better. Personally, we will work on doing both these things combined!
Until planes can fly on renewable power, air travel will have a carbon footprint. If you want to do your part in limiting your emissions, this might be your best bet!
- How to Use Carbon Offsets on Your Next Trip
- Why biofuel for aircraft holds out promise but isn’t ready to fly yet
- Qantas uses mustard seeds in first ever biofuel flight between Australia and US