5 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint While Travelling
Travel offers you opportunities to expand your horizons and enrich your life with experiences that you’ll treasure for years to come. Unfortunately, travelling typically increases your individual carbon footprint too. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the transportation sector alone is responsible for around 34 percent of the greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere each year. These five simple tips can help minimize your carbon footprint and protect the environment so that you can enjoy your trip with clean, green conscience.
The average roundtrip flight across the country releases around 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air for each passenger. That’s actually less than emitted during flights with stop-overs, making non-stop flights a greener option. Consider purchasing enough carbon offsets to counteract the negative effects of your air travel. Reputable carbon-offset organizations typically fund green energy projects that reduce the amount of fossil-fuel emissions released into the atmosphere. Many airlines offer a carbon offset option when you purchase your tickets.
2. Other Transportation Options
When it comes to energy-efficient transportation, train travel wins, hands down. Rail is 18 percent more efficient that airline travel and 24 percent more efficient than travelling by car, according to research conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Rather than hiring a private car for trips to and from the airport, choose shuttle vans that let you share the ride with other travelers. Choose public transportation for sightseeing too and leave the driving to others so that you can enjoy the view. Walking tours are a great option as well, offering you personal, in-depth travel experiences that you just won’t get on a crowded tours bus.
Whenever possible, patronize hotels and resorts that have green programs in place, such as guest room recycling wastes baskets and bins, shampoo and soap dispensers and eco-friendly air conditioning systems. If you’re staying for more than a few days, let the staff know that you won’t need your sheets and towels changed every day. Bring along your own coffee cup so that you won’t have to use Styrofoam cups that can take hundreds of years to decompose.
4. Before You Leave Home
Take a few minutes to green up your home before you depart on your trip. Any appliances or electronics that have LED lights, including television sets and clock radios, continue to draw power even when turned off. Hook them up to a power strip that you can turn off with a flick of the switch or unplug them from the wall. Lower the temperature setting on your hot water heater and adjust settings on your heating and cooling systems.
5. Speak Up
According to a survey conducted by the United States Travel Service (USTS), around 43 million Americans reported being ecologically concerned about the effects of their travel. Voicing your concern to the management of transportation and hospitality services may sway them to adopt green policies and programs. Let business owners know that reducing greenhouse gases is important to you. When patronizing businesses with established green programs, take a moment to thank them for their efforts.