A few years back, I participated in a survey called Project Neutral. It’s a cool initiative that maps your carbon footprint in hopes that you’ll make changes based on the information and strive to be more carbon neutral. The one aspect of the survey results that really shocked me was the transportation section. It’s amazing how much carbon vehicles produce. In a world where we focus on changing light bulbs, it almost feels ridiculous to focus on such minor activities when we all still drive everywhere.
So we’ve talked about riding bikes and carpooling. But you know what produces way more carbon emissions than a car? A plane. It’s pretty disgusting.
“Airplanes are about 3 percent of total global climate emissions. A single flight produces three tons of carbon dioxide per passenger, but the amount goes up dramatically if the plane is nearly empty. Further complicating the picture for planes is that they produce vapor trails and emit tropospheric ozone, which have big — but not long-lasting — climate impacts. CO2 from your car’s exhaust, by contrast, will stay in the atmosphere for centuries.” (Source)
While traveling is touted as a millennial “must-do”, I believe it’s important to consider the environmental impact of that travel. One solution is to buy carbon offsets. This systems calculates the carbon produced by your flight in a dollar amount and then suggests donating that money to an organization that is helping repair the damage done by climate change and global warming. Another option is to travel by train. This is much easier if you’re traveling in Europe as there’s an amazing rail system there which I’d love to see in North America! Train travel here can be very expensive and take days instead of hours.
Another option to consider: stay-cations. Rather than traveling, what about being a tourist locally! Most people don’t usually have the chance to become a tourist in their own area. It’s a great opportunity to check out a local camping spot, visit some places you’ve been meaning to get to, get a little extra sleep, and save a ton of money.