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Travel green; reducing your carbon footprint

Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, Thailand, India, Hong Kong, Egypt, Turkey, England, Scotland, Belgium, France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Malta, Greece, Curacao, Nicaragua; just a little list of countries I have been in the last few years. I love travelling. At the same time, I know getting in those plans is really bad for Mother Earth. And I love Mother Earth, because she is one of the biggest reasons I travel. So how to travel green; reducing your carbon footprint.

  • Reduce air travel: Air travel is one of the worst contributors to the release of CO2 into the atmosphere. CO2 is responsible for global heating (see below)
  • If you have to fly: book direct flights rather than multiple legs, fly with environmentally friendly airlines and buy offsets from certified and third-party verified projects
  • Spend a bit more to stay in a central location so you can walk, bike or take public transport to the sights instead of having to rent a car to travel long distances
  • Take a reusable water bottle with you A plastic bottle travels thousands of miles before you buy it
  • Stay at hotels that encourage guests to use less water and energy. Don’t have you linens changed every day and use your towel more than one shower
  • Choose restaurants and bars that use locally produced and/or organic foods
  • At beach towns look for chefs who buy from local fishermen as they bring in their catch of the day. This way you are supporting local communities and cutting down on emissions caused by food that travels long distances
  • Reduce energy consumption: switch off electrical equipment when it is not in use, turn off lights, fans, airco that are not needed, do not leave the tap running when you brush your teeth, choose showers over baths, take the adapter out (eEven without a phone plugged in, it’s using energy)
  • If you travel by car remove baggage you do not need (saves petrol) and inflate your tires properly
  • Recycle
  • Before buying anything, ask yourself – “Do I really need this?“
  • Buy at local markets instead of super markets. Some green products are shipped thousands of miles in refrigerated trucks before it hits your supermarket
  • Cut down on red meat livestock industry is responsible for millions of tones of methane, a greenhouse gas, entering our atmosphere each year
  • Bring a reusable shopping sack
  • Use refillable bottles for toiletries
  • Pack collapsible flatware and utensils
  • Pick up your trash
  • Give back: pack old clothes to leave behind, old toys, take crayons, pens etc.
  • Buy local souvenirs
  • Choose a trip and tour operator that strengthens the conservation efforts for and enhances the natural integrity of the places you visit
  • Set the right example yourselves!

A carbon footprint is:
The total amount of greenhouse gases produced by direct and indirect human activities; expressed in tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).
In other words: When you drive a car, the engine burns fuel which creates a certain amount of CO2, depending on its fuel consumption and the driving distance. When you heat your house with oil, gas or coal (or electricity) you also generate CO2. When you buy food and goods the production of the food and goods also emit quantities of CO2 (transport). Your carbon footprint is the sum of all emissions of CO2, which were induced by your activities in a given time frame.
For each liter of diesel used, 2,7 kg carbon dioxide is emitted. If your car consumes 7.5 liter diesel per 100 km, then a drive of 300 km distance consumes 3 x 7.5 = 22.5 liters of diesel, which adds 22.5 x 2.7 kg = 60.75 kg CO2 to your personal carbon footprint.

What’s the CO2 problem?
The amount of CO2 released in the atmosphere every year has increased markedly since the Industrial Revolution. From 280 ppm (parts per million) to 395 ppm as of 2013. Main reason: burning of fossil fuels. This level is the highest in the past 800,000 years. Consequence: warms up the earth.Now our food system, our economies, our cities and our communities — they’re all adapted to the climate we currently live in, but what if the climate changes too fast for us to keep up? Scientists estimate that by 2050 we need to reduce worldwide emissions to at least half of their 1990 levels in order to avoid further harmful impacts from climate change. Problems we already have now are: rising sea levels, severe storms and more frequent flooding.

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One Response to Travel green; reducing your carbon footprint

  1. Karin 22 January 2015 at 12:52 #

    Love it! If everyone would at least put two of this guidelines into practice, what a great improvement we would have!

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