With summer here, you may be wondering how to reduce your carbon footprint for your next vacation. The summer is a great time to travel and to reconnect with nature. But when it comes to sustainability and our carbon footprint, traveling can pose some serious issues. So today, we’re going to be talking about the ways we can keep our summer holidays more eco-friendly and green.
Why Does it Matter?
In 2013, the World Bank estimated that the average American generated 16.4 metric tonnes of carbon annually. To put that in perspective, the global average was around 5 metric tonnes per person. North American economies are the biggest culprits when it comes to carbon emissions (Canadians generate 15 metric tonnes per person). Europe has taken measures to reduce its emissions, but many developing economies, particularly in South America and Asia, have seen their emissions increase. Individuals around the world need to make active choices every day to help the environment.
How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
What inspires us to protect nature more than actually getting out and experiencing it with all its glory? There’s perhaps no better way of appreciating nature than coming into face-to-face contact with it.
Things do get tough, however, for those of us who have to travel out of the city before the landscape turns green. If you’re hopping on a plane for your summer vacation then there’s a good chance that it will contribute more to your carbon footprint than any other single action you take this year.
Air travel is the largest contributor. Research shows that “compared to other modes of transport, such as driving or taking the train, traveling by air has a greater climate impact per passenger kilometer, even over longer distances.” According to the Guardian, “a single flight from London to New York – including the complicated effect on the high atmosphere – contributes to almost a quarter of the average person’s annual emissions.”
It’s not always possible to eliminate flying from your life, but we can think about reducing the amount of flying we do.
- Take a different mode of transport: it’s time to enjoy the journey just as much as the destination. Taking trains and buses can allow you to really appreciate the scenery. Yes it takes longer and it can be more expensive, but if you plan in advance, then you can find affordable options. Traveling by train can really give you the chance to experience places in an entirely new way.
- Start getting to know your surroundings: there’s this misconception that the further you travel the more spectacular the experience will be. Don’t get me wrong; traveling really has the ability to change you and your perception of the world. But there are always beautiful places for you to explore close by.
- Take a summer road trip. Get all your family and friends together, and go off on a summer road trip adventure. Who needs to fly anyway? Slow down your trip, take picnics and enjoy the soft summer breeze along the way.
- Get moving! Hop on your bike and go for a cycle ride, go for a hike or a swim in the lake. There are many ways of experiencing nature this summer without compromising your environmental values.
If you’re still wondering how to reduce your carbon footprint while traveling then make sure you give our Green Travel Guide a read.
What Else Can I Do?
Flying is one of the biggest contributors. You may be surprised to find out that our eating habits come second. One of the best ways of reducing your footprint is by checking your diet. If the idea of going vegetarian or vegan is unthinkable for you, then think about reducing your consumption of animal products. Every little bit counts.
And of course, we can’t talk about sustainability without talking about consumerism. Adopting a minimalist lifestyle, where you think carefully about what you buy and what companies and brands you support, is a must.
So there you go! When it comes to how to reduce your carbon footprint this summer, think about your transport, what you eat and what you buy.