Having less of an impact on the environment is something that many of us strive for, but when we want to jet across the world on holiday, is it really possible? Then you have to account for getting to the airport, and the carbon emissions you may produce on holiday. We need to reduce our emissions to try and reverse climate change, but can we become carbon neutral when we travel?
Rather than looking for travel methods that use zero carbon emissions, some people choose to offset their carbon footprint in other ways. If you have to fly somewhere, you can calculate how much carbon you contributed and then convert that into a monetary value.
You can then donate your carbon emissions value toward projects aimed at helping communities live sustainably around the world. It won’t completely reduce the carbon that comes from the plane you flew on, but it goes a long way to making the world a better place.
Some airlines are even trying their best to take responsibility for the emissions they cause and are including the carbon offset in the ticket price. Others make you aware when buying your ticket about the price of the carbon offset, and they have their own projects.
For example, British Airways is committed to funding carbon offsetting using its own Carbon Fund, helping sustainability projects around the world. The more mainstream these kinds of funds and projects are, the more travellers can offset their carbon emissions. It still won’t make us fully carbon neutral, but it’s a start.
Hopes for the future
One possible hope for people travelling by air without producing carbon emissions is the advancement of electric planes. In 2019, the first commercial all-electric aircraft was launched, though at the moment it’s just a prototype. The aviation company behind the electric plane, Eviation, has already received its first orders for the plane.
This current plane can carry up to nine passengers, but as technology advances, we may be able to increase that significantly. The hopes are that not only can we have carbon neutral travel in an electric plane, but the overall cost of travel will be much lower too. Without the need to add expensive fuel to the travel cost, travellers can expect to save plenty of money. Albeit, we’ll probably have to wait a few years for it to happen.
Another option to reduce emissions when flying are sustainable biofuels for planes, rather than the expensive and toxic one we use now. Fuels that can be taken from waste rather than food sources could be the answer to saving the planet, but still allowing us to travel across the world. Another potential option is synthetic fuel, which can reduce emissions by as much as 80 percent over their life cycle.
Another way to reduce your carbon impact when travelling is to find ways to get to airports without driving there. Instead of driving to the airport, why not take the train instead? It’s still not carbon neutral travel, but its impact is much less than driving would be. Better yet, don’t even fly to begin with. Europe is accessible by train, and most major cities are easy to walk or cycle around. When you get to your destination, try to spend as much time walking or cycling as possible. It’s not only getting somewhere that you have to consider, and your carbon footprint when you are there can soon add up. Taxis might be the most convenient way to explore a new city, but ask yourself if you really need to take one.
At the moment, it’s not truly possible to be carbon neutral when we travel. By offsetting our carbon footprint, we can at least try to make amends for our air travel. The future of travel is going to look very different from the way we do it now, and hopefully, someday, that carbon neutral travelling dream will be a reality.
Want some ecotravel inspiration? Check out the most sustainable destinations in the world!