There’s no getting around the fact that at the moment, travel is pretty bad for the planet. While advancements are being made with electric vehicles, the vast majority of planes, trains, and automobiles use greenhouse gas emitting fossil fuels.
It’s important for us all to do our bit to minimize our own individual environmental impact on the planet. Here are a few hints and tips that can help you make your next trip the cleanest and greenest yet.
Aircraft consume a huge amount of fuel, and like all other forms of non-electric transport they emit a sizable quantity of greenhouse gas emissions too. Quite honestly, your options are limited when it comes to reducing your aviation-related emissions on a personal level - but flying direct is a good start.
As you probably remember from high school physics, acceleration usually requires more energy than maintaining a steady speed. Due to this, aircraft consume much more fuel when they are taking off and landing than they do when they’re flying at cruising altitude. So, by flying direct, you’re reducing the amount of fuel required to haul you and your luggage to your final destination.
Bonus Tip:If you can fly on newer aircraft like the Dreamliner or the 737 MAX you’re going to further reduce your fuel consumption – they’re much more efficient aircraft.
With each passing year, airlines are becoming more and more responsible when it comes to acknowledging the impact the aviation industry has on the environment. Many of them are now taking significant steps towards minimizing the damage the industry causes – like carbon offsetting.
You’ll find carbon offset schemes at most good carriers, and they’re a great idea. Essentially you can pay an additional (usually small) fee that the airline will use to fund schemes that offset the damage your individual trip causes the environment. If you can’t fly direct, and you can’t fly on a fuel-efficient aircraft – then these schemes are more than worthy of your consideration.
Bring A Reusable Bottle
Staying hydrated is key to staying comfortable throughout a flight and it is also important for beating jet lag and feeling reasonably refreshed at your destination. Disposable plastic bottles take hundreds of years to decompose, and while efforts are made to recycle them where possible – huge numbers of them end up in landfill sites or scattered around the environment.
There’s no shortage of water fountains in airports and most modern cities, so refilling a reusable bottle should be no hassle at all (in parts of the world with potable water). Every time you refill your reusable bottle, that’s one less disposable plastic bottle the planet has to deal with (it feels great when you think about it like this) and it soon adds up.
Take Public Transportation
After a long flight, it can be very tempting to hail a cab and ride directly to your destination. Thinking about navigating an unfamiliar transportation network in a new city while dealing with jet lag isn’t exactly the most enjoyable start to a trip.
However, if you can manage it, you’re going to reduce your footprint even more.
Trains and subway systems are the most eco-friendly form of public transportation – but buses are good too. For maximum convenience, check out the possible public transportation routes from the airport to your accommodation before you leave home (Google maps is excellent for this).
This way you’re not standing around in the airport figuring out where to go, and you can quickly arrive at your destination with the minimum of hassle (without harming the planet).