Flying has a huge environmental impact and, whereas there is no real solution to reverse the emissions, you can offset the carbon released in order to mitigate your carbon footprint. Here's how:
This is the script of the my podcast episode: How to Compensate your Flight's Carbon Emissions - you can read the post or listen to the episode here, on itunes, spotify... wherever you like to listen!
Last week I booked the flights for my trip to the Philippines, and I uploaded an instagram stories telling you all that, for the first time, I was offsetting the carbon emissions of my tickets. I don’t think one of you knew what I was talking about and, frankly, I was and I am very knew to it too. So I’ve done my research and I’m ready to tell you how to become carbon neutral when flying.
What's your carbon footprint?
It’s no secret that means of transport and very polluting to the environment, that is because most of them burn fossil fuels to run and when these are burnt, they become carbon dioxide. Now remember this: fossil fuels, dirty energy. So, whenever you’re, directly or indirectly, using fossil fuels, you’re adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and that is what makes up you’re carbon footprint.
Research shows that tourism is responsible for 8% of the world’s carbon emissions, and flying by plane is the most polluting by far. This problem is only gonna get bigger, we know that because traveling is now easier than ever, and it is fantastic that we’ve got the opportunity to explore new places, meet different cultures and work with people on the other side of the world but we have to be responsible for it. If you are able to buy a plane ticket, it is most likely that you are in privileged position and fossil fuels extraction and the consequences of the pollution caused by it, usually don’t affect you, they affect communities in developing countries.
Now, I’m not saying don’t ever get a plane again because it can be an enriching experience but it is important to know the facts and to be conscious. Whenever you can choose another means of transport: trains are great to get from one place to another in Europe, or in Asia, for that matter, if you’re in India, travel by train, you want to experience that!
How to Offset your Flight's Carbon Emissions?
But sometimes it’s not possible, sometimes you have to go on a plane. So when that happens, choose economy class always, it is way less polluting. And offset your carbon emissions to reduce the environmental impact of your trip. It’s easier and cheaper than you think, so keep listening (or reading here!).
There are free websites like carbonfootprint.com that help you calculate the amount of carbon dioxide that you’re releasing into the atmosphere with your flight. You only have to:
So I typed in Heathrow airport in London to Manila Aquino in the Philippines with a stopover in Beijing, and that was 1.83 tonnes of carbon dioxide with the return flight.
I compensated my flights donating £14 or 17€ to a renewable energies program in the Philippines. It was a no brainer when I saw I could invest in renewable energies in the place I was traveling to. But programs could be planting trees, social initiatives like providing clean water or improving infrastructures in developing communities and much more.
And you’re done. It’s that easy.
Compensating your carbon emissions is not the magic solution to this huge problem, so it doesn’t mean you can fly as much as you like without causing any harm. It is still polluting. Ideally, airlines should be offsetting their own carbon emission and our flights should be carbon neutral from the get go. But since this is not happening yet, I thought you would like to know how to mitigate the impact of your travels around the world.
I’m Claudia Ayuso and this is The Cheeky Revolution.