Share the knowledge
Decided on your vacation travel plans for 2018 yet? Maybe you’ll be making your first trip to Europe or taking a cross-country junket in the RV. Whatever you choose, it’s always fun to plan an itinerary and work out the details of a memorable family vacation. The last thing on your mind is contributing to carbon dioxide pollution and global warming, but maybe you should think about it. One round-trip flight from New York to Europe is the equivalent of at least two tons of global warming per person. It’s projected that the airline industry’s contribution to CO2 emissions will go from two to 22 percent in the next 30 years. If your environmental conscience leads you to drive to your favorite domestic vacation site, think again. Cars and trucks are the largest contributors to climate change, according to NASA.
You don’t have to take a “staycation” this year or purchase a battery-powered vehicle to be environmentally responsible. Even small contributions can help when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Considering all the things people account for just by going on vacation, it makes sense to do what you can to minimize your carbon footprint when it’s time to head for the beach or jet off to an exciting international vacation. You might be surprised at how much one person can do to protect Mother Earth.
Taking up extra space on a plane isn’t an environmentally friendly gesture. It might be hard to give up the extra leg room and comforts, but traveling economy over first class makes a tremendous difference when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint. According to a World Bank study, your carbon footprint is nine times higher if you go first class. You can also help by packing smart and traveling light. Shedding some pounds from your suitcase reduces an airplane’s carbon emissions, so think carefully about what you’ll need on your trip. Emphasize versatile clothing you can wear in different kinds of weather and occasions. If you like to take along a lot of reading material, consider downloadable or e-versions of your favorite books. You can also help by using recyclable personal items and lighter packaging materials.
Choose Responsible Airlines and Hotels
Where the environment is concerned, not all airlines are alike. Some are more efficient than others when it comes to fuel consumption. A study commissioned by the International Council on Clean Transportation found that United Airlines is the most fuel-efficient full-service airline, while American is the worst, burning nearly 30 percent more fuel than its competitors. Frontier, Spirit, and Alaska airlines are the most efficient domestic carriers. Hotels and resorts also have a major impact on the environment, so do some research when choosing your accommodations. Opt for properties that are LEED-certified.
Going by Land
Cars are about as convenient as it gets when you’re traveling domestically. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to mitigate the damage they do to the environment. If possible, consider taking the train. It’s a more environmentally sustainable option, and it’ll give you more time to enjoy the scenery than if you’re behind the wheel or hunkered over your cell phone, GPS-ing your next destination. If you do decide to drive, try taking public transportation, renting bikes, or doing some walking once you get where you’re going.
While You’re Away
It doesn’t make much sense to go green if you’ll be wasting energy at home while you’re away. Prepare your home by making sure your lights are turned off (except maybe for a porchlight or a lamp on a timer), and unplugging all your electronic devices, which continue to use energy when they’re turned off. Turn the thermostat down or up depending on what time of year you’re traveling (consider installing a programmable thermostat).
A Simple Matter
Being an environmentally responsible traveler is a fairly simple matter. Traveling light and researching your travel options can help significantly reduce your carbon footprint whether you’re flying or driving. Just think of it as paying the environment back for a really great vacation.
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