After spending most of this year stuck at home, it’s finally time to start traveling again — and, as every jet-setter can relate to, that’s a pretty exciting feeling!
Traveling is almost a healing practice: it recharges the mind, opens our consciousness to new stimuli, and helps us understand more about the world and, in tandem, ourselves. This goes especially for international travel, which brings us face-to-face with other people, customs, foods, and amazing locations we may not be familiar with at home. But there is one not-so-exciting factor to consider when traveling, especially internationally: flying.
Air travel is a huge contributor to climate change, accounting for roughly 2% of the world’s carbon emissions. Just one round-trip flight from San Francisco to Paris produces 1.25 metric tons of carbon per passenger. And it’s projected that by 2050, emissions from air travel will soar between 300 and 700 percent when compared to levels in 2005. This doesn’t mean that everyone needs to give up flying altogether, but it does mean that they can actively take part in the solution.
That’s why conscious travelers can consider offsetting their flights with Sustainable Travel International.
What Is Carbon Offsetting?
Carbon offsetting is the act of reducing carbon dioxide in one facet of life to compensate for emissions that were produced in another. A round-trip from San Francisco to Costa Rica, for example, would pump roughly 1,912.4 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere (yikes!). But by offsetting the carbon emissions from that flight, travelers can invest funds into environmental projects in order to balance out that footprint from their flight.
How Does It Work?
Carbon offsetting works by purchasing what’s known as carbon credits, which represent one metric ton of CO2 reduced or averted from the atmosphere. The funds used from those carbon credit sales are then funnelled into emission reduction projects all over the world, such as the construction of wind farms or the planting of carbon-absorbing trees.
To offset a flight, you’ll need to know the number of passengers flying and the distance between destinations. There are plenty of offsetting programs with various pricing schemes available, but let’s use Sustainable Travel International for the example flight from San Francisco to Costa Rica. It would cost someone about $14.68 to offset that flight (Sustainable Travel International will do the math for you with this handy calculator tool). Those dollars will then be used for the development of certified carbon offset projects. The programs vary per carbon credit provider, but the Sustainable Travel International initiative specifically supports three main areas of focus: forests and biodiversity, clean energy, and boosting local communities in ways like creating jobs, protecting traditional livelihoods and land rights, and improving health and sanitation. Overall, it’s a win-win: fliers get to travel to their destination while feeling confident that they’re improving the health of the planet.
Do you have an upcoming flight on the horizon? Head over to Sustainable Travel International and see how you can offset your travels — because seeing the world without destroying it is always the best way to go!