The Problem with CO2
Whether it’s for business or leisure, air travel is a necessity for many people. But the main environmental issue with air travel is the enormous amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that is produced by airplanes, which can be harmful to humans and the environment. This excess CO2 production can result in acute health effects in humans, as well as increased acidity in seawater (and other environmental repercussions), revealing the impact of increased carbon emissions on our planet.
Air travel can be a quick and safe method for transportation, however, and though there are no completely “green” flying solutions yet, there are certainly ways to help lessen your environmental “wingprint.”
Here’s how to make your flight more eco-friendly:
1. Use a Mobile Boarding Pass
Every action to improve the environment, no matter how small, can help. When you choose to use your smartphone or tablet to display your boarding pass at the airport, instead of printing out paper tickets, you’re doing your part to get rid of paper waste.
Bonus: You won’t have to worry about misplacing your tickets.
2. Fly Directly
If it’s possible, opt for a direct airline flight. Airplanes produce more CO2 during take-off and landing than while in-flight, so taking multiple planes to reach your destination will only contribute to the amount of harmful carbon emissions that are being released into the environment.
Bonus: Direct flights are shorter, so you will arrive at your destination much faster, and there are fewer chances for complications such as flight delays or losing your bags between plane transfers.
3. Purchase Carbon Offsets
To help make your flight a little more “carbon neutral,” some airlines and other companies offer customers the ability to invest in carbon offset programs. In a sense, these programs “make up” for some of the environmental harm that flying creates by supporting projects such as planting new trees (which can absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere), or investing in sustainable energy like solar and wind power.
Tip: When choosing a carbon offset program, make sure to ask questions or research the program’s background extensively. This way you can feel confident that your contribution will provide genuinely impactful environmental and social benefits.
4. Limit Your Air Travel
The most effective method for reducing your carbon “wingprint” is, of course, limiting unnecessary travel. It may be tempting to simply fly out of town if a long drive seems too daunting, but if you’re only traveling short distances, driving might be a more eco-friendly option (especially if you’re driving a hybrid vehicle).
Bonus: If you’re traveling with others, your road trip will give you the chance to bond while enjoying the incredible scenery you would certainly miss from an airplane.
Overall, making your air travel plans more eco-friendly is definitely a step in the right direction. With some earth-conscious decision making, the purchase of carbon offsets and reducing your air travel altogether, you can help make a positive impact on the environment.
Just Energy: Eco-Friendly Holidays: Six Green Travel Tips
Ecology Center: Tips for Eco-Friendlier Travel
Smithsonian: Can Eco-Conscious Travelers Do Anything To Fly Green?
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