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Climate Change And Travel

February 19, 2014|Posted in: Responsible Travel

Climate Change And Travel

Since I am starting a socially responsible travel company, I thought I should be socially responsible on my first business trip to Peru. This brought to mind the issue of all those nasty carbon emissions the plane would be producing on the trip between San Francisco and Lima.

When I was trekking in the Andes with Juan and his friends, they mentioned how they had noticed a shrinking of the glaciers over the last several years. It’s one thing to hear about the effects of global warming on the news. It’s quite another to be with people who are bearing witness to its reality.

Since I had read about in my Lonely Planet guidebook to Peru, I thought I’d check it out. The website has this nifty calculator that helps you figure out the number of tons of carbon emissions your flight will produce. You can then contribute to Climate Care which funds a variety of carbon offsetting projects around the globe.

The projects look quite interesting. One involves the replacement of traditional Lao stoves with a more efficient model. Another entails the construction and maintenance of a wind farm in China.

The website describes the social, economic and environmental impact of each project, as well. For example, in the case of the more efficient stoves, people don’t have to spend as much on fuel. In addition, the project is helping Cambodians build technical skills as workers are trained to manufacture and sell the new stoves.

For a mere $60 or so I could offset the greenhouse gas effect of the flight for Malia and myself. In addition to feeling good, I received a certificate via email. It stated, “This certifies that Diane Valenti has offset 4.09 tons of carbon dioxide through greenhouse gas reduction projects in order to reduce the rate of global climate change.”

Honestly, I am not completely convinced that the projects really offer a one-to-one ratio that will truly offset the carbon emissions of our flight. Regardless, these are projects I’d be proud to support. As a result, I’ll definitely be offering this option to my future clients.


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