If you’re anything like us, you cried and cheered for Greta Thunberg as she delivered an impassioned speech at the United Nations on Monday attacking world leaders for failing her generation. If you haven’t watched it yet, do so now.
As a mum of a toddler, and someone dedicated to travel, the bringing together of the world’s cultures and understanding its wonders, it pains me to know that tourism is responsible for roughly 8% of the world’s carbon emissions.
Each time we get on a plane, stay in a hotel, ride a motorbike or get into a car, we’re generating carbon emissions.
As easy as it might be to say we’re not going to travel, that’s not always the best option. Studies show that travel offers important benefits. It is good for our mental health and general wellbeing and reduces stress! (Besides, my parents would probably kill me if I never went home again #expatlife.)
What gives us, at The Luxe Nomad, hope is the knowledge that we can minimise our carbon footprint; even when travelling to the other side of the world. And for those emissions we can’t avoid, there are ways to neutralise our emissions.
Read also: Prince Harry Takes On Sustainable Tourism
How to reduce our travel emissions
To reduce carbon emissions we can avoid, there are simple things we can do. Actions include not using our air conditioning, riding a bike, renting electric vehicles, and not using single-use plastics. We can also travel with environmentally responsible tour operators and support airlines that are currently developing green fuels.
We also need to be aware of the ethical nature of any animal tours we may embark on. Elephants can be an especially confusing topic, so you can read our article on ethical elephant sanctuaries and find out which locations to visit here.
Let’s also be careful about what we’re bringing home – authentic only (nothing made in a factory!) and with no animal materials.
How to offset carbon emissions from flights
For what we’ve can’t avoid there is carbon offsetting. Carbon offsetting is a practice that reduces carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions to compensate for emissions that were produced elsewhere. You can sometimes easily do this through tour providers who offset emissions on behalf of their travellers or opt to use one of the carbon offsetting programs that many airlines have set up.
If you’re wondering how much carbon emissions your flight will produce, Sustainable Travel International has a handy calculator that can give you an idea. The calculator also tells you how much you money it would cost you to offset your footprint.
Reduce emissions before you walk out the door
A very simple method to help offset your footprint even before you begin researching a trip is to plant trees as you browse. Ecosia is a Berlin-based search engine that plants trees by donating 80% or more of its profits to organisations that focus on reforestation.
On average, it takes about 45 searches using Ecosia to plant a tree. So, if you’re anything like me, you could plant two trees a day from the comfort of your mobile device or computer and get offsetting early! (BTW, Ecosia doesn’t sell your data to advertisers or third-party trackers, so it’s safer from a personal data perspective too!)
What The Luxe Nomad is doing
- In August 2018, the Luxe Nomad signed the Komitmen, a movement started by One Island One Voice, where we promised to end the use of single-use plastic straws, retail bags, cups and cup lids.
- Our straws, utensils and tableware are eco-friendly products.
- We’re introducing the usage of glass bottles and water dispensers to minimise the need for stocking up on smaller plastic water bottles.
- The management team at each villa is being provided with reusable canvas shopping bags with which they can purchase groceries for guests.
- We replaced shampoos, conditioners and shower gels that are paraben-free and dispensed from recycled plastic or ceramic bottles.
- For the month of September 2019, The Luxe Nomad is donating US$10 for every booking received to Rainforest Alliance.
- Some of our long-term plans involve the use of solar energy and composting.
- We are going to keep supporting different NGOs moving forward! Do you know any good ones in South East Asia? Tell us in the comments!