Planning a year of travel
When we were envisioning a year of travel, we asked ourselves how we could have the least impact on this wonderful world we live in.
One of the greatest ‘carbon sins’ is air travel.
We heat up our world when we fly. And the heat of the world is growing in momentum, effecting everyone, especially the next generations.
We watched a BBC documentary, following David Attenborough, Erik and I’s favorite nature commentator, as he travels around the world looking at climate change, talking with scientists, fire fighters, marine biologists, and ecologists, asking what they are seeing, what is happening, and as best as we can, project into the future what will happen. The summary sums it up, as summaries are supposed to:
Our world is changing. It is warmer, it will get even warmer, and it is up to us NOW to help ‘cushion’ our landing in the coming years, by warming the earth by a small amount OR if we continue exactly as is, we creating a true catastrophe for all of life, including ourselves.
David Attenborough asks us to change things in our own life right now, and I want to comply.
And yet, here I am on an island in Thailand, and I want to get home.
In my misty mind land, I imagined a scenario something like this: fly to Iceland (a relatively short flight), and take ferries to mainland Europe. Fly to Thailand, and eventually find a sailboat to crew on, and sail back to the US. I admit, I did very little to try and find that sailboat. I was so busy cycle touring!
And now, we have air tickets to the Philippines, and onward to Seattle, USA. Once in Seattle, we will need another flight to get us back to Vermont.
All the way around the world…mostly on a plane.
Carbon Footprint Calculator
There is a fun website calculator.carbonfootprint.com that helps you to calculate your carbon footprint each year.
The average ‘footprint’ for a person living in the United States is 20.40 metric tons each year.
The worldwide target to combat climate change is 2 metric tons per person.
Supposedly, one person traveling from Bangkok, Thailand to Seattle, USA creates 1.7 metric tons of carbon. Almost 2 metric tons of carbon. Double that so that Erik can get on the airplane as well.
I know that there are those out there that do not believe in climate change. Please let’s not argue the finer points. The impact of our energy consumption effects the working lives of poor people on the other side of the world, it creates garbage in the ocean, it creates pollution in the air, earth and water.
There are enough reasons to try and reduce your impact, your daily consumption of energy, goods, and services.
The last part of the carbon footprint calculations is that you can ‘offset’ your carbon emissions by donating to organizations that reforest Kenya or the UK, or create renewable energy options, etc.
This trip is an endless source of food for thought, and for my next trips, which there will be many, I am going to plan how to avoid air travel as much as possible, finding ways to take transatlantic ferry or private sailboats or cargo ships…or traveling in the US, Canada, Mexico…or like my sister, cycling to South America. The options are endless. And wouldn’t it be wonderful if enough of us travel consumers asked for more and more ships to take us places. (There are now websites like www.cargoshipvoyages.com where you can book a cabin on a cargo ship, which would set sail whether or not it had passengers)
If you are interested in seeing David Attenborough’s documentaries, they are here: