Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the carbon footprint I leave behind when I travel. I do as much as I can locally by using public transit and biking whenever I can, but sometimes I feel like I undo all that good when I fly cross country to visit my son every few months. So, as I planned my most recent trip from Oregon to Florida I decided to make my trip as eco-friendly as possible while offsetting some of my carbon footprint.
Go off Grid
The first thing I did before traveling was going around the entire house and garage to unplug everything except for the fridge and freezer. This is important because even if you aren’t home all the plugged-in appliances continue to use energy. I was surprised by how many things needed to be unplugged! I plan to do this from now on for every trip that is longer than a day, like my favorite weekend jaunts to the beach.
Bring Your Sippy Cup
One of the easiest changes for me was to bring a spill-proof travel mug so I could ditch the plastic while still enjoying my favorite post-check-in Starbucks fix. I also used the mug to refill on water throughout my trip instead of ponying up for that super expensive plastic bottled water. I also used the eco-friendly mug to refill with drinks throughout my stay. This saved me money and kept about 20 cups and plastics out of landfills. Now, this may seem like a small thing but considering the fact I fly at least six times a year, I was contributing quite a bit of trash on my previous family visits.
Less is Always Best!
The next thing I did was to pack lighter. Instead of checking a bag full of shoes and unnecessary clothes I opted to pack just one small carry on and believe it or not, I totally survived with just two pair of shoes! Who knew? If everyone were to implement this change each flight would be lighter which in turn means less fuel consumption. This is also something to practice on road trips for lower gas consumption.
Eat and Drink Local
Once in Florida, I decided that we would only eat and drink from local sustainable restaurants. This was a little trickier since corporate chains pretty much litter the landscape in every sense of the word. But it was totally worth it to seek out and support independent eateries that source their food from local farmers. It also made the trip more enjoyable as we explored new menus and met some great people.
Show Me the Money
The final thing I did was to seek out ways I could donate money to organizations that could further help offset my carbon footprint. Some organizations that help with this are Gold Standard, and Climate Action Reserve. You can calculate your carbon footprint and choose which offset projects you’d like to support. I chose one that uses agricultural waste to provide energy to homes in rural, disadvantaged areas.I really enjoyed all the options and plan to choose a new one for each flight I take. With my first eco-friendly flight under my belt, I hope to make the next one even better by seeking out more earth-friendly travel options and I hope you will too. Bon Voyage!
Author: Becci Goodall