Tread Lightly

green travelTraveling by plane might be the most common way to get to a sunny beach destination, but if the alternative is there, did you know traveling by train produces 90% less CO2 emissions? With this number in mind, it makes the decision whether to travel by train instead of plane a bit easier for short distances.

Cruise ships are NOT an environmentally friendly alternative to air travel, they actually produce 3 times more green house gasses than airplanes. Above that, a 3,000 person cruise ship generates and releases 210,000 gallons of sewage during a week long cruise. An estimated 70,000 tons of waste is dumped in the Caribbean each year by ships. (Source: go-green.com)

Passenger planes produce 3% of the earth’s green house gasses, and yet is often the only way to get to your destination. An option to consider is to offset your carbon footprint by purchasing carbon credits. Sites like Native Energy and Green Mountain Traveler let you estimate the amount of carbon dioxide your travel will produce and suggests a dollar amount you should contribute to offset the damage. The money you contribute goes towards carbon reduction projects that can include producing renewable energy such as wind and solar power as well as forestry projects. This might seem like a scheme to pay your way out of guilt over air travel, but even if it is, is that really a bad thing? Donating to projects that help reduce CO2 levels is something we should all do anyways, so if we at the least contribute every time we travel by plane, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Especially when the cost to “clear your conscience” can be as low as $14.00 for 3,500 mile flight.

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