It's not easy being green

Last year I flew to America (visiting Boston and Chicago) and this year I’ll be flying to London (twice) and to Singapore later in the year. I’m travelling much more than I used to so I guess it’s only natural that I’m pondering how to rebalance my carbon emissions.

This definitely played into my decision making when I recently changed cars and whilst it wasn’t my main focus, I was pleased to get a hybrid engined car (petrol/battery). It’s also a nice side-effect of getting fit and cycling to work now and then (not as often as I should mind you) that I don’t run my car as often either.

However, to properly rebalance things I need to do more. Recycling at home is one thing but given the air miles I’m clocking up I’ve been looking at other options.

On the face of it, it looks quite straightforward, carbon offsetting through something like carbon credits seems to be the right thing to do but, as ever, when you start to dig a little into the motivations behind some of these things and part of me does agree that all I’m really doing is ‘buying absolution’.

So what to do? Stop flying to far away places? Having not travelled much beyond Europe until recently (one trip to San Franscisco 11 years ago this feels a little bit harsh but no, I’m not suggesting I’m in ‘carbon credit’ already. Perhaps the bike thing is what to focus on first and foremost?

Anyone else got any ideas/suggestions/thoughts?

6 comments

  1. For the london trips, is train not better than flying?

    With regard to the rest, the flights etc., there were a few places that planted trees to replace that carbon and blah blah blah.

    As for the rest, do what you can to reduce the footprint – as you say, the bike’s a good thing etc., and do the best you can.

    *Personally* I think a lot of the carbon-credit stuff etc. is a load of old balls anyway, but it makes sense to reduce one’s impact where one can.

  2. And bear in mind that entire comment is written as one who was (until very recently) driving 800-1,000 miles a week just for commuting.

  3. When we went travelling in 2010 for 6 months, I carefully plugged (or approximated) our air miles into a calculator, and it spewed out that I needed to pay something like £1000 each to offset all our flights. I like to think I’m pretty green – hence I was there in the first place – but I have to admit that I baulked at a bill of that magnitude. It’s a bit of a cop-out to say it, but there’s also a lot of controversy about how effective these things are anyway, and a suggestion that some (all?) may just be scams playing on affluent middle class guilt.
    I car share to work every day. We’ve down-sized to one car between the two of us. We don’t have kids (far worse than a lifetime of international travel on the carbon deficit front). We’re pretty green, I think… but we do a lot of international travel. C. travels an awful lot internationally for her job too. It’s not good, is it? We visit orphanages and contribute to charity and travel green when we get somewhere, but it’s a lot of airline fuel, isn’t it?
    But hey! No kids!

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