How To Travel Green

We now know that the environment is in dire need of critical help, our survival depends upon it.

The Kyoto Protocol was signed in 1997 to set mandates and CO2 limitations for participating nations. Although the United States is a majority contributor of these gases, the U.S. government has not agreed to the regulations set forth in the Kyoto Protocol. Of the many factors listed as contributors to greenhouse gases, air traffic is a major one. According to the Better World club, the average domestic U.S. airline flight releases more than 1,700 pounds per person of harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

I still like to travel, and cant get enough of it, I try to do so responsibly. There are actions we can take, especially when at home, to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that are being released into the environment. These small reductions, can add up to make a major difference.

When it comes to flying, your options are limited unless your willing to try a jet suit or hot air balloon. A key component of the Kyoto Protocol is the notion of offsets and carbon credits. This allows the reduction to be based as a whole, not on an individual level. One of the things you can do is offset the amount of emissions produced by airplanes by purchasing a “carbon offset.” There are several companies which provide this service, it feels good and it’s not expensive.

While you’re at home there are a myriad of things one can easily do to help reduce our negative impact. It all starts with reduce, reuse and recycle. Reduce waste, reuse items like glass containers, bottles and cups and recycle wherever possible. Try grouping your errands together to save time, energy and gasoline. Consider walking or riding your bike to work or to simply run a quick errand. Keep in mind lights, water and other electrical components when leaving a room, shut them off.

The energy consumption involved with delivering non-local food to market is astronomical. Try to shop and eat locally grown, organic food. The shorter the distance food has to travel to your plate, the fewer greenhouse gases are emitted. Eating locally usually means better, fresher food and is a great way to experience the local culture and its scene. Living in New Jersey means tons of farm fresh foods and when I travel Guide to New Orleans, tons of Gumbo.

We need at least half the U.S. population to take the steps needed in order to reduce the U.S. emissions targets to the levels that were established by the Kyoto Protocol. 20% below 1990 levels.


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Eddie Hartley

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