Travel is something that never gets old. There are so many places to go that you could spend half your life traveling and still not get close to seeing everything the world has to offer. It can teach people to see others as humans rather than just vague abstractions that exist on the other side of the planet. Sure, travel can be expensive, but it provides so many benefits. One downside, however, is the impact on the environment. Those planes you use to get from Point A to Point B aren’t exactly environmentally friendly. So what’s a world traveler who also cares about the planet supposed to do?
What planes do to the planet
Gigantic planes take us places we could never dream of going just a few generations ago. If you were alive 150 years ago, getting from the East Coast to the West Coast could take weeks. Nowadays, you can do it in four or five hours. Commercial air travel is truly a modern marvel, but you can’t exactly plug in a jet and let it charge up for a few hours. You have to use fuel, and a lot of it. A single flight can create a staggering amount of carbon dioxide.
It’s tempting to just stay at home and cancel those Waikiki surfing lessons. But getting out of the house and seeing other places is crucial to both your mental health and your physical well-being. That’s especially true if you live in a place with cold, snowy winters. People in Texas will probably be fine if they can’t get away all winter, but people in Montana are really going to feel the effects of a long, harsh winter. Besides, even if you skip traveling all winter, most people can’t decide to just never get on a plane again. Your office can send you on business trips, and if you live far away from your family, you’ll probably need to get on a plane to visit them.
Change your daily routine
Yes, planes are bad for the planet, but they’re a necessary evil at this point. However, some airlines let you buy carbon offsets to try and minimize the damage. Taking a direct flight from Atlanta to San Francisco is better for the planet than stopping for a layover in Denver. You can try to reduce the number of flights you take a year, but plenty of people find the modern airline experience so unpleasant that they do that anyway.
You can also change your habits at home. Most people drive to work and back five days a week in a car fueled by gasoline. Hybrid cars are a good option, and if you live in a decent-sized city and drive a diesel vehicle, you can also looking into using biodiesel made from cooking oil. Getting biodiesel fuel is a pretty easy process once you know what you’re looking for, and it comes with a carbon footprint that’s up to 85 percent smaller than what you get with petroleum diesel. Public transit is great, but it’s not an option for everyone. Driving around in a car fueled by biodiesel is an innovative way to help save the planet and help you feel less guilty about boarding that jumbo jet.