You may have seen a great deal of discussion around this subject recently and how you can do your bit for the environment by offsetting your carbon footprint, but what does this actually mean? Simply put, it’s taking into consideration the amount of carbon dioxide your lifestyle emits into the environment, which, in turn, warms the planet. Then you counteract that negative effect with positive action, often by investing back into the planet.
Humans produce huge amounts of greenhouse gases to support our everyday lifestyles. There are many ways in which we generate this kind of waste from what we eat, how we invest money, the purchases we make, to where we live and the kind of home/household appliances we own. But one of the most critical causes is travel. Whether you’re driving a car or flying overseas, you leave a carbon footprint. As a travel company, it’s our responsibility to be aware of this problem and do what we can to offset our impact on the planet.
Since 2005, we’ve helped to promote sustainable energy by automatically offsetting every client's international flight if booked through Wild Frontiers. So far, we've donated over £50,000 to a company called EcoAct, formally Carbon Clear, who in their own words, ‘believe passionately in taking action on climate change, environmental degradation and resource depletion’. This money goes towards environmentally friendly initiatives, such as power projects across India, and much more.
Everybody understands that sometimes carbon emissions are unavoidable. As a travel company, we are obviously passionate about travel and believe in the benefits that it can bring. It is a privilege, but we believe travel affords us knowledge and a lesson in empathy. To understand the richness of diversity in the world - when it comes to the environment, its people and its wildlife - is especially important in Western countries who may be somewhat sheltered from the trials and tribulations those face outside of the reality we know. Travel broadens minds as well as horizons.
The benefits are two-way as well, with local communities rightly gaining from our wanderlust. Tourism does provide much-needed jobs, income and gateways to opportunities. Eco-tourism simply lessens the negative impact and helps to preserve the places they call home.
The fact is, it’s easy to ignore the problem and perhaps not feel the repercussions of it too explicitly or feel as if you aren’t perpetuating it because what difference does one small act make when there are huge corporations making much more of a detrimental impact on our environment? But consider this: instead of driving five days a week to work, carpool instead or use public transport, think about cutting down your meat consumption by a few meals, switch to energy efficient bulbs in the home, take less city breaks and opt for a longer holiday (more beach for your carbon emitting buck? If you insist…), choose direct flights as opposed to one with layovers to reduce carbon emissions and…recycle! By implementing small changes, big changes follow.
It’s not about trying to evoke guilt, or even to shift the focus from those making a far more significant impact, but awareness is important. Understanding the ways we can all make the planet a better, safer place for all its inhabitants - now and in the future - makes taking action all the more digestible. By setting the example, people can influence others to follow suit. We can all make a difference.