Thanks to today’s modern airplanes, flying is often both quick and comfortable. We do however know that air travel affects our climate deeply. The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) reports that air travel stands for approximately 4-5 % of all global climate pollution This means that even though you want to contribute to a healthier planet, it’s not that easy. How will we then go on about this?
Air travel gives us the opportunity to experience amazing places far away from home, and makes meeting with new and different people possible – something we wouldn’t be able to without air travel. To completely drop this way of travelling would be a step in the wrong direction. Without air travel, travelling would be too time consuming for the modern person (if we want to travel far away from home), and we would lose valuable cultural experiences. Us humans need to continue to meet, learn from each other, and watch each likeness and differences to continue to grow and develop. Today’s travels across the borders is absolutely necessary. It encourages empathy, understanding, and peace. We need our international cooperations – at the very least as to prevent an unsustainable future, from several aspects.
The development is moving in the right direction, even if air travels are increasing – international flights have doubled in 15 years. Fuel efficient motors and lighter airplanes are constantly being produced. Pilots are learning different techniques in how to ”land greenly”, which means gliding the last bit, and the planes are now allowed to choose shorter and straighter flights by flying through several countries’ airspace.
A lot of people wants to learn how to travel in a more environment friendly way, and there are of course things you can think of. There are tips and tricks to choose from, which will result in a less polluting flight. We’ve suggested some hands-on and beneficial tips and tricks below, which could be useful during the booking stage.
– Allow long flights to be something special, not something spontaneous. Flying abroad is a luxury which should be thought of as such – travel less and stay abroad longer instead. Another logical solution is to shorten the flights as much as possible. A return ticket to Thailand lets out 2.5 tonne carbon dioxide – almost as much as a car lets out during a year. It also equals enough fuel for a four-time return ticket to Majorca. Culture, sun, and the ocean is sometimes closer than you’d think.
– Avoiding layovers when travelling abroad is a huge plus, environment-wise. Taking off and landing both uses and lets out huge amounts of fuel.
– Avoid domestic flights as much as possible! Choose countries with environment-friendly options that use renewable fuels such as biogas, ethanol, biodiesel, or hydrogen gas.
– Choose a full flight, and one which uses new and efficient airplanes, which reduces the carbon dioxide emissions per passenger. Flying with modern low-fare companies is both good for you wallet, as well as for the environment.
– Try to think environment-friendly across every aspect of your travels. Learn to become a sustainable tourist, and focus as well about environmental-friendly accommodation, sustainable food alternatives, and activities. Have dinners at local restaurants, shop locally produced souvenirs, and try to avoid the mass-productions. Stay at certified hotels that you know actively works to lower their energy consumption, or rent your own place!
– Big passenger ferries is not a good substitute – sometimes, they pollute more than airplanes.
– Compensate to become ”carbon dioxide neutral”. It takes extensive resources to affect the environmental politics, and the active debates need all the support they can get. The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference is a historical event, and resulted in a global climate agreement, but to turn words into action, we need to constantly put pressure on the politicians.
To sum it up — always keep the environment in your mind when planning your holiday. There’s an ocean of choices – some more environment-friendly, some less. Let our suggestions above influence your choices, and don’t forget that they’re affecting the Earth’s resources. To travel is a a giving and educational privilege – so treat your flights as such!