Transportation is one of the quickest growing contributors to climate change, accounting for a staggering 25% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.
Looking at the 5 most common methods of transportation, I decided to create some helpful tips for the long-distance traveler who is proactively environmentally conscious.
When utilising ANY service, or in this instance, the transport services of either a:
· Cruise ship
· Or a purchase of a vehicle
Take a moment to research and determine whether the company you are looking at, is placed positively on a credible environmental ranking and/or has a dedicated sustainable section on their website.
Publishing corporate social responsibility efforts and sustainability reports online have become common practice. Although generally this information can be found in a dedicated sustainability section on the company website, some corporates tend to have this information located in the 'our culture' or 'our values' section of their website.
In addition to finding the green action the company has already undertaken and the goals in place that identify they are going to improve their existing performance; Look out for any awards the company may have received. These accreditations, press releases or affiliations with environmentally credible companies can all be easily found online through one of the main search engines.
WHAT TO STAY AWAY FROM & WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Cars, Buses and Trains that depend on diesel engines are the big bad polluters, so avoid if possible and if you are considering purchasing a new vehicle, some of the top greenest cars for 2017 nominated by Forbes include the Hyandai Ioniq Electric, the BMW i3, the Toyota Prius Eco, Fiat 500E and the Ford Focus Electric.
Look out for ZERO emission buses because they do exist and are perhaps in your city. If you attend your local council meetings and additional public transport is a hot topic, then these buses would make for a fantastic eco suggestion.
There are more than 170,000 electric buses operating around the world of which majority are in China. Electrically speaking and operated by Virgin Trains in the United Kingdom, the Class 390 Pendolino is a form of electric high-speed train built by Alstom.
To re-sell, to continue to drive until the car dies, or to recycle and sell the parts; These are some of the considerations when purchasing a green car.
· Eurostar independently research the flights that match their existing train routes to calculate the average CO2 emissions. Utilising this information, they have managed to identify that their CO2 levels are 90% less via Eurostar than flying in air on the London to Paris route. Pretty impressive. In saying this, looking at what is the most viable form of transport on your journey is a clever consideration to make and not necessarily the fastest journey is the most ethical.
· In the last few years, cruises have become a booming family favourite trend due to the low prices advertised and multitude of resources and activities available on the ship including a very handy kids club, but did you know that the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) 2017 cruise ship ranking results does NOT recommend ANYONE travel in Europe despite companies claiming newer vessels are green.
Pollution from Cruise Ships is still at an alarming rate and is causing severe destruction to the environment. There have been discussions of tighter restrictions being implemented but unfortunately no enhanced action will occur until 2020.
WHAT IS SCARY:
There is NOT a mandatory obligation for a transport company to offset their usage, this include airlines. (Pick up your game government regulators!).
Therefore, it is SO important that when you travel, to be mindful of the damage being caused and to evaluate if the transport provider YOU are choosing is first and foremost being sustainably proactive and secondly what you can do as an individual. Together we CAN combat Climate Change.
WHAT CAN I DO WHEN CHOOSING AN AIRLINE?
You can research to see which airlines have top fuel efficiency (Alaska Airlines).
Delta and Emirates are leading the way in independently offsetting and make a public effort of deliberating that they recognise the responsibility they have as a company. Other airlines are yet to take this level of leadership and unfortunately only rely on us passengers to independently offset.
Qantas, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines are some of the few airlines that offer individuals to offset their carbon footprint when making a booking online. More information available in the coming weeks specifically in relation to Aviation will arise, as Ethical Active will be participating in the Accelerate Aviation 2017 conference in London.
WHAT IS OFFSETING?
Offsetting is when you "neutralise" your independent share by calculating your journeys carbon emissions by investing in carbon reduction projects.
B Neutral which is a complete carbon calculator and offsetting tool for businesses and individuals seems to offer the most creative and financially viable way to offset your journey.
B Neutral offers an affiliate program which means you CAN have your very own colour branded widget on your blog or website for FREE whilst making money and tackling climate change head on. You may have seen the widget below on the Ethical Active website.
WHY IS AVIATION OFFSETTING NOT VERY POPULAR?
According to Wayne Sharpe, the Founder and CEO of CTX, explains how "Majority of airlines who are offering some sort of an offset program are using brokers who have extremely large margins. Rather than collaborating direct with an exchange such as Carbon Trade Exchange, this means that offsets (Co2 cancellations) which could be as affordable as between $1 and $8 a tonne are being sold at up to $28 a tonne."
There definitely seems to be lack of leadership and understanding at all levels when it comes to Carbon offsetting. In the perfect ethical world, government regulators would implement standards on a four-phase basis. Starting from the top, Government bodies would be leading and inspiring a collective and position change.