Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mother's going GREEN Day 62 - Air Travel

Well it is almost time for our family vacation. This is not an annual activity for us - the last time we travelled as a family was 2 years ago and was to visit family out east.

On Saturday August 2, 2008 we head off to Disneyland.... The kids are so am I (neither my husband nor myself have ever been).

A family vacation comes with many green challenges and the first one is: How to get there? I took this one quite seriously... I did the research on a train but when I learned it would take us 35 hours to get to where we wanted to go - there was no way. It came down to the environment or my sanity. Call me selfish but I chose my sanity. For those who would choose the environment - well I doubt you have ever traveled with 3 children under 5 and a husband.

The research then began on airlines. Some airlines like Air Canada have environmental policies and as stated in their policy they have ongoing commitment to finding and implementing innovative solutions for protecting the environment ......And are well on their way towards their ambitious goal of improving fuel efficiency by an additional 25% between 2006 and 2020. Needless to say we booked with Air Canada. So check out the airlines environmental policy before you fly.

If flying still makes you feel guilty you can purchase "carbon offsets" by buying carbon offsets lets you negate CO2 emissions that you would use in flying or just about any CO2 producing activity. Air Canada has also partnered with Zerofootprint and allows you to calculate your CO2 emissions and then purchase the required amount of offsets. So for a mere $25.00 I have offset our families air travel CO2 emissions.

While flying you can do other simple things: reuse those earphones from your previous flight and then just keep on using them; bring your own healthy snack in a food safe container to avoid the fast food and packaging that comes with it. Chose direct flights - it is the landing and taking off that produces the most CO2 emissions. Pack light - the less baggage you have the lighter the plane, the less energy required to fly.

Green your air travel provides the following air travel statistic: Flying to Europe and back from the US contributes 3 to 4 tons of CO2 per person. That’s more than what 20 people in Bangladesh produce per year and roughly half the CO2 produced by the average American annually via all other sources (home heating, lighting, driving a car, etc.).

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