Want to Reduce Your Travel Footprint? Try Carbon Offsets

Offset your carbon footprint by donating to projects that help the Earth. (©Maridav/Shutterstock)

By Jennifer McKee

With Earth Day on the horizon, now’s a great time to begin a healthy new travel habit: reducing your carbon travel footprint. The eco-conscious can find a number of great organizations to support, from those who’ll plant trees, clean plastic from our waterways and even curate sustainable travel experiences.

Every time you take a road trip, fly on a plane or create waste, carbon emissions are being generated. Sustainable Travel International estimates that a one-way flight from San Francisco to Paris produces more than 1.25 metric tons of carbon emissions per passenger, which is over a quarter of the amount of carbon an average person produces per year.

Commercial flights are a major contributor to harmful carbon emissions. (©Jag_cz/Shutterstock)

Renting electric vehicles, reusing water bottles and forgoing air conditioning are good ways to start cutting down your carbon footprint, but those who want to do more can contribute to reforestation, clean energy and community land rights projects through STI. Use its calculator to off-set a round trip flight and get tips for sustainable travel.

Another great resource is myclimate. The Swiss nonprofit works with industry partners and private individuals to offer more than 125 climate-protection projects in 37 countries. In addition, its educational programs have already reached more than 1,600 students and young professionals, with the aim of training future generations to be eco-conscious. Read more about its impressive list of projects here.

Enhancing the quality of the atmosphere is the mission of Tomorrow’s Air. After a life-changing visit to Antarctica and breathing in its crisp, pure air—and also seeing the decay due to global warming—founders Christina Beckman and Nim de Swardt were compelled to stop the destructive force of carbon dioxide. Tomorrow’s Air uses direct air-capture technology in its clean up, and permanently stores it underground. In addition to offering your financial support, you can also explore advocacy and education opportunities.

A trip to Antarctica inspired two travelers to found Tomorrow’s Air. (©KonstantinGrosch1986/Shutterstock)

How can you make sure your money is going to a reputable organization? Support a cause-focused, nonprofit organization that offers transparency in its numbers and mission. Another thing to look for is independent, third-party verification of its portfolio.

It’s not a nonprofit, but one gift company we love is Tinggly—its gift certificates give the gift of experience, then gives back to the Earth. Choose from hundreds of adventurous, culinary, romantic and bucket-list experiences, there’s literally something for everyone. For every gift given, Tinggly will clean 11 pounds of plastics (the equivalent of 220 plastic bottles) across the globe. It’s also installed trash traps in the rivers of Bali and is working to reduce its carbon footprint by 200 percent.

Tinggly is committed to helping keep our Earth clean. (©Tinggly)

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