I have done horrible things in 2014. I have driven a SUV in the city for more than 150.000 kilometers. Or I have thrown away 90 tons of potatoes. I have emitted as much C02 as an average European citizen would do in 1 year and a half. I have cut almost 1,000 trees. OK, I’ll stop the comparisons here; mostly because a quick google search has made it difficult to find several sources that use the same definition, calculation and conversion. But according to Climate Care, my air travel in 2014 has emitted 19,25 tonnes of CO2.
Why so much? Because 2014 has been a great travel year for me, and flights took me in 21 different countries on 3 different continents on 26 different occasions. But this also means that I have contributed to release a horrible amount of CO2 in the air we breathe every day.
Does this make me feel guilty? I wouldn’t use this word. I believe strongly in the good reasons why I travel and I see the CO2 emissions as an unfortunate collateral phenomenon, that I wish to make disappear, but am not yet ready to sacrifice for. The CO2 of my travels don’t really make me feel guilty, they rather make me feel sad.
And the fact that, out of the 19,25 tonnes I emitted, 60% were for business travel but the North American company I worked for will not offer to cover these costs, makes my sadness even stronger.
The reason why I offset all my plane travel every year is not to purchase a right to pollute for myself, it is not to clean my conscience, it is rather one of the actions I take in my everyday life to cut my ecological footprint on the planet, which are numerous, even if I am not more perfect than anyone else [I could insert here a very long and probably boring list of day-to-day actions such as buying organic vegetables, signing petitions to invite corporations to be greener, recycling as much as possible, driving in a fuel-efficient way when I can’t use public transportation, not having a Christmas tree in my house, eating all my leftovers, not using disposable napkins or tampons, (…) ]
For the long distances I want to cover for my travel mission, the least disrespectful I have found so far is carbon-neutral flying – and in the future I am ready to consider better alternatives you may know and want to let me know about.
So this year, I have transferred 144 British pounds to Climate Care (that’s 185 euro or 224 US dollars), who will use these funds in projects that cut CO2 emissions and improve people’s lives, such as protecting forests, providing safe water, and powering lives with clean energy.
And you, how did you reflect on your lifestyle’s footprint and what did you decide to do about it this year?