Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Greener travel

As many of you know, I leave for NYC today. Of course, I've thought about the environmental impact of the air travel and other transportation.

We could take the bus and transfer to the new light rail to get to the airport, but considering all the trips and transfers we'll be doing, I've opted for taking a taxi. But, we're not taking one of those stinky, gas-guzzling cars - I managed to find a taxi company that uses hybrid cars. Priuses, actually.

For our flight, we are flying non-stop, which has less impact than a layover. Plus, we save time and my sanity (I hate flying). In order to mitigate the CO2 emissions, I'll be offsetting it through Terrapass. For two passengers from Seattle to Newark on non-stop round-trip flights it's 9,573 miles and that equates to 3,734 lbs of CO2. Yikes!

Through Terrapass' program, it costs $24 to offset the carbon. In return, the money supports clean energy and other projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Their offset portfolio consists of a mix of clean energy, farm power and landfill gas capture. But, if you want to decide the quantities of these projects yourself, you can build your own portfolio. I will be setting it up so that my money supports clean energy and landfill gas capture.

And, while we are in NYC, we'll be taking public transportation and, for the most part, walking everywhere. Our hotel has a program to reduce the amount of stuff, like towels and sheets, that gets changed. And, finally, we'll be hunting out restaurants that serve local and/or organic food.

Have you guys purchased travel offsets?


ruchi said...

I offset my plane flights through Native Energy. I like that I'm not only supporting renewable energy, but supporting the Native American community as well.

Mrs. Money said...

Love the Terra Pass idea! I was wondering what company did that. Thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

Have a great time - Are you going to try and look up No Impact Man while you are there? That would make for great posts!!! If you do please let us know where he takes you to eat - being an eastcoaster I want to try earthfriendly places in NYC....
Happy Trails!!

Sarah said...

I think purchasing carbon offsets is better than nothing, but don’t actually make up for the impact of travel. They’re a feel-good solution for people who don’t want to give up their quick trips. My husband flies to Seattle a couple times of year for work and buys carbon offsets each time, but I think instead that people should make lifestyle changes so energy-intensive travel isn’t required.

Most of us wouldn’t think it was environmentally acceptable to live in a McMansion, driving a Hummer, eating solely packaged foods from across the world, and heating an outdoor swimming pool all winter so long as she bought sufficient carbon offsets. Same thing, except travel has been elevated as having greater worth than all those things. Reducing our environmental footprint means ACTUALLY reducing it, not paying other people to.

Lynn from said...

Deanna, thanks for sharing how you are trying to green your travel. I actually agonized over going to BlogHer because of the flight, and then considered rail before being dissuaded due to delays with Amtrak (although I've done the overnight DC-Chicago route on Amtrak before with no problem).

It turns out Michelin purchased carbon offsets for all of the BlogHer attendees. I think that does make a difference, but it is a bit like whistling in the wind when you look at the rest of the environmental impact of conferences.

At the end of the day, we still need to live and travel and explore. Airlines are exploring biofuels and other ways to make travel more eco-friendly. The weight restrictions may help a bit. Everything adds up.

If you look at the major environmental non-profits, it's clear they send people all over the place to do their work. I think each of us just needs to question what we are doing and why.

Nice post! And have fun in NYC! Public transport there is so easy - and so is walking. You'll have a great time!

Cave-Woman said...

Yes, I purchased travel offsets for our vehicle. We calculated how much it was driven over the course of a year---and then compensated with offsets for that amount.

Of course, we were constantly reducing the amount we were driving our car----and had even bought a bicycle with the savings over the course of the year. (Then my bike was stolen, but that's another story.)

We went with a company called Terrapass. Good stuff, all told.

Farmer's Daughter said...

I hate hate hate flying and don't plan to fly anywhere any time soon. I have to agree with what Sarah says, too. Plus I'm not really sure how renewable energy helps to sequester carbon, which was what I thought was the purpose of offsets.

Peak Oil Hausfrau said...

Thanks for letting us know how you offset your air travel. We have to travel to two weddings this year - I haven't flown since 2005 and not looking forward to it. Although it's not as good as not flying at all, at least I can try the Terrapass. Good for Cave-Woman too for offsetting her car travel. I need to look into how much that costs.

Green Bean said...

We don't travel all that much and as late as last year, I used to feel much like Sarah did. How could we possibly justify travel, especially on an airplane? With all that CO2. Why was it any different?

I have to say that I've relaxed my views on travel dramatically. I do think it should be minimized but that there are special exceptions - like visiting family or close friends, exploring some place special with someone you love, escaping the kids for a week :), or connecting with new friends. Offsets aren't a perfect solution. Far from it. But they are something and that's better than nothing. We, like Ruchi, have tended to use Native Energy.

Have a great trip! And come back with lots of stories.

Robj98168 said...

I fly very infrequently. But I do use terrapass on my cars, and have offset a trip martin and I took to Las Vegas a couple of years back. Terra Pass is very cool.Enjoy your trip!

Lisa said...

As an alternative option -- and because I can and because this is a mutually-beneficial-gift-that-keeps-on-giving kind of thing -- I plant trees to offset any air travel I do. I realize this isn't an option for everyone (you need the yard and space to do it), but it works wonderfully for me. I might even have some apples at this time next year...

Rosa said...

I support a charity that does reforestation and supports agroforestry to fight poverty in caribbean and central american countries, and sort of count it as carbon offsetting. They're advertising as a carbon offset recently - - but I don't think they've actually changed what they do, they've always planted trees for farmers who want them & will take care of them.)

But that's more for our general life, not for travel specifically - I haven't flown in several years and I think it's been good for us.

That said, my folks really want us to take a cruise with them and the irony kills me (fly to seattle & take a cruise to see the alaskan glaciers while they still exist!) Has anybody heard of a greener cruise line?

Dee Dee said...

I hope you have a lovely trip and enjoy every minute of it. Your purchase of Terrapass offsets is a good thing. I worry that some people try to make other people feel bad about taking a trip. Yes, it's a heavy imprint, but it's not like you are commuting to the east coast every week. You do so many really positive, useful things, including educating others about ways to treat the earth respectively. Sometimes people need to lighten up a little.

Rev. Peter Doodes said...

Sorry Dee Dee, I am with Sarah here, it is not a case of 'Sometimes people need to lighten up a little'.

The fact is that flying puts the pollution up there. Carbon offsetting does not, by some miracle, remove it.

Carbon ofsetting is, in the vast majority of cases, Enron accounting.

OK, sometimes there is an urgent or unavoidable need to fly, but don't lets think that by paying someone to plant some trees etc this will make any difference to the damage that has just been done. It may ease your Conscience and as Sarah says, its better than nothing... runs it a close second though.

Michele said...

If you're a fan of fashion (as I am), be sure to check out the latest exhibit at the Met called The Model as Muse. Breathtaking from the pics I've seen so far, so wish I could be there!

I'm green with envy! ;) Have a wonderful time!

Crunchy Chicken said...

Rapunzel - We didn't make it to the second floor of the Met today, but will probably go back later this weekend to finish the job. I did look through the Model as Muse book in the Costume section of the bookstore.

I want to check out the exhibit since I modeled with a local branch of Elite and was a finalist in the Look of the Year contest at the time a lot of the pictures were taken.

Anonymous said...

I think that purchasing carbon offsets is a great way to at least mitigate some of the damage caused by flying.

I'm not so sure that it's such a sin to travel by air if you're already a non-frequent traveller. For a start, short of declaring bankruptcy, airlines have to operate flights to generate revenue and utilise their fleet. So the energy consuming flight will still proceed even if not full. And by virtue of the fact that cargo is also transported on the flights, the energy is well utilised.

A more direct way to cut cost is really to just drive less, because each car trip made contributes directly to pollution. Buying less is also something I'm striving to do, because the solution to saving the earth is really to consume less.

Avoiding modes of transport like buses, trains or airplanes are great in principle, but unless boycotted entirely by people taking the same route, it doesn't really help save the environment.


Danielle said...

I just want to say I love your blog! I am a follower and I hope you'll come follow my blog too! Mine is no where near as amazing as yours but I hope someday it can be!

Flor said...

I've always found the whole concept of purchasing carbon offsets a little strange...I suppose in theory they could work. To me, though, it just seems a little more effective if we all just did little (and cheaper) things to offset carbon, like riding a bike or walking. All that money incentive just makes me question the legitimacy of it. But...I guess it's better than nothing (??).

By the by, I'm a big fan of your blog! Keep fighting the good fight!