I was in the advanced stages of buying airline tickets for my around-the-world trip, when an uncomfortable thought crept cat-like into my consciousness.
How was I going to tell my friends – plus admit to myself – that the exciting 23,000-mile global jaunt I was planning was going to spew who knows how many tons of greenhouse gases into our environment?
Like most of my friends, I am aware of the extraordinary cost to the environment of airline travel and realize holiday travel ends up being a net loss to the planet.
To make a long trip into a short story, I decided that after a lifetime of “free air,” I was finally going to bite the bullet and compensate the community for the ecological damage my travel spree was going to cause.
I don’t think paying a voluntary carbon tax is the ultimate solution to the global-heating conundrum, but it is an accessible “tool in the toolbox,” relevant and timely. It doesn’t solve the problem, but it supports the people and organizations who are working to do so!
My Personal Carbon Offset Strategy
Here’s what I did: I Googled “carbon offset air travel calculator.” I input all my flight segments into this calculator. I was surprised that the offset costs were not too punishing. I then contacted Our Forest Fund, whose work and dedication I know well. By contributing to save trees that would otherwise be cut down, I am conserving forest which directly filters pollution from the air and helping to mitigate the environmental consequences of flying.
I informed ourforestfund.org that I planned to save my boarding passes (all fourteen) and donate the calculated $335 to the fund in two monthly installments.
This, my friends, is something we can all do — in addition to recycling, reusing, composting, eating less meat, turning off the lights in unoccupied areas, turning up the air conditioner and down the heater, or closing the tap while brushing teeth, and fretting about the future of our beautiful (and only) planet.
— Frank J. Miller
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Vashon Island, WA, USA