Read these 12 Travel Free: To/Around Your Destination Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Green Travel tips and hundreds of other topics.
Car racks can interfere with aerodynamics, forcing your car to work harder and burn more fuel. Extra weight in the trunk also generates more fuel burn. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, carrying an extra 100 pounds in your car can add an extra $.03 - $.06 per gallon.
If you just need a cab to get to and from the airport or train station, there are environmentally friendly options. Here are a few low-emission examples:
You don't need to own a car to travel around in the city. Carsharing.net provides links to "car sharing" organizations all over Canada, the United States, Asia and Europe. This isn't the same thing as car pooling. With car sharing:
The average bus can replace about 40 cars. The Sierra Club of Canada is very precise about the benefits: one person taking public transit produces eight times less carbon dioxide than someone driving their car. Better yet, buses in several cities around the world are going cleaner and greener.
Don't waste your money on organizations that support carbon trading schemes. This program sets carbon quotas for companies, sometimes even countries. However, if a company has not reached its quota, it can actually sell the remainder to another organization, thereby allowing someone else to pollute. These schemes don't reduce overall emissions; they simply redistribute them.
Cruise ships are sometimes called "floating cities", and just like cities, they produce sewage, solid waste and toxic emissions associated with acid rain and global warming. According to Bluewater Network, people living near ports are at greater risk for developing respiratory illnesses and cancer. Tougher regulations are on the horizon, but it's hard to predict how effective they'll be. The industry is littered with examples of cruise lines that were fined for "circumnavigating" laws governing waste disposal.
If you're determined to travel this way, you should ask about the cruise line's wastewater treatment systems and waste management policy (for example, dumped at sea or disposed of after docking, recycled or not, etc.). Look out for biodiesel vessels in the future. While a biofuel mix (regular fuel and vegetable oil) doesn't eliminate all toxic emissions, it significantly reduces them. Cruise lines operating out of Vancouver have expressed interest in this option and AML Cruises have tested a biodiesel ship in Montreal's Old Port.
Other factors to consider when choosing an airline include the age of the fleet. Generally speaking, the newer the planes, the more fuel efficient the technology. Several airlines, including KLM and Continental, have purchased planes with blended winglets (wingtips that turn upwards). This new design is said to cut fuel burn, which helps reduce both carbon and nitrogen dioxide emissions.
Don't be shy to ask if your chosen airline has a recycling program. According to Trash Landings, a 2006 Natural Resources Defense Council Report, airlines in the U.S.A. throw out enough aluminum cans each year to build 58 new Boeing 747s. In 2004 alone, they threw out 9000 tons of plastic. First Choice Airways,
Trees absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) so they act as a carbon sink. It is worth remembering, however, that carbon dioxide fumes are produced instantaneously, whereas alternative energy projects take time to implement and forests take even longer to grow. Moreover, forests need to be carefully managed and must survive several generations to make any difference. If you travel often and want to neutralize emissions in your lifetime, you'll need to make other changes as well.
Even if you don't have enough air miles for another trip, you probably have enough to make a charity fly. Many airlines allow you to donate air miles to a good cause.Three examples of "green" miles programs are: