Being A Frequent Flyer While Trying to Save the World

We fly.  We fly a lot, with our family taking at least 4 international trips per year.  Being part of opening Samadhi Eco Resort, it was only a matter of time when we asked the question, “how is all this flying affecting our planet?”  

Aviation produces approximately 2% of all human-induced carbon dioxide emissions, and is responsible for 12% from all transport sources.  This does not sound a lot to begin with, but let’s put this into perspective.  Nonstop flights produce less emissions than stopovers, so if we compare one nonstop, roundtrip international flight over the Atlantic, each person averages about one metric ton of carbon, which is the same as driving 22 miles (35km) to work every day for one year in a Prius (International Council on Clean Transportation - ICCT).  Hmmm….

So how can we be more responsible travelers?  Driving the distances we fly is out of the question, so we began to research other options.

The first way we can lessen our imprints is by choosing to fly economy class, which has 3-9 times less of a carbon footprint than business and first class.  However, we have never been able justify buying those class tickets anyway knowing that the cost difference could feed villages for months, and if we were to spend that money so freely, we would rather save lives than have a few hours of extra comfort.  So how else could we be more responsible?  The ICCT ranked airlines from the most to least fuel-efficient.  We turned to that to prioritize our flying choices, and that has been our savior of sorts.  However, once again, there are many times where the price difference between one of the top rated airlines and a lower rated one, or one that isn’t even on the list cannot be justified.

So where does that leave us?  Are we doomed to know that our imprints will remain as is while we contribute to the negative effects of CO2 emissions on our planet?  Or can we justify that by not allowing any deforestation or logging to occur on our 60+ acres of forest somewhat decreases our imprint?  

How do YOU save the planet while also traveling to different corners of the world?  We'd love to hear your thoughts and tips.  Share in the comments below.

ICCT’S RANKING OF AIRLINES THAT ARE FROM MOST TO LEAST FUEL-EFFICIENT: 

  1. Norwegian

  2. Airberlin

  3. Aer Lingus

  4. KLM

  5. Air Canada

  6. Aeroflot

  7. Turkish

  8. Air France

  9. Delta

  10. Icelandair

  11. Iberia

  12. American

  13. Alitalia

  14. United

  15. US Airways

  16. Virgin Atlantic

  17. Swiss

  18. Lufthansa

  19. SAS

  20. BA