Travelling Green

AirAsia planes lined up at Bangkok International Airport

It has been a little over four months since I returned home, and the world is almost a completely different place now than when I was travelling.

The freedom to hop on a plane and be almost anywhere in the world in less than a day was something I took full advantage of over the last year, racking up over 26,000 miles flown and nearly 44,000 miles total travelled.

Now, like many people around the world, I am stuck at home unless it is for “essential travel”.

I am incredibly lucky that I was able to have my adventure, that I had the opportunity to visit some of the most the incredible places in the world, and meet some of the most amazing people.

When I was travelling I was very much aware of the privilege I had to be able to see and experience these awesome locations. I was also aware of the environmental impact my privilege was causing.

Air pollution over Bangkok at sunset

It was particularly apparent in Bangkok when I visited the roof top bar of one of the tallest buildings. The view, whilst spectacular, was appalling in terms of the smog and air pollution visible sitting over the city.

I made a promise to myself that when I returned to stable employment I would contribute back the world. Having just received my first paycheck I am now in a position to keep that promise.

Calculating my environmental impact was not an exact science.

Although I had kept a record of miles travelled in general there is a big difference between the CO2 output of a bus compared to a tuktuk!

I therefore decided to assume worst case during my calculations.

In total my flights output approximately 9,525 kgs of CO2, based on data from Atmosfair.

All other modes of travel came to about 4,056 kgs of CO2, based on data from Carbonfootprint.com.

During this my worst case assumptions included all train travel being diesel, all boat travel being by ferry, and anything not a car I drove (including taxis and tuktuks) being treated as a coach.

Converting this all to tonnes it came to a little over 13 tonnes of CO2.

Sticking to worst case I rounded this to 15 tonnes to be offset, just to ensure it was all covered.

Using a service recommended by Tom Scott on his Carbon Offsetting page I went with Gold Standard. Whilst many offset companies and charities use tree planting the programs on Gold Standard use different approaches to offset CO2.

In an effort to support some of the places I actually visited I spread my contributions across five programs:

You can see proof of my offsetting here.

An Asian elephant walking through a tropical forest

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