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Sustainable Tourism: What are our options?
Guest post by: Kacey Mya | September 18, 2020
Anyone interested in living a sustainable lifestyle knows that the efforts can't stop at home. When you need to book a flight, you might feel like you have to compromise your beliefs. Planes are notoriously bad for the environment, so what can people do about it?
People are catching onto how bad planes are for the planet, so corporations now provide more environmentally sustainable options. Check out the current options for green aviation so you can travel without increasing your carbon footprint.
1. Diversify Aviation Fuels
From the moment a plane enters the runway, they need natural gas to get to their destination. During an average trip, a Boeing 747 burns one gallon per second, adding up to 36,000 gallons of gas for an average flight. Burning through gas creates carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas contributing to climate change.
Aviation companies have already begun looking into diversifying their fuels. In 2019, EgyptAir flew a 787 Dreamliner that used biofuel and jet fuel, opening the door to future sustainable flights. Passengers can expect to see further changes in aviation fuels in the future. The International Air Trasport Association (IATA) wants one billion passengers to fly on combined fuels by 2025, so more planes like the 787 Dreamliner will become standard worldwide.
2. Improve Aircraft Efficiency
Aircraft corporations can also take a second look at the efficiency of their jets. Airbus made improvements in 2019 by producing the Airbus A350 XWB, which requires 25% less fuel per trip thanks to improved Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. Improved engine efficiency will require less gas for each flight as time goes on.
3. Support Carbon Offsetting
Carbon offsetting is another way to help the planet after the necessary use of fossil fuels. Eleven airlines currently offer carbon offsetting programs, including major players like Delta and United. Passengers can voluntarily donate to this program after calculating the carbon produced by their upcoming or past trip. Depending on the airline, your money could protect rainforests, help develop renewable energy or fund research into aviation biofuel.
4. Switch to Eco-Friendly Materials
Passengers can also look for flights that use eco-friendly materials on board. Before purchasing your next round-trip ticket, see if there are biodegradable cups and plastic-free food and beverage options. You could also see if crews try to reduce the plane's weight to minimize how much fuel they need to reach your destination. Efforts like using lighter beverage carts can make a big difference in a plane's weight.
5. Enhance Airport Properties
More airports than ever want to provide green solutions to passengers before they ever board an aircraft. Standard resources like refillable water bottle stations and automatic hand dryers in bathrooms are only the start of what you can expect the next time you arrive for a flight.
The Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport recently made strides by building panoramic arched shade structures that cover 300 spaces for parked rental cars. The shade shelters visitors and vehicles from frequent stormy weather and damaging UV rays produced by the rising climate. The Tampa International Airport also won an environmental award for a number of progressive efforts, including installing 15 car charging stations and a consolidated rental car facility.
6. Offer Sustainable Meals
Keep an eye out for more sustainable meal options on planes due to the increased demand for eco-friendly flights. Pre-packaged meals and snacks contribute to global warming before they ever reach the plane. To produce one pound of beef, production and farming companies need 1,910 gallons of water to make that small tray of mid-flight meatloaf. You can also book flights with organic food that wasn't grown with chemical fertilizers that poison the local environment.
Do Your Research
Although there's more support for eco-travel than ever before, it still isn't a widespread standard. Do your research the next time you need to book a flight so you travel in a more efficient jet, eat sustainable food and have the option to donate to carbon offset programs. A few minutes of your time will reveal the current options for green aviation so you can minimize your carbon footprint while you're away from home.
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