We live in the Netherlands and like to keep visiting our family in the Philippines on a regular basis. Sailing is no option, since it would take us months and we would probably have to dodge pirates along the way. So that leaves the plane our only option.
Flying is probably not the most sustainable way of transport. And since we started our journey to try to travel sustainably, I couldn’t help but wonder if it would even be possible to take a plane and still call myself a sustainable traveler. Well… it turns out I can! So let’s get down to business…
I found 3 ways to become more sustainable:
- Use less energy or materials;
- Recycle what you do use;
- Compensate for what’s left.
In the case of flying, only option 1 and 3 are viable, so let’s explore those further.
How to save energy on your flight
According to studies there are a couple of things to consider that could save energy on your flight:
- Your travel distance: The shorter your flight, the less fuel you will need. So what is the shortest flight to your destination? Take the direct flight if you can.
- Seating arrangement: Less seats = more fuel per passenger = more CO2 emission. Do you really need the extra space of business class or is economy class enough?
- Fuel burn of the aircraft: Some aircraft types use more fuel than others. Also the age of the aircraft has a big influence on the fuel efficiency. Modern planes will be more fuel efficient than older ones.
If all else fails, compensate!
More and more flight operators offer CO2 compensation as an option when you book a flight. Most of the time, this is in the form of planting trees. And if your flight operator doesn’t offer that service, you can use a service such as carbonfootprint.com. In the form below, you can enter your flight details and it will give you the carbon footprint of that flight. By clicking ‘Offset’ the website offers you multiple options to compensate for your flights CO2 footprint.
If you want to stay in control and select your favorite compensation project, The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has you covered. They selected projects around the world that contribute to climate security and sustainable development. You can find and support those projects on: https://www.goldstandard.org/get-involved/make-an-impact