Reducing Your Carbon Travel Footprint

The summer travel season is here and whether you are traveling by train, plane or automobile, your vacation is likely to increase your carbon footprint — the amount of CO2 and other damaging greenhouse gases you emit into the atmosphere.  Fortunately, this doesn’t have to dampen your summer fun.  Gary Gero, president of the Climate Action Reserve, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that registers and issues carbon offsets, offers four easy and affordable ways to reduce the impact of your summer travel on the planet.

1. One if by air:  Calculating the carbon footprint of your trip is the first step to reducing its impact on the environment.  If you are traveling by air, you need to factor in the plane and engine type, cargo load, passenger weight and fuel usage.  The good news is that many major airlines will do this for you and also offer to offset your flight’s emissions as an add-on to the ticket price.  If your airline doesn’t have a carbon offset program, there are easy online calculators to do it yourself, like TRX Travel Analytics:

2. Two if by land:  If you’re opting for a road trip instead, you not only need to factor the trip’s total mileage but also your vehicle’s year, make and model when calculating emissions.  TerraPass offers an easy-to-use vehicle emissions calculator: t  Then you can balance out your trip’s emissions by purchasing carbon offsets.

For a list of reputable offset retailers:

3. Low carbon sightseeing:  In order to minimize your carbon footprint as much as possible, consider sightseeing by bicycle, public transportation or on foot.  And when driving between sites, smart driving practices – like driving at the speed limit and turning down the air conditioner – can increase your car’s fuel efficiency and lower emissions.  There are numerous tips on how to use less gas, be a greener driver and save money at

4. Keep it local:  Vacations and road trips can mean more meals out.  Look for seasonal, local options on restaurant menus.  Transporting food over long distances requires large quantities of fossil fuels and generates significant carbon emissions.  Eating locally grown foods has the added benefit of supporting the local economy and helping family farmers stay in business.Once you discover how easy it is to calculate and reduce your carbon footprint this summer, you may find yourself using these tips all year round.

A Little about the friends who provided us with this handy info – The Climate Action Reserve: 

As the premier carbon offset registry for the North American carbon market, the Climate Action Reserve works to ensure environmental benefit, integrity and transparency in market-based solutions that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  It establishes high quality standards for carbon offset projects, oversees independent third-party verification bodies, issues carbon credits generated from such projects and tracks the transaction of credits over time in a transparent, publicly-accessible system.  By facilitating and encouraging the creation of GHG emission reduction projects, the Climate Action Reserve program promotes immediate environmental and health benefits to local communities, allows project developers access to additional revenues and brings credibility and value to the carbon market.  They’re a private 501c(3) nonprofit organization based in LA.


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