|Nothing can lower your carbon footprint as much as staying where you are.|
I hear a lot of people saying that someone should do something about global warming. I don't hear a lot of people saying that they are voluntarily eliminating non-essential travel.
Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to stop participating in the creation of that problem, but that seems to be a novel concept for those who selfishly continue climate-harming behaviours while crossing exotic destinations off their 'bucket list'.
A small minority of voluntary staycationers are starting to speak out. There have been people polled in Europe that go so far as to suggest that taking a flying holiday is immoral and should be stopped altogether. It may sound extreme, but the problem we face is extreme.
Tourism is one of the world's largest and fastest growing industries, and it has a huge, rapidly growing carbon footprint that must be addressed before permanent damage is done to our planet's vital systems.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and environmental groups have singled out air travel as accounting for 60% of tourism greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, tens of thousands of commercial jet planes generate more than 600 million tones of CO2 per year. These numbers are projected to increase in the coming years, raising questions about what we are really doing.
Why are so many people flying more often and farther than ever before to do pretty much the same things they do while at home? Can the travel and tourism sector be considered a beneficial activity? Is the promise of zero impact Eco-tourism even possible, or is it all industry greenwashing to protect profits?
A 2007 paper titled Tourism Feels The Heat Of Global Warming concluded, "If the goal is to effectively decrease greenhouse gas emissions in the travel and tourism sector, there seems to be no way around curbing the growth of the industry." In other words, we will just have to stay home more often.
Today one of the most radical things you can do is be happily content to stay where you are. It may also be one of the most beneficial things you can do for others and the planet.