Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Different Way to Look at Travel

In the last few years I have definitely changed my decision making process when it comes to business travel. No longer is it just the value of the trip that comes into play when deciding whether to go or not. How my travel will ultimately impact the environment is now part of my decision making process. Has this also happened to you?

When I do need to travel, I can at least offset the impact of my trip through the purchase of renewable energy credits. After making reservations for a trip on Continental Airlines recently, I was given the option of offsetting my trip through the airline's eco-skies program. I chose not to at the time because I was a little caught off guard by the offer, but it was good to know I at least had the option. (I have participated in offsetting programs in the past and donate a percentage of ad revenue from Green Lodging News to the Arbor Day Foundation to help offset the carbon footprint of the publication.)

Given what we know about the impact of travel on the environment (the air pollution, greenhouse gases, etc.), it seems to me that offset purchasing should be a requirement for all carbon-intensive travel. Don't make it an option. Build it into the cost of the gasoline, the airplane ticket, etc. I know that suggestion won't sit well with some travel experts but most of the time we are all just too busy, lazy or apathetic to initiate an offset transaction. With the price of energy at the lowest point in several years, there is no better time to do it. It would be a great way to support the development of renewable energy, which is badly needed given the United States' dependence on other countries for energy. What are your thoughts?

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