Of course, the best way to travel sustainably is to travel minimally. Each form of motorised transport creates emissions, but some are better that others. Flying, cruise ships and towing a lot of gear are greater emitters than taking a bus or train.
As we want to continue travelling we need to take some long-haul flights to leave and return to Australia (the big disadvantage of living Down Under!). We hope that by offsetting these flights and doing everything we can to live and travel with minimal impact, means that our trips are more positive than negative on the environment.
Some people criticise carbon offsetting, saying that the projects are dubious or that travellers are just appeasing their guilt but not making real lifestyle changes. We do appreciate these arguments, and have spent much time learning about what makes a carbon offset project credible.
We were pleased to find the Carbon Neutral Charitable Fund here in Australia, who plant native trees in reforestation projects. Through the Fund we offset our travels to their Australian Biodiverse Reforestation, which is certified by The Gold Standard Foundation: an international certification body for carbon projects. Offsetting in this program costs $25 per tonne, and this is the amount of carbon we have created so far:
1. Travel through South East Asia, Sept 2017 – Jan 2018
- Flights from Mildura – Melbourne
0.26 tonnes CO2
- Flights from Melbourne – Kuala Lumpur RETURN
4.22 tonnes CO2
- Flights from Bangkok – Chiang Mai RETURN
0.66 tonnes CO2
- Flights from Bangkok – Siem Reap
0.2 tonnes CO2
- Flights from Phnom Penh – Kuala Lumpur
0.56 tonnes CO2
We created 5.9 tonnes of CO2 from our flights. This cost us AUD$147 to offset (paid 3 Feb 2018).
2. Travel through Central Australia, Oct – Dec 2019
We towed a small caravan from Mildura to Uluru and back over the course of 5 weeks, driving 4,888 kilometres.
This trip used 939.69 litres of diesel fuel, which generated 2.69 tonnes of CO2. This cost AUD$67.25 to offset (paid 6 Jan 2019).