In the two summers before the No Impact experiment, we went to France and Italy for three weeks each. We rented cars and had the time of our lives. This year, though the No Impact year is over, we're continuing to make what, for me, is the difficult decision of keeping it closer to home.
Limiting air travel was the hardest choice of the No Impact experiment for me, but probably the most important, at least when it comes to carbon emissions. One round-trip, long-haul flight causes as much contribution to climate change as—get this—an entire year of driving.
Now, I'm not saying I'll never fly again but I am trying to continue to be much more conscious about flying. For our vacation this year, Michelle and I decided that we would rent a
summer house for the month of August as an alternative to travel.
In choosing a spot, our qualifications were:
- That we we wouldn't have to fly
- That we would be able to swim
- That we could get to and from the summer house and New York by train
- That we would be within biking distance of groceries, restaurants and swimming to ensure that we wouldn't require a car.
That meant, essentially, we needed a village, on a train line, by some swimable water. Well, the good news is that we found it. A wonderful little house in the seaside town of Greenport on the North Fork of Long Island. It's a two minute bike ride to the beach or the village. And in the village there is a carousel, a movie theater, a farmer's market and restaurants.
In fact, though it has a lot less impact than previous vacations, it really isn't a compromise at all.
Here are some vacation tips you may find helpful:
- Vacation closer to home.
- Take direct flights that don’t zigzag to your destination.
- Combine three weekend trips into one week-long trip to reduce travel and flights
- Take the train or bus instead
- One less round trip means 6000 lbs less greenhouse gas
- If you must fly, buy a carbon offset from Native Energy
Image courtesy of Offbeat Travel.