Traveling This Summer: Try these climate-smart travel ideas

With summer just around the corner, many people are stir-crazy, willing to tolerate a seemingly less risky variant of Covid, and ready for a vacation. Whether it’s a family reunion, catching up with old friends in faraway places, or just seeing a bit more of the world, lots of us are looking to travel this year.  

Given what we’ve all been through, it’s long overdue. The pent-up demand for travel is so strong that it almost makes it easy to forget that traveling can be a big contributor to climate change, the world’s most important “inconvenient truth.” 

Of course, if you’re reading this, you’re likely someone who cares deeply about climate change and wants to do everything they can to minimize your contribution to climate change. But you also want to see your family, friends and faraway places. How do you balance these competing desires?

Here are some ideas for satisfying your wanderlust and minimizing your impact:

Perhaps it’s obvious, but one of the best ways to reduce the impact of your travel is to reduce the frequency of air travel. Can you get the experience you’re looking for somewhere closer to home? Many people in Oregon have been to the Grand Canyon, but never have seen Hells Canyon, which is equally impressive in its own way. They’ve been to the Alps but not the Wallowas – spectacular “alp-like” mountains right here in Oregon. They may have walked the beaches of Fiji without ever setting foot at Kalaloch, a “rain forest meets the beach” getaway along the Washington Coast.

If a longer trip to see friends and family or more remote or exotic locations is in your plans, here are some ideas for keeping the impact of those trips as small as possible.

Trains are a good lower-carbon option to consider, too, especially for mid-distance intercity travel. Most trains are roomier than planes and you can get up and walk around as much as you like. You can also see some spectacular scenery, e.g., the California coastline or the Northern Rockies, up close, and not from 35,000 feet up. 

Electric trains are even less polluting. Unfortunately, there are currently no electric long-distance trains operating anywhere near Oregon. (If you find yourself in the DC-NY-Boston corridor, check out the Acela trains that Amtrak operates.) However, even a jaunt from Portland to Seattle or Eugene to Portland in a conventional diesel-powered train is more sustainable (and relaxing) than driving or flying, emitting more climate emissions than trains.

If your only choice is flying or driving, which is worse depends on how many people are on the plane or in your car and how far you go. Most carbon emissions from planes occur during takeoff and are much lower at cruising altitude, so, if you must fly, fly far and then walk, bike, take the train or rent an electric vehicle (EV) to minimize the overall impact of your trip. 

Driving is sometimes the only convenient way to get to more out-of-the-way places, be they the Wallowas, Crater Lake, or a close relative living in Crescent City. But taking along family or friends greatly reduces your per-passenger mile climate impact. And as the region’s network of electric vehicle (EV) chargers builds out, traveling in an EV is increasingly feasible and your emissions will be dramatically lower. 

Ever since early hominids started walking, traveling has been a part of our existence. Unfortunately, today, we find our existence might depend on traveling less often, and more sustainably. Making climate-friendly choices as you plan whether, how far, how long, and in what way you travel, can help you balance your desire to travel with your concern over the climate, and will model the way for others to follow in your footsteps.

 

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Transportation Solutions Featured Climate Protection OCAP News OCAP-Page Media/PR/Statements Rural Partnerships Carbon Sequestration Agriculture Environmental Health Air Quality Legacy timeline Eco-Healthy Homes Living Green
Sort by

Climate Victory! Oregon Clean Fuels Standard Now Strongest in the Nation

Oregon just took a huge step toward reducing climate and air pollution from our top emitting sector. The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) today adopted an expanded Clean Fuels Program, more than tripling our existing standard to make it the strongest in the nation. See our joint press release here.
September 23, 2022, 7:44 pm
noraaoeconline-org

0

Coalition of State and National Groups Files Intervention to Defend Oregon’s Climate Protection Program Against Oil and Gas Industry Attack

For Immediate Release September 7, 2022 Salem, OR – A coalition of environmental justice, climate, and business organizations today filed a legal intervention
September 7, 2022, 9:01 pm
mcadmin

0

youth climate march in portland

Climate Change is Impacting Youth Mental Health

Do you find yourself or the youth in your life feeling anxious or depressed over the idea of climate change? A new study shows this is a problem sweeping Oregon and beyond. The Oregon Health Authority just released a report, Climate Change and Youth Mental Health in Oregon, documenting
June 14, 2022, 7:41 pm
jamie-pang

0

Oregon Climate Action Plan Turns Two!

Two years ago, Governor Kate Brown made history when she signed the Oregon Climate Action Plan (OCAP), executive order 20-04. It’s the largest executive action on climate in Oregon history, and arguably the biggest single climate action ever undertaken by the state given its broad sweep. OCAP set in motion a broad array of state agency activities to respond to the climate crisis by reducing climate emissions from our state’s largest polluting sec
March 11, 2022, 6:02 pm
noraaoeconline-org

0

CLIMATE VICTORY! Oregon Climate Protection Program sets the path for a healthy climate future

Oregon just took one of its biggest steps ever toward reducing climate pollution and delivering a stable climate for the future. Oregon just took one of its biggest steps ever toward reducing climate pollution and delivering a stable climate for
December 16, 2021, 2:41 am
noraaoeconline-org

0

Strengthening Oregon’s Climate Protection Program

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is getting closer to finalizing rules for a new Climate Protection Program. Over the past year, DEQ has made a number of positive changes to strengthen the rules; however, a few key policy design features still hang in the
August 31, 2021, 10:07 pm
noraaoeconline-org

0

I-5 Interstate Bridge between Oregon and Washington

Building Bridges: Connections Between Communities, Climate, and Equitable Transportation

The Columbia River between Washington and Oregon has been significant for transportation around the region for thousands of years, with people moving along and across the river to meet their needs, make a living, and connect across communities. The I-5 bridge between Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon, is currently at the center of a regional conversation about transportation, connectedness, and community needs. 
August 10, 2021, 8:19 pm
saraw

0

Windmills over green terrain

OEC & Partners Advocate to Strengthen the Climate Protection Program

July 16, 2021 Governor Kate Brown Office of the Governor 900 Court Street NE, Suite 254 Salem, OR 97301-4047 Director Richard Whitman Department of Environmental Quality 700 NE Multnomah St. Suite 600 Portland, OR 97232 Cc: Chair
August 3, 2021, 7:55 pm
noraaoeconline-org

0


No Replies to "Traveling This Summer: Try these climate-smart travel ideas"