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SOURCE: Lars Leetaru, NY Times

IATAestimates that over 4.3 billion passengers flew on an airplane in 2017, with the average traveler flying at least once every 22 months.

With the demand for flights increasing annually, the environmental impact of air travel is significant. Some estimates show that the carbon impact of travel is over 3 times higher than expected.

Here are some steps you can take to become a more ‘sustainable traveler’:

  • According to the Environmental Protection Agency aircrafts account for 12% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Using rail is a better alternative if available.
  • Avoiding multiple layovers and shorter flights are options to minimize your impact by reducing pollution per passenger mile. Fly direct as much as possible.
  • Using local public transport is an easy way for you to reduce your impact personally!
  • Consider using a bike rental to explore a new city.

Although air travel as we know it today has not been at the forefront of the sustainability movement, the prospects for a future of sustainable travel look promising. With fuel efficient planes on the horizon, the potential for low-carbon biofuels to replace up to 30% of jet fuel could lower the carbon intensity to about one third of what it was in 2016.

“Act as if what you’re doing makes a difference. It does” – William James

Read more tips on being a sustainable traveler here.  


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by Shanna Schubert and Brooklynn Downing, Intern-Associates, PATA

Brooklynn Downing and Shanna Schubert, intern-assocaites, PATA

Brooklynn Downing and Shanna Schubert

Being recent female graduates originally from North America, we quickly realised our commonalities soon after meeting each other. When you’ve been out of your comfort zone for a period of time, travelling abroad, living with a host family, etc., to come across someone from a similar background can be heartening. We soon struck up an interesting conversation about cultural differences and similarities, and what an educational experience travelling can be, more so, how eye opening it is as a reflection on others and especially on one’s self. Often when we think of sustainable travel we think of the obvious, for example, pollution, consumption, transportation, and other tangible factors. But what we frequently forget to discuss is the importance and impact of cultural interaction through tourism in a sustainable manner.

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