Geared toward millennial travelers, the new app Adventure Junky makes a game of sustainable travel practices, awarding points for low-impact experiences and showcasing destinations and travel operators that offer them. Friends can play against one another or compete globally for bragging rights.
Sustainability is a big-umbrella term that addresses the economy, communities and the environment. Here are three aspects to consider as you plan.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, transportation accounts for 27 percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions, the kind that trap heat and warm the planet. Transportation, which includes everything from food trucked across the country to car commuting, is second only to electricity production in those emissions. Since 1990, total emissions are up about 4 percent, and the agency attributes the increase in transportation emissions to the growth in travel.
The remedy isn’t to stop traveling, which is a major economic driver, particularly in emerging countries, but “to do it smarter,” said Ms. Honey of Crest. “Look for larger, more fuel-efficient engines. Try to travel on nonstops. Going down and coming up creates more emissions. And where there are alternatives like trains and buses, do those. Try not to do short-haul flights.”
Carriers like United Airlines and tour companies such as AdventureSmith Explorations offer carbon calculators on their websites that allow travelers to determine the impact of travel and make a commensurate donation to carbon reduction projects such as wind farming and reforestation. The adventure travel company Wild Frontiers includes the offset fee in its airfare.
Costs depend on the programs supported. At United, the nearly 10,000-mile round trip between Newark and Honolulu could recently be offset with a $14.78 donation to a wind farm, or $17.74 to help protect a forest in Peru.