What is a Carbon Footprint?
A carbon footprint is the total amount of “greenhouse” gases that are generated by our actions whether in our individual capacity, as a community, a building, a country or in the corporate world. Greenhouse gases are gases which trap heat in the atmosphere causing global warming. These gases include methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, fluorinated gases and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Our carbon imprint also includes direct emissions, such as those that result from fossil-fuel combustion in manufacturing, construction, heating and emissions required to produce the electricity associated with services and goods consumed. The carbon footprint is usually expressed as a measure of weight, as in tons of CO2 or CO2 equivalent per year. In first world countries, it is observed that transportation and household energy use make up the largest part of an individual’s carbon footprint.
What Can We Do to Neutralize our Carbon Footprint as an Eco-Tourist?
In our everyday lives, we can implement small changes such taking less connecting flights and line drying our clothes. One of the most practical ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to consider how much and how often, you travel. If you use public transportation rather often and you fly home to visit family just occasionally, your carbon footprint could still be quite sustainable. If you drive and fly a lot, your emissions will be higher. Join others in the new electricity generation, where consumers are shifting away from the use of coal to more renewable sources and natural gas.
What Can the Owners of an Eco-Tourist Destination do to Lessen the Carbon Footprint of an Eco-Resort?
They can provide clear and in-depth information and encouragement about low carbon activities guests can enjoy on and off site such as walking, running, cycling, canoeing, rafting and horseback riding. They can provide information on their website and brochures highlighting public transport options which include getting to and from the travel destination as well as travel within the destination.
They should promote cycling and bike rentals, as well as walking opportunities and private group shuttles and buses that will carry many passengers at once who are attending the same activity.
They can consider offering incentives to guests who choose to use public transportation over their personal car for instance, such as discounts and special gifts or services. When watercraft, golf carts, ATV’s or other fossil fuel-powered vehicles are used, eco-tourist destinations are encourage to pursue electric or high efficiency options wherever possible. Facilities should be pedestrian and cyclist friendly. To support this initiative, eco-resorts can also provide drying areas, repair tools for bicycles, benches and secure storage for bicycles.
Staff can be encouraged to use public transportation, carpooling and incentives should be offered for those that do make use of public transportation.
Becoming carbon neutral is often a lot less costly than what a person would think. If we are conscientious with the changes, we can start making a big difference in the world.