Now that you know the greenhouse gas emissions of your travel, you can reduce your carbon impact by purchasing carbon offsets. Carbon offsets support projects that reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by:
- Capturing and destroying a greenhouse gas that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere. For example: a methane gas capture project at a landfill.
- Capturing and storing (or “sequestering”) greenhouse gases to prevent their release into the atmosphere. For example: a project that promotes the healthy growth and maintenance of existing forests, or planting new trees that will capture or “sequester” carbon over the course of their lives.
- Producing energy using a clean, renewable resource that eliminates the need to produce that same energy from fossil fuels. For example: a project that produces wind or solar power.
We encourage you to consider offsetting your air travel by purchasing carbon offsets through one of these vetted providers:
Note: carbon offsets do not solve the complex problem of greenhouse gas emissions and there is debate over the best way to utilize them, but they offer a method for countering climate change that is accessible to individuals.
Beyond Offsets and Carbon Handprint
In addition to carbon offsets, there are a number of other ways to make your travel more sustainable, including:
- Eat locally sourced, plant-based food and purchase locally made goods
- Walk, bike, or take public transportation within your destination when possible
- Spend weekends exploring your primary destination rather than more distant locations
- Carry a refillable water bottle, travel mug for hot drinks, and reusable silverware
- Turn off lights/heat/AC, and unplug devices when not in use
While understanding the greenhouse gas emissions associated with travel is important, it is equally important to consider the personal, local, or global benefits of travel. Travel can accelerate learning and research that advances the global conversation and understanding of climate change or be combined with service projects that enrich local communities. Travel can also be an integral part of the UW–Madison learning experience extending the Wisconsin Idea across the world.