Travelling is a wonderful experience and if you do it right your expenses will be a valuable contribution to the economy of a country which might not have much else to sell. Sleeping in small hotels, booking trips with small agencies and eating in small local restaurants will get your money where it is needed. However there are negative effects and above all every flight will cause harm to our atmosphere.
If you do not only want to live rich but also to travel ecologically you will have to compensate these effects. This is where the organisation atmosfair can help you and the atmosphere:
On their homepage you can calculate the amount of CO2 your flight has caused and you can make a donation that will be invested in projects which will save a corresponding amount of CO2.
Of course there are a couple of other organisations doing similar things but this one has been audited a number of times and it will really save the CO2 and not use most of your money for administration cost.
I am convinced that this is a good thing. All my more recent flights are "atmosfair" and I plan to buy off my older ones as well.
But if you are not only thinking about the negative effects of your long distance flights but also about the rest of your life you will realise that buying of your flights will not be enough to save our atmosphere. Here in Germany I can buy my electricity at a provider you does only produce sustainable. This helps to reduce the amount of CO2 but it is still much more than I should produce in order to avoid further global warming. Therefore I used I calculator on the web to find out how much CO2 I produce each year and I donated enough to save exactly this amount. Thus I can claim to be CO2-neutral since 2005. If you want to do the same you can try the Carbon Calculator of the British Government or just google "carbon calculator".
The whole thing might remind some of you of the historical selling of indulgences and yes, I’d say they are connected. It is a luxury and maybe arrogant to
sin (to fly or generate huge amounts of CO2 in other ways) and then to open the wallet and to pay the price. But I’d consider it a huge step if everyone would at least realize that he or she is "sinning" and would be willing to compensate the negative effects. In the special case of Atmosfair the money goes to regions where the people are less fortunate and it will, in addition to saving the CO2, become a contribution to their economy. Therefore I think that one can question the morality of paying of CO2 sins but not the results of doing so.
© Volker Umpfenbach