Traveling can create quite the conundrum for anyone who wants to be a good citizen of the world.
On the one hand, getting out of your comfort zone and seeing other cultures, countries, and ways of life is imperative to your general understanding of the human condition. On the other hand, flying, driving, or doing pretty much anything other than walking to see said cultures, countries, and ways of life can leave a pretty toxic carbon footprint.
So what’s a well-meaning world traveler to do? While some airlines offer a carbon-offset donation to your airfare, sometimes in a rush to jump on a great travel deal you may forget. Or fly an airline that doesn’t offer one. But tour behemoth Intrepid Travel has a new approach, offering you a way to cancel your carbon emissions without even having to think about it.
Its new Offset Earth program allows you to make a recurring monthly donation for as little as $6.50, which goes toward planting trees in the Kijabe Forest in Kenya.
Trees, in case you’re not up on photosynthesis, breathe in carbon dioxide and exhale fresh oxygen, essentially the opposite of humans and more or less the only reason anyone on this planet can breathe. The more trees, the more oxygen, and the less harmful carbon dioxide from planes, trains, and automobiles in the air.
As a bonus, Intrepid will match your trees planted tree for tree. So for the base amount of $6.50, you’ll pay for the planting of 12 trees, which then becomes 24 when Intrepid matches it.
The trees will all be planted in the forest near Nairobi as part of the Eden Reforestation Projects. You don’t need to take any trips with Intrepid to subscribe, but if you want to visit your trees, the company will be running a few Kenya itineraries with stops in Kijabe.
Though the subscription service is a valuable step, Intrepid CEO James Thornton admits it’s but a small part of what travelers must do to act more sustainably.
“Carbon offsetting is a way to limit our damage while we explore new technologies to reduce our emissions globally,” he said. “But to make a real difference, we must all collectively work towards meaningful reduction strategies in our everyday lives.”
So while Offset Earth may not be the be-all, end-all solution to the conundrum of travel’s environmental impact, at least it’s doing something to help mitigate the damage. And for those who believe the good of seeing the world outweighs the impact of jet engines, it’s a painless way to minimize your impact.