Holiday Traveling

12.01.2014 · Posted in Uncategorized

Every holiday season many Americans travel all over the country to visit relatives and friends . It is important to realize the impact we are putting on each of our carbon footprints and the carbon footprint of our country and world as a whole. When making a long distance trip this year we can evaluate the impact of our carbon footprint of different modes of transport including automobiles, planes, trains and even public transportation.

Automobiles have the most impact on our carbon footprint. Especially in urban areas, the CO2 emissions made from cars is extremely plentiful. When looking at the graph provided by Slightline we can see that cars will emit 1.6 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere per every mile driven. This is the highest among all modes of transportation.

Low Carbon Transportation

There are two main alternitives to cut down on the amount of CO2 emissions produced by cars for people traveling. The first way to cut back is to carpool, or even better vanpool. The higher amount of people that will travel together with will produce a much lesser amount of CO2 than if many individuals or  small groups took their own vehicles. This would be furthered by if you could take a van or larger vehicle to carry the most amount of people possible. SUV’s and larger vehicles do have a larger impact on the environment but if you can fit many more people into them it has less of an impact overall.

A second alternative to using an automobile is to use an electric automobile or a hybrid. These hybrid vehicles have much less of an environmental impact because the car itself is not burning as much of the fossil fuel. However there is a catch. Because of the fact that all of our electricity is not produced from a renewable resource the carbon footprint is not actually reduced when using a hybrid. Most of America’s electricity is created by the burning of coal, and to do this will impact the carbon footprint. Until all of our electricity is created by sources like wind, sun, and movement of water, hybrid cars and electric vehicles are not actually having much change on the carbon footprint.

One of the other main ways of traveling far distances is by airplane.  Using an airplane is at about 1 pound of CO2 per passenger mile. This is less than that of a car but it is still a very large impact on the carbon footprint because the long distances that planes actually travel.  If you plant a tree, the entire life of that tree will eventually cancel out the impacts of carbon footprint from one plane ride. So if every passenger were to plant a tree to combat the carbon footprint effects of the flight it would have an enormous impact on decreasing the carbon emissions in our atmosphere.

Be smart about your traveling decisions this holiday season, and if you are going on a long trip, plant a tree to combat the effects of the carbon footprint.

http://www.slightline.org/research/graphics/climate-co2bymode/

 

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