Our Footprint - Every trip we make has an impact on the planet.
It is a tragic truth that our love for travel is fueling the demise of the places that we love so much. I have visited the Alps every year for 20 years and I have watched the glaciers receding. Each winter in Scotland I have seen the change in the snow line and the increased ferocity of the storms that pass through. Each summer I have seen the increased flooding caused by summer storms in the UK and worried about the increased rockfall in the Alpine mountains. I have spent several years worrying about the impact “we” are having but I haven’t actually done much about it.
It is too easy to think that my actions don’t count. I am too small to make a difference.
The Coronavirus Pandemic has caused me to stop and look at my lifestyle, to examine what is important and to ask myself what I believe in. It has given me time to think, to hit a re-set button and time to plan to make some changes.
Every trip we make has an impact and yet the greater our understanding and appreciation of the natural world the more likely we are to want to protect it.
How I am making change
Often the biggest impact of our adventures will be in how we get there and back, and I am working to always reduce the emissions of transport.
Flying is the obvious target and that’s why we’ve stopped our long haul international trips. Take Nepal as an example, where my flights alone would emit about seven times more greenhouse gases than the average Nepali does in a whole year. If I choose to take public transport to the Alps instead, I could have gone there and back twenty-three times for the equivalent emissions. With such amazing mountain adventures within driving or train distances in the UK and Europe, it’s really hard to justify the flights every year.
Closer to home, it’s tempting to just jump in the car, but that comes with a cost too: 290g CO2e per mile on average. Sharing a ride with friends can save both money and the planet, and we encourage that on all our courses.
For those travelling to us, taking a train and bus is even better. If you’re coming from London, for example, you can reduce your emissions by about 80% by choosing public transport over driving, and it can be cheaper too.
You can also offset your emissions with organisations like Gold Standard for as little as £8 per tonne, but we need to reduce our energy consumption in the first place.
So what am I doing about it? Here is a summary of my changes for 2021:
- I am no longer going to be running expeditions that involve long haul flights.
- From 2021 I am reducing the number of overseas trips that I run and will only run new trips to places that I can get to via train or car. I will encourage my clients to do the same and setup a forum for travel sharing and accommodation sharing. (I have a trip to Arctic Norway in February that is already booked and so will run. I will offset this trip as a best effort compromise)
- I have replaced my diesel van with a used hybrid car to reduce my carbon footprint for local journeys.
- My electricity is provided by “green energy” using renewables.
- I aim to generate enough income to provide for the needs of my family whilst still meeting the needs of the planet, adopting Kate Raworths Doughnut model for economic sustainability.
- I have set up a forum for clients to be able to get in touch in advance of joining a course or trip so that they can share travel plans and accommodation. This will allow people to reduce costs as well as their carbon footprint
- I am buying “less stuff”.
I will take a leaf out of Huw’s book and repair kit rather than replacing it where I can. 🙂
Clearly this is an evolving picture. Over time I will review what I am doing and why, I will learn lessons along the way and I will put them into practise. I look at other people who are way ahead of me. I educate myself on the environmental pitfalls of the life that I lead – I recognise that it’s all about compromise. My hybrid car is an attempt to choose a lesser evil – travel is polluting whatever we use but we can all aim for a carbon neutral society. I will update this page periodically and I welcome ideas and advice along the way.