Cassie Meakin, the Hokies Abroad marketing intern, writes:
When I arrived home from studying abroad in Australia and New Zealand this past summer, I knew my lifestyle needed to change if I wanted to maintain the beautiful ecosystems that had changed my life. While abroad, I witnessed firsthand the impacts the human race’s carbon footprint has left on earth, including coral bleaching and deforestation.
One of our professors Dr. Jim Haynes calculated our class’ carbon footprint while in New Zealand, and it’s safe to say the large number was unnerving. Even the smallest things we do have a ripple effect that immensely affects the environment. Luckily for us, we can take certain steps to counteract our impact!
One particular course of action to help reduce your carbon footprint is to fly carbon neutral. For any jetsetter, this green step can be particularly useful. Carbon neutral flying can neutralize or offset your flight emissions each time you fly. The money you donate goes to environmental efforts on carbon projects.
If you’re headed on an AUIP program to the South Pacific, you’ll likely be flying on Qantas or Air New Zealand, which both have options to fly carbon neutral. Qantas provides their Fly Carbon Neutral program, meanwhile Air New Zealand has their Air New Zealand Environment Trust.
Individuals and businesses can also calculate their overall footprints from all lifestyle actions and offset them via Climate Friendly. Climate Friendly even has popular carbon offset packages in case you aren’t sure what your exact footprint is.
Above all, educate others! Education is the key to conservation. By taking personal action on climate change and spreading your knowledge, you can make a difference.