Rough Guides is launching a new feature on its website at roughguides.com to encourage responsibility in air travel.Climate change is a serious threat to the ecosystems that all life relies upon, and air travel the fastest-growing contributor to the problem.
All Rough Guides’ staff and authors’ travel is now “climate neutral” -achieved by offsetting the relevant carbon emissions by making payments to carbon offset schemes that invest the money in indigenous reafforestation and initiatives to reduce energy demands.
Mark Ellingham, the founder of Rough Guides, said: “Travel, overall, is a global benefit, and it offers huge advantages to developing economies as well as the benefits of social contact between peoples. But we are keenly aware of the role that responsible travel information can play in tackling the issue of climate change. I believe we should encourage our readers, and by extension airlines and governments, to treat the issue with the gravity it demands. As well as the website, we’re putting a page about climate change into every Rough Guide, and our friends at Lonely Planet are doing exactly the same.”
One person taking a return flight between Europe and California produces approximately 2.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide gas - roughly equivalent to the yearly output of the average car.
Mark Ellingham continued: “We have a responsibility to limit our personal impact on global warming, and that means giving thought to how often we fly, and what we can do to redress the harm that our trips create.”
Although some airlines are looking at new aircraft fuel developments, most are doing little to address the problem, or are even rejecting their responsibility entirely, as with Ryanair, whose CEO recently issued a statement that declared that concerns about climate change were nothing to do with him and said of those calling for a carbon tax on aviation fuel that it was his job “to annoy the *censored*ers” (Guardian, 3 Nov 2005).
To maximise our powers of persuasion, Rough Guides is joining forces with rival publishers Lonely Planet to press the issue home.