Hi from Rick: We're Planting 80,000 Trees
|Planting 80,000 trees will offset CO2 emissions from 13,000 round-trip flights to Europe — and help restore ecosystems.|
Travel is certainly healthy for our planet. It removes our cultural blinders, challenges our "self-evident truths" and builds people-to-people relationships that, two-by-two, add up to an important force for peace, justice and level-headed thinking in a world that sorely needs it.
But travel also takes its toll on our planet. If you want to go to Europe, you'll get there on jet fuel, releasing climate-changing CO2 into our atmosphere. Hopefully new technologies — and a government that's willing to provide the courageous and honest leadership that this challenge merits — will lead to greener mobility soon. In the meantime, we at Europe Through the Back Door are doing something today to help offset the CO2 generated by our tour members flying to Europe in 2008: we're planting 80,000 trees.
This week (after considering a wide array of options) we've donated $80,000 to American Forests to plant 80,000 trees for us. Why 80,000? In its lifetime, each tree, on average, will absorb 1/6 of the CO2 generated by one person flying round-trip from the USA to Europe. Six trees multiplied by about 13,000 tour members in a year requires 80,000 new trees. American Forests will be planting these trees in regions that have been deforested due to fires, storms, diseases, and other natural disasters. In addition to the global-warming benefits, these new trees will greatly improve the local ecosystems where they are planted.
As a result, when you take one of our tours in 2008, you can rest assured that your trip will be as carbon-neutral as possible...based on what we know today. I know this is just a first step. If you have other ideas to help us travel greener, we'd love to hear from you. Please check out our new travelers' forum at www.ricksteves.com/greentrip.
And don't forget the latest edition of Tour News, where this month's special focus is on fast-changing Eastern Europe. You'll find a bunch of interesting articles, itinerary comparisons, TV show scripts, interviews and radio podcasts featuring our talented Eastern European guides. My research last month in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia has freshly reminded me of how eye-opening travel can be...and needs to be. In three days I fly to Copenhagen for more of the same. (Stow-aways are welcome via my ricksteves.com blog.)
Thanks for traveling with us.