A new international study has pinpointed an enormous chasm in the amount of resources the rich use versus the poor — both within their own countries and compared to an international population, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Energy.
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- We can all take steps to reduce the environmental impact of our work-related travels.
- Individual actions — like the six described here — can cumulatively help prompt more collective changes, but it helps to prioritize by impact.
- As the saying goes: be the change you want to see in the world.
1. Travel With Trust<p>When looking for a place to stay, look for accommodations that utilize various sustainability standards. This may include facilities that use renewable energies or are a part of coalitions such as <a href="https://www.wemeanbusinesscoalition.org/" target="_blank">We Mean Business</a> that are striving to reduce waste in all aspects of their operations. Use the Global Sustainable Tourism Council's <a href="https://www.gstcouncil.org/gstc-criteria/gstc-recognized-standards-for-hotels/" target="_blank">list</a> of trusted standards used in different countries as a guide.</p>
2. Travel Light<p>Just like at home, traveling is an opportunity to think carefully about what you consume and how. Minimize your use of the mini toiletries at your hotel (most of which are being <a href="https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/9/19/20863270/tiny-plastic-toiletries-ban" target="_blank">phased out</a> since they are single-use, non-recyclable plastics). Reduce your overall water footprint by opting for "green choice" programs to reuse your towels and sheets during your stay. Better yet, leave a note saying you would like to see more package-free, sustainable purchasing in all of the hotel's operations! Take a step further by reducing or eliminating your own waste by bringing your own items, like a reusable coffee cup, water bottle and other utensils. (Foldable cups, bottles and utensils are ideal for most business baggage and are a great way to impress clients and colleagues.) More impactfully, change your dietary choices by opting for red meat-free or plant based meals.</p>
3. Travel Small<p>Whether flying, on the ground, or in your room, small is generally better. If you must fly, get better carbon savings by staying in economy. If you can't take a train or bus and need to take a car (taxi, ride-hailing, or otherwise) opt to pool, and look for a small hybrid, or ideally an electric vehicle (EV).</p>
4. Travel Slowly<p>Avoiding air travel all together is an impactful way to reduce your carbon emissions. Compared to most of our European counterparts, those of us in North America have a hard time getting a good train or bus; but Amtrak, VIA Rail, regional transit and bus services are improving and, throughout the world, many of these options are readily available. "<a href="https://www.impacttravelalliance.org/" target="_blank">Slow travel</a>" is gaining traction around the world and offers opportunities to travel not only with lower emissions, but more comfortably, too.</p>
5. Travel Regeneratively<p>Concepts like <a href="https://offset.climateneutralnow.org/" target="_blank">carbon offsetting</a> can be complex, but the principle behind them is simple: if we cannot avoid certain negative impacts in what we do, we must always search for ways to mitigate those impacts. To be fair, there are many valid and varied critiques of carbon offsets and other mechanisms like them. However, so long as air travel and other environmentally significant travel are options that cannot be avoided, negotiate with your employer to purchase carbon offsets as a meaningful way to help repair some of the damage we inflict while doing sometimes unavoidable work.</p>
6. Travel Carefully<p>The most important decision that someone who travels for work can make is whether or not they need to travel at all. Telecommuting isn't always ideal, but the energy associated with travel — particularly for high-income or high-ranking professionals — is immense and one has to really be able to make a clear rationale for why a particular trip matters. Use carbon calculators and have a clear sense of the metrics you're measured on, as to how this trip can contribute (or not) to your work.</p>
From Behavioral Change to Systems Change<p>As Millennials and Generation Z move into positions of greater authority in the workplace, it is incumbent on us to leave a better path for those who come next.</p><p>Many Global Shapers are starting to explore ways to embed sustainable travel in both our individual and organizational practices and we invite you — the reader — to <a href="mailto:%firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=6%20ways%20travelling%20professionals%20can%20cut%20their%20carbon%20footprint%20-%20Feedback" target="_blank">reach out to us</a> with any ideas and suggestions on our list. This could look like building a contractor or employment agreement for your job that explicitly mandates or supports sustainable travel. Better yet, use your conscientious travel as an opportunity to spark an organization-wide conversation about developing a sustainable travel policy.</p><p>In the end, the climate crisis and environmental challenges around the world require both individual and collective action. Global Shapers, and members of the World Economic Forum, are privileged, connected and prominent leaders. We cannot wait for policies or procedures to be in place before we start mobilizing for change, but rather we can and must leverage our positions in society to create the baseline of expectations for living in balance with the planet. As the old saying goes, we must be the change we wish to see in the world.</p>
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Arthur Sullivan
When was the last time you traveled by plane? Various researchers say as little as between 5 and 10 percent of the global population fly in a given year.
Not Just the CO2<p>Many estimates put aviation's share of global CO2 emissions at just above 2 percent. That's the figure the industry itself generally accepts.</p><p>But according to Stefan Gössling, a professor at Sweden's Lund and Linnaeus universities and co-editor of the book <em>Climate Change and Aviation: Issues, Challenges and Solutions</em>, "That's only half the truth."</p><p>Other aviation emissions such as nitrogen oxides (NOx), water vapor, particulates, contrails and cirrus changes have additional warming effects.</p>
New Tech Can't Solve Everything<p>As awareness of the need to reduce our individual and collective carbon footprints in order to prevent <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/2017-the-year-climate-change-hit/a-41944142" target="_blank">climate catastrophe</a> grows, several industries have come under sustained pressure to find clean solutions.</p><p>The aviation sector made its own promises — in October 2016, 191 nations agreed a UN accord which aims to cut global aviation carbon emissions to 2020 levels by 2035. Another ambitious target of that agreement is for the aviation industry to achieve a 50 percent carbon emission reduction by 2050, compared to 2005 levels.</p><p>Goater says there are four ways in which the aviation industry intends to achieve these things: through carbon offsetting in the short-term, the continued development of more efficient planes, deeper investment in <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/climate-friendly-air-travel-say-what/a-39549089" target="_blank">sustainable fuels</a> — such as biofuels — and through better route efficiency. </p><p>"Basically air traffic control is very inefficient," he explained. "It creates unnecessary fuel burns and more efficient use would create a 10 percent reduction in emissions."</p><p>He also highlights the fact that a number — albeit very few — of commercial flights are now powered with sustainable fuels every day, despite the fact that the first such flight took off less than a decade ago.</p><p>"That was something that happened much faster than anyone was expecting," he says. The key now, in his view, is for the industry to prioritize investment in the area and for governments to commit in the same way they have to<a href="https://www.dw.com/en/the-race-to-e-mobility/a-39954624" target="_blank"> e-mobility</a> in the automobile sector.</p><p>But Gössling and many of his peers remain unconvinced.</p>
The hard truth?<p>So what's to be done? Gössling, who has devoted more than 20 years of research to the subject, sees only one solution.</p><p>"Do we really need to fly as much as we do, or is the amount we fly induced by the industry?" he asked. In addition to artificially <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/unfair-competition-the-battle-between-high-speed-rail-and-low-cost-airlines/a-41716660" target="_blank">low airplane ticket prices,</a> the industry also promotes a lifestyle, he argued.</p><p>"Airline campaigns project an image where you can become part of a group of people who are young, urban frequent flyers, visiting another city every few weeks for very low costs," he said.</p><p>Yet for Goater, the idea of dictating who can fly and when is as unrealistic as it is outdated.</p>
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