While it may be hard to fathom this now, as we’re in the doldrums of winter, but a new study has found that 2014 was the hottest year in earth’s recorded history, according to leading scientists. Last year beat the previous alarming record by surpassing 2010’s terrifyingly warm temperatures. According to NYTimes: “Extreme heat blanketed Alaska and much of the western United States last year. Several European countries set temperature records. And the ocean surface was unusually warm virtually everywhere except around Antarctica, the scientists said, providing the energy that fueled damaging Pacific storms.” NASA adds: “Since 1880, Earth’s average surface temperature has warmed by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius), a trend that is largely driven by the increase in carbon dioxide and other human emissions into the planet’s atmosphere. The majority of that warming has occurred in the past three decades.”
After the jump find out 11 ways to travel greener!
1. Before leaving home, make sure to turn off the heat or set it on its lowest setting. Turn off and unplug all electronic appliances. Make sure all faucets are completely turned off.
2. Pack light. (The heavier something is, the more resources it burns reaching its final destination.)
3. Pack a small canvas bag or two to avoid disposable bags when you shop.
4. Avoid disposable water bottles. Bring your own water bottle and water filter. (According to a 2001 report of the World Wide Fund for Nature, roughly 1.5 million tons of plastic are expended in the bottling of 89 billion liters of water each year.)
5. Take public transportation whenever possible. (It’s a great way to save money, see more sights, and meet the locals).
6. Pick up at least one piece of litter every day – especially at national tourist locations which are vulnerable to huge tourist populations.
7. Wherever you travel, express your interest, encouragement, and concern about companies’ environmental efforts through comment cards to the businesses that you patronize.
8. Take only the brochures or maps that are necessary, and pass along your used maps or guides to other travelers when you leave.
9. Find out how recycling works in the country you’re visiting and make sure to use it!
10. Purchase souvenirs that are lightweight and small, locally produced from locally owned businesses, and made from sustainable materials.
11. Fly economy. We all love traveling in style and comfort, but remember, flying business or first class leaves an enormous carbon footprint. According to our friends atTheGuardian, “Purely in terms of physical space…flying first class on BA gives you a footprint around 5.5 times larger than that of an economy passenger, with a business seat clocking in at 3.5 times the economy option. If you must fly business, there is a solution. Log onto TerraPass, calculate your carbon footprint, and donate to a local green organization to offset this. Hopefully more airports will follow San Francisco’s lead.