Today (22 April) is Earth Day, held annually since 1970 to demonstrate worldwide support for environmental protection. A wide range of events is co-ordinated by EarthDay.org, which says that as many as 1 billion people get involved – and the 2022 theme is “Invest In Our Planet”.
With that in mind, for scuba divers keen to travel to prime destinations but also concerned about leaving outsized carbon footprints, Sustainable Travel International (STI) has produced a free calculator for offsetting travel emissions.
STI says it believes its new online carbon-footprint calculator is the only one that covers liveaboard as well as commercial and charter flight and road-vehicle emissions. The US-based company says it has fostered environmentally and socially responsible travel for two decades by engaging governments, businesses and consumers in more than 100 destinations in sustainable practices.
“It’s those unparalleled experiences, like snorkelling over a colourful coral reef or sailing between towering ice-sheets, that make travel so fulfilling – but climate change puts all of this at risk,” says CEO Paloma Zapata.
“Travel is often viewed as part of the problem, when really it should be part of the solution. We believe that this new calculator has the potential to stimulate climate action by channelling investment to projects that pave the way for a net-zero future.”
According to research conducted by Booking.com, the Covid-19 pandemic shifted travellers’ mindset to the extent that 69% of them are now committed to reducing or offsetting their carbon footprint.
Users enter into the calculator their travel plans, such as round-trip flights with a seven-day liveaboard safari, and their carbon footprint is instantly calculated, along with the amount needed to purchase carbon offsets. This is given in dollars, although STI says that overseas credit cards can be used for payment.
The amounts sent to STI are used to fund carbon-reduction projects around the world, such as forest conservation and clean energy initiatives “scientifically proven” to mitigate climate change. (Or the equivalent amount could be donated directly to an environmental charity of the traveller’s own choice.)
STI says that it vets all projects to ensure that they meet rigorous environmental standards, and supports only high-quality initiatives that contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
To coincide with Earth Day, STI has also released an embeddable version of the calculator to allow travel businesses to offer carbon offsets directly from their own websites. Try out its calculator here.