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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.
I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps. See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Friday, 27 April 2007

Can you offset flights?

Nicola, Pete, Lola and Nell want to travel the world with a difference. We hope to get a taste of loads of countries without adding to climate change (with needless emissions from aeroplanes) or having to waste hours of holiday time in airport terminals. We hope our adventures inspire you to take a Grand Tour of your neighbourhood. This post is from Nicola.

The new trend for offsetting your carbon emissions by planting trees or donating a couple of quid to a worthy project cannot salve the jump in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that each plane trip will bring to your yearly total. It's better not to get on a plane than to pay a sop at take off time. Here's why. If we are trying to reduce our CO2 emissions planes rack up the figures. For example an average household will clock up about 10 tonnes (!) of CO2 emissions in a year - but with a bit of thought/planning (see ideas 1-3 below) it's not difficult to half this amount. Apparently even the boffin members of the Royal Society of Arts are all promising to aim for five tonne annual totals, good on them).

There's a few people that reckon carbon offsetting is a ridiculous concept designed for money wasters. I do too and for that reason adore a fab website that sends up the carbon offsetting idea beautifully. At http://www.cheatneutral.com you can "offset" your dating indiscretions - or choose to get paid for not having a boyfriend or girlfriend. Already more than 60,000 people have signed up as cheaters/singletons, which just shows how irresistible the allure of offsetting is at the moment...

If we really want a solution for sorting out climate change then the answer is not to be part of the problem. Stay away from flights and offset fees.

Tackling climate change needs political will, of course, but people also need to:
1) sort out the energy needs of your home
2) hang the car keys out of reach occasionally and
3) get to know your bus stop, train station and (London travellers only) get an oyster card.
First homeschooling challenge will be to get the kids to be marketing gurus and think up a snappier anti-plane phrase for use on tickets (just like the warnings on cigarette packets) while we are on one of our longer train trips...

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