Long distance flights and sustainability – are they compatible?
To be completely honest: No. But things are not as simple as that. We all know that long distance flights pose a serious risk to the environment due to their high carbon dioxide emissions. And the situation is getting worse: Since 1950, the number of internationally traveling tourists has increased from 25 million to 1,2 billion according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). So, should we never again board an airplane? This would not solve the problem, either. For, many countries depend on the income from tourism. If the money is invested sensibly, it can be a benefit for the environment, the economy and the people. So after all, there are ways to compensate for the negative impact at least in part. We want to give you a few examples of what you can do.
Carbon offset projects
Several organisations such as myclimate und atmosfair offer to provide a counterbalance for the carbon dioxide emissions through climate projects. If you chose a sustainable hotel at your destination as well, you can contribute even more to a positive development and sometimes even take action yourself.
Environmental protection from the earliest age
Knowledge is everything. That is why the organization Greenkidz on Curaçao arranges workshops, in which school children learn a lot about their native land and its nature, about recycling and how to avoid plastic. At the annual “Curaçao Clean-up” 600 children head out to remove litter from the island. The Morena Eco Resort does not only support the organization financially, but it also takes an active part in the project. For example, during a workshop by employees of the Morena Eco the children from the “adopted” school transform alleged garbage into little pieces of art.
Pack for a purpose
The Chumbe Island Coral Park also supports the education of pupils. On its initiative the pristine coral island with its extraordinary biodiversity has been declared a nature sanctuary. Now, the Chumbe Island Coral Park organizes one-day excursions for schools in Zanzibar to convey knowledge about the environment, as this does not have a place in the regular curriculum, and to encourage them to get in direct contact with nature, for example by means of snorkeling courses. As guests of one of the Chumbe Island Coral Park’s seven eco-bungalows you can do your bit by leaving your snorkel mask on site or by bringing further material that is urgently needed. (You can find the “Pack for a purpose” list here.)
It is often difficult for small schools in secluded places to get public funds, and sometimes there is not enough money for school meals. That is why the Zeavola Resort on Phi Phi Island donates three US Dollar per overnight stay to the nearby Baan Laem Tong elementary school. On Fridays, the pupils can look forward to having a special lunch. On these days the staff comes to the school and cooks for the children: soup, main course, dessert and lemonade. As guests of the Zeavola Resort you can take part in the project, for example by helping with the food distribution – this also gives you a brief insight into everyday life on the island.
Coral hospital in the Maldives
You can get directly involved in environmental protection in the Gili Lankanfushi in the Maldives. Coral reefs belong to the most endangered ecosystems in the world. For this reason the resort has founded the Coral Lines Project in association with marine biologists. The ocean experts grow coral pieces on ropes in deeper stretches of water and subsequently transplant them onto the reef of Gili Lankanfushi to keep it intact in the long run. Here, you can not only learn a lot about this sensitive ecosystem, but also assist in attaching corals to the ropes. Afterwards, you can even watch the progress of “your” corals on the project’s website.
Reef cleanups on “Reethi Day”
You can also take part in efforts for the environment at the Reethi Beach Resort in the Maldives and at the same time learn a lot about the nature of the Baa Atoll – always on the 15th of every month on “Reethi Day”. For example you are welcome to help removing trash from an uninhabited island or to take part in one of the reef cleanups that are organized by the resort’s diving school. Moreover, in order to protect the ocean, the Reethi Beach Resort initiated an association of all the Atoll’s dive centers and resorts in 2007, the NGO BAARU (Baa Atoll Resorts United) – only one example of its achievements is the prohibition of shark fishing.