We are operating a universal ban on guilt for carbon emissions. We have all developed our lifestyles without knowing that CO2 was a problem, so there's no point giving ourselves a hard time about it. Awareness is the first step. Give yourself time to get a feel for the options and think ahead - within a year or two you'll find it easy to make low-carbon choices, and appreciate high carbon activities more. Whatever you want from a holiday there is a low carbon way of getting it, and it's often more fun.
If you're keen to reduce your emissions do it in bite size chunks. A good target is 4% reductions per year - this won't be a shock to your system. For example if you take four flights a year you might reduce to three flights and one trip to the continent by train. If you take one flight a year you might consider one flight every other year. If you want to go on an overseas odyssey you might crew on yachts for a leg or take a passenger berth on a cargo ship. And if you stay in the UK rather you can do some exciting activities such as skydiving or motor racing and still come out with a low holiday footprint.
Life is about satisfaction. Pay close attention to what really makes you feel good, happy and satisfied. Note which holidays have a positive effect on your life. Remember the ones on which you made lasting friendships and which ones you want do again. I have found that low carbon choices are more fun, more healthy and more satisfying. Perhaps you'll try some out!
I hope you enjoy the calculator,
There you have it, your holiday carbon emissions! To put this in context, UK living emits an average of 10 tonnes of CO2 per person per year (27kg per day). Holidays typically account for around 20% of lifestyle emissions. Enjoyment ratios are typically around 30 for air holidays, 200 for train holidays and 3,000 for cycle holidays.
I hope you enjoyed the calculator.
Mukti Mitchell, June 2009
Mukti Mitchell is a carpenter, sailor and author who lives by the sea in North Devon. He designed the Explorer zero-emission microyacht and sailed around Britain in 2007 to promote low carbon lifestyles, endorsed by HRH The Prince of Wales, Tony Blair, David Cameron and leading environmental figures. For more information visit www.lowcarbonlifestyle.org or www.mitchellyachts.co.uk.
If you would like to calculate your whole lifestyle carbon footprint, you can use Mukti Mitchell's on-line calculator at www.resurgence.org/energy - rated the most accurate and user friendly carbon calculator on-line.
Your comments and ideas are welcome and if you have activites you would like us to add to the calculator, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
All figures are per person.
Carbon figures are based on energy used during activites. Most studies to date do not include embodied energy of transport and devices used. We hope this information will become available soon!