In other articles I‘ve talked about the negative impacts of tourism, and we know that getting zero impact is near impossible.
What can we do?
First, we must become aware of the impact we generate with our activity, and then, we can establish compensation measures.
What does it mean to compensate?
The definition in Cambridge dictionary is “to provide something good or useful in place of something or to make someone feel better about something that has failed or been lost or missed”.
How we can measure the impact?
An easy way to measure it, is calculating the carbon footprint, which is the direct and indirect CO2 emission of a certain activity. However, it can’t be the only way to calculate the impact because as we know, tourism has other ways of impacting the local community and environment, for example consuming water or generating waste.
Is compensation the solution?
One day, a manager of a big company told me that if you take actions to compensate for the environmental impacts, you are acknowledging that your activity is causing bad consequences to the environment, and that’s bad for the company image. I think it isn’t true. In my opinion, when we know the impacts we become aware of them, and then we can decide the next step: Do nothing or make a commitment; and when we commit, it’s inevitable to take action. Therefore, compensating for the ecological footprint makes us better and more mature people/companies. We know that by planting trees we’re not eliminating all of the emissions we generated during our flight, but it will make us become more aware of our acts.
How can we compensate our ecological footprint as travelers?
There are some initiatives to compensate our impacts, for example, in some website flights you can calculate the emissions of your flight and then put some euros for a compensation action.
Do we have to compensate for our travel footprint?
I think that every person has to make the decision after knowing the impacts of their travels. In any case, the weight of compensation doesn’t have to fall on the traveler’s shoulders entirely; the tourist agents also have to take actions to compensate for their business activity.
If you want to travel to Catalonia and want to know the impacts of your trip, I propose that you integrate the ecological footprint compensation during the route you do. Email me and tell me your questions about that. You won’t get a diploma, but you will get the personal satisfaction of knowing that you’re doing a good deed for you and for the environment.
What do you think about that? Have you ever compensated your travel impacts? I want to read your comments!