How to offset your holiday emissions
Great Divide Tours is accredited with Ecotourism Australia. Being a member of Ecotourism Australia is not only the payment of a membership fee each year, it imposes certain requirements on the tourism operator. Requirements designed to protect you and also to protect the planet.
The conduct of four wheel drive tours such as those offered by Great Divide Tours could be seen by some as being harmful to the environment. However, it is fair to say that for the vast majority of the population it would simply be impossible for them to see the areas we visit if a four wheel drive was not used. I’m sure that none of us wish to harm the environment whilst enjoying our holiday but there are others in this world who believe our very action of driving a four wheel drive is creating harm. From what I have read there are many more forms of holiday that will have a far larger carbon footprint and impact on the environment than our use of our chosen means of transport, the four wheel drive.
Having said this there are many things that we can all do to reduce our environmental impact whilst on holidays and this paper is designed to help you offset your emissions whilst participating in one of our fabulous 4WD tag-along tours.
Here are a few ideas:-
For starters by choosing to take a holiday that involves driving rather than flying you have immediately reduced your impact on the environment.
Whilst on the holiday only use the vehicle when it is absolutely necessary, if you can walk to the shops do so, if you can walk to the lookout, do so, and don’t leave the motor running for extended periods when not moving. If we stop for a view or observe an animal switch off your engine and save a few litres of fuel. Don’t run your engine just to keep the heater going to make the kids warm, get them to play chasings instead and allow their own body heat to warm them up.
Don’t over use your air conditioning whilst driving, the air conditioner reduces your fuel economy and it is not necessary to have the air conditioning running all the time. Adjust the vehicles temperature gauge to provide you with heating or cooling and when stationery wind down a window and switch off your engine.
Don’t leave the children in the car, it is actually against the law and whilst you are enjoying a lookout or historic site are they really learning anything from the cartoons they are watching on their DVD player?
When packing your vehicle do your best to keep large objects off the roof rack, a roof rack will increase your vehicle’s fuel consumption.
When driving use economic driving techniques to conserve fuel. Experiment with your cruise control when on long straight roads getting to the start of the trip or returning home. You may find that the cruise control will return better fuel economy than your driving style.
Fast acceleration or sharp braking will reduce your fuel economy, be conservative with your throttle application and plan ahead. Use your gears, even in an automatic to reduce speed and then accelerate away without over revving the engine, always be smooth.
Generators are not to be used on our tours, they are noisy and consume fuel when alternatives are available. Use solar powered batteries and have an auxiliary battery fitted to your vehicle for lighting and fridge operation. Switch off unwanted/unnecessary camp lights when in camp, when we are sitting around the camp fire switch off your camp lights so we can all enjoy the night sky, this will also reduce your carbon footprint.
Tyre pressures are important and you should adjust your tyre pressures to suit the conditions, a tyre that is prematurely destroyed due to over inflation adds to landfill.
When you get home you can continue to offset your holiday emissions, look at how little water you needed for washing and cooking whilst in the outback, now look at how much water you waste when at home, apply some of your newly acquired water saving practices all the time and not just on holidays.
Switch off unnecessary lights at home, play games with the children instead of allowing them to watch TV or DVD’s, buy a bike and go for a ride on the weekend, wear a jumper if cold rather than turn up the air conditioner, open a window to create a draught if you are hot rather than cooling the whole house with the air conditioner.
Buy a tree or shrub and put it in your garden for every trip you take with GDT. If you don’t have a garden then plant it at the GDT 4WD training facility we have started our holiday tree planting garden.
There are hundreds of ways you can help offset your holiday emissions the ones listed here are achievable and you can start doing them from the day you leave home.
If you want more information on how to offset your holiday emissions just google it, there are hundreds of ideas out there.