The Times’s Travel Desk Takes a Step to Offset Its Contribution to Climate Change

The concern of journey and local weather change has been on my thoughts since I grew to become The New York Times’s journey editor final 12 months. I began on Travel simply as we had been placing collectively the annual “52 Places to Go” listing and as we had been selecting the brand new 52 Places Traveler, who will get on a airplane (quite a few planes, really) and visits every of these locations in the middle of the 12 months.

This 12 months, Sebastian Modak has been submitting his dispatches from far-flung locations, together with some, like Puerto Rico and the ice caves of Ontario, chosen partially to spotlight the results of local weather change on our world.

Several weeks in the past, the Travel desk revealed an article asking this query: If Seeing the World Helps Ruin It, Should We Stay Home? In it, Andy Newman, a Times reporter, grappled with how a lot one individual’s journey selections contribute to international warming, and the information was not good. According to scientists’ calculations, a individual’s share of the emissions on a one-way, cross-country flight from New York to Los Angeles shrinks the Arctic’s summer time sea ice cowl by three sq. meters, or 32 sq. toes.

In his article, Andy wrote that whereas he wasn’t going to cease touring, he was going to begin shopping for carbon offsets when he flew. The thought is that by buying offsets you assist fund initiatives that scale back the quantity of carbon within the environment by an quantity equal to the carbon burned by your exercise.

The article generated intense curiosity amongst readers, with greater than 860 feedback on our web site and extra dialogue on social media.

Some thanked Andy for his article and for tackling the problem. Others criticized his choice to purchase carbon offsets, saying that they had been too little, too late, or mentioned that specializing in the person traveler lets carbon-polluting industries and the governments that haven’t performed sufficient to curb carbon emissions off the hook. Some additionally took broader goal on the thought of merely writing about journey in any respect, saying that we had been encouraging readers to participate within the destruction of the planet.

Their feedback amplified points now we have been speaking about right here.

But journey additionally has advantages. It gives financial sources and jobs for individuals, usually in locations the place there are few different prospects. For vacationers themselves, there may be the delight and magic of discovery, one thing we on the Travel desk attempt to share with our readers each day. And whereas there are options to flying, not each place may be reached by climate-friendlier means.

We will proceed to cowl journey, however from right here on, the Travel desk goes to offset airplane journey by employees members on task, mainly our 52 Places Traveler and the reporter Tariro Mzezewa. We will be using the platform Cool Effect, which helps travelers fund carbon-mitigation projects across the globe, like planting trees in Africa and India, putting up wind turbines in Costa Rica and creating cleaner cookstoves for use in China.

Reporters on all of The Times’s desks travel for work, but the Travel desk is slightly different. We don’t have to fly to the scene of an earthquake or a fire or to where the fighting is taking place in a remote theater of war. We are choosing to travel to bring back stories that can encourage others to take similar journeys. We are acknowledging that by committing to buying offsets for our staff.

It is, I know, a small gesture. But it’s a start.

I’m eager to keep this conversation going with our readers. Please share your thoughts in the comments; I’ll be reading.

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