Sweating About Our Carbon Footprint

Each year we take 20,000 Americans to Europe on Rick Steves Europe Tours and more than a million Rick Steves guidebooks are printed and sold. In other words, inspiring so many people to cross the Atlantic makes me a huge contributor to global warming.

Rick Steves with "Hottest Day Ever" newspaperAs a company, we want to find a smart way to help our travelers be carbon neutral. We could buy carbon offsets for each transatlantic flight and we could support groups (such as the Union of Concerned Scientists) that advocate for governmental policies that are smart in regard to climate change.

This challenge has frustrated me for a long time. Do you simply throw money at some charity to assuage your carbon-footprint guilt (which might be squandered by a company just cashing in on these environmental concerns) or can you help fund work that really makes a difference? I wish there was a rock-solid assurance that if you fly to Europe and give money to xxx, then you’ll truly be a carbon-neutral flier.

If you were running my tour company, what would you do? Thanks.