In my travels, I keep seeing examples of how our aggressive, high-powered, corporate-driven society is just accepting the reality that the climate is changing. Flood gates (like this one in Portsmouth) are being built on streets that never needed them before, in anticipation of storm surges becoming more common and more damaging.
Last month, Germany — a land with very little air-conditioning because, until now, it hasn’t been needed — suffered through record-breaking heat. It’s been sticking around: They’ve had 30 days in a row of 90-to 100-degree weather. I’ve been told that river cruise travelers are angered that, with rivers so low in Germany, they are abandoning parked boats and bussing three hours to promised sights. Gardens in Italy are being ripped up by freak hailstorms. In my personal world, the Iditarod dog race in Alaska that my sister participates in has become an annual rocky slog — even with a course that has been relocated to find some snow. And my family’s cabin retreat in Washington’s Cascade Mountains is threatened by persistent forest fires.
When it comes to global climate change, we travelers — who burn fossil fuels with every intercontinental flight and bus tour — are contributing to the problem. I am determined to grapple with the consequences of climate change by finding a way to make those who travel with Rick Steves’ Europe Tours in 2016 carbon-neutral…or better.
Assuming you care about climate change, how can a jet-setting traveler explore the world in a carbon-neutral way? I’d love some advice.