Even the most Earth-conscious among us struggle to stay ‘green’ when it comes to travel. The only thing that stands between us and the sunny beaches of our dream holiday destination is a few hours on an airplane, and plenty of harmful co2 emissions. The impact of air travel on the environment can be difficult to reconcile. However, the importance of travel – the value of experiencing the Earth’s beauty first-hand – shouldn’t be dismissed.
Fortunately, many operators within the industry continue to look for ways to reduce the impact of global travel on the environment. Holiday companies are now promoting ecotourism, and an increasing number of airports are adopting greener practices.
Large international airports function like mini cities and, just like with a city, seemingly small eco-positive changes go a long way toward reducing the population’s overall carbon footprint. Let’s take a look at some of the airports that are leading the way:
Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, USA
Constructed in May 2010, this Florida airport benefited from being the first international airport built in the United States in over a decade. Architects and engineers knew it would be looked to as the future of airport design and the building’s green credentials were important from the get-go. It was built with recycled materials, automated lighting/faucets were installed throughout and the entire building is designed to use natural light whenever possible.
Boston Logan Airport, USA
One of the world’s busiest airports, Boston’s Logan International was the first US airport to use recycled materials for its runways. The building itself is also made from recycled, locally-sourced materials, and it’s fitted with efficient plumbing and lighting systems throughout. Airport employees are also encouraged to be green, with many using public transport for their commute.
Image: By EandJsFilmCrew used under creative commons license: Boston, Logan Airport
East Midlands Airport, UK
In 2006, this small UK airport set the goal of being carbon neutral by 2012. After investing £4 million into the project, the airport announced in April 2012 that it had reached its goal. Contributing to its sustainable practices is its 26 hectare on-site willow farm, which produces fuel for a bio-mass boiler in the terminal. It also has two on-site wind turbines, which produce 5% of the airport’s electricity
So, while the eco-minded individual may struggle to come to terms with the inevitable impact of global travel, it’s assuring to know that the industry is adapting. With a solar powered airplane now making its way across the US and an increase in supporting ecotourism plus green airports, the future looks a lot brighter for the environmentally friendly traveller.