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Compass Illustration

Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our age. If we want to fly halfway around the world on vacation, we need to acknowledge and honor this challenge.  We hike pristine trails, use public transport and support small local inns and restaurants, but we have a big carbon footprint, and it’s important to take a hard look at our own sustainability efforts and make a climate action plan.

A trip away can be just that, an escape, but it can also be a space for reflection, a time and place to become our best selves.

What Alpinehikers is doing

 

  • Measure. We measure our carbon emissions annually, since 2019, and have signed the United Nations Climate Neutral Now commitment.
  • Reduce. We are taking action to reduce our office footprint, from lowering the thermostat to buying renewable energy from our utility, through the APS Green Choice Plan.
  • Offset. We offset 110% of our emissions, including your flights, through investments in vetted carbon reducing projects. We calculate flights to Europe to be 80% of our annual emissions, so this is no small thing. But it’s the right thing. You can read more about our Carbon Neutral Pledge, and how we measure and offset.
  • Remove. We have also begun active removal of our office emissions through investments in projects like Climeworks and Project Vesta.  Check them out. There are some innovative ideas out there!
  • Learn. We support CREA Mont Blanc, a non-profit climate research group based in Chamonix, with donations for every client we send to Chamonix.  Check out their 10 minute primer on how climate change affects mountain ecology.
  • Adapt.  Plus we’ve developed great North American itineraries, for those who would like to stay closer to home. We love the Alps, but these places sure are nice too…

What you can do

 

  • Make it count. We’re going to have a footprint. We just are. Let’s make it worthwhile.
  • Reflect. Travel is the perfect time to pause, reflect and reassess priorities.  Our tours give you the space for this.
  • Travel Lightly. The Alps have great public transport, hiking trails, clean drinking water, and ecologically sound design.  Did you know, the average Swiss emits 3.5 times less CO2 than the average American (4.7 vs 16.5 tons/year)?  Yet they have it pretty good!
  • Fly Responsibly.  Not all flights are equal. Fuel efficiency has increased dramatically in newer planes, some routes are shorter, coach has a smaller footprint than business class, and there are many other factors.  And now, Google Flights and Skyscanner’s Greener Choice can help you choose a flight with a lower footprint. Try it.
  • Reduce, Offset, Remove. We’ve already offset your flights for you, but it doesn’t need to stop there.  Find joy in doing the right thing. Look for programs that deserve support, and support them.
  • Educate.  Learn about climate change and where we need to be better (Bill Gates wrote a great primer), think about how you want to respond, and please share your discoveries with us!

Travel is essential for rest and relaxation, to find fulfillment, or perhaps just to experience something new. We learn and expand our perspective through these experiences.

Tourism is responsible for about 8% of global travel emissions. It’s significant. Yet when Covid-19 slowed economies and basically shut down international travel for a year, worldwide emissions only dropped by about 5%.  The solution clearly extends beyond airplanes and solar panels.

We encourage you to travel enthusiastically and fully, but to also travel thoughtfully. The effects of climate change are on full display in the Alps. Since 1850, Switzerland’s glaciers have lost over 60% of their volume, which is easy to see in person. The Alps have seen temperatures climb approximately twice as fast as the world at large – a 2°C rise since pre-industrial times – and the effects are wide-ranging and ongoing, from the stresses on flora and fauna, to thawing permafrost and mountain instability, to the loss of fresh water and their potential for hydropower and agriculture. Communities throughout the Alps are on the forefront of these changes.

So please enjoy these beautiful places and this wonderful opportunity we have to travel and experience new cultures. Take it all in, experience what you can, enjoy the privilege and the wonder of travel. And please join us in working toward a happy, sustainable, healthy future for us all.

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