The end of the year is a good time to take stock of your impact. Have you improved yourself? Have you done well by others around you? As a digital nomad it’s important to ask more: What has your impact been on the planet? On the countries you touched?
With great travel comes great responsibility!
Tomer and I decided we wanted to look for a way to balance our amazing experiences and any negative environmental impact they have had. To do so, we used this nifty site called Cool Effect. They make it pretty easy to calculate.
24 flights avg 4.5 hours.
$76.83 = 9.37 Tonnes carbon. (1 Tonne carbon offset= $8.20)
Do this for 2 people = 18.67 Tonnes carbon, therefore $153.60
The Cool Effect group supports several different projects that offset carbon emissions, many with a positive cultural and environmental impact by providing work in poorer areas. We are happy to pay our share.
While visiting South Africa we booked an amazing excursion sea kayaking with penguins at The Shark Warrior Adventure Center. They are a non profit environmental organisation and all of their profits go directly back into conservation and environmental education projects such as SWIM LIKE A SHARK project, which teaches disadvantaged children to swim. Our excursion was fantastic and very educational. It was just Tomer and I, two guides, and lots of adorable penguins. Our lead guide was incredibly well versed in all things environmental. We learned about seaweed farming and how it can pull more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than any tree can. Because of climate change penguin fishing areas keep getting farther and farther away from their colonies, and these little guys swimming under our kayaks were returning from a 50 mile swim. We were very happy with our experience and were happy to donate additional funds so that this organisation can continue to do great things for South Africa. Also did you know penguins look like ducks when they are swimming?? 🐧
Tomer and I with Penguins!
We are also actively looking for charities in countries whose economy we had the upper hand on this year. We find ourselves walking past homeless people and we realise we can’t hand out money constantly, it’s just not sustainable. Instead, we have found some charities to donate to this year. Here are a few charities we are happy to contribute to:
The Save the Children - India group targets many ways to help Indian children, from giving medical care, education, or orphan care, to giving families farm animals such as chickens or goats. We chose to help India because out of everywhere we went we found India to be the most devastating. The poverty there is heart-breaking and constant, and children asking for food is what hit us the hardest. Everywhere you look, you see people laying in the streets dehydrated and hungry, and women with babies begging. I had an amazing time in India but no part of me was unaffected by the way children were living. I kept looking and thinking, why aren’t you in school, how is this still possible in 2019?
The Food Forward South Africa group works with local food producers, farmers, and wholesalers to redistribute to those in need. So many of which are black and still suffering from the historical oppression of aparthide. I personally found myself in tears every time I left the supermarket and saw young boys begging for food. They don’t ask for money or candies/sweets - they just want food. You could see how tired and hungry they all were. I walked out of the supermarket with snacks and as many fresh fruits as I could find handing them out to all of them. When we were leaving and had some leftover tinned foods we made sure to give it to them. Like all charity, it’s a tiny drop in the bucket, that’s why donating to sustainable charities which can start to fix the problems, not just the symptoms, is so important.
We are humbled by our experiences this past year, and even though we’ve given back we know we can never do enough. But we’re going to keep trying. Happy sustainable travels and happy New Year’s!Written on December 31st , 2019 by Michelle McKenna