Green flyer: tips for minimising your carbon footprint in the sky

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

AS the world’s most isolated capital city, Perth residents face the prospect of a three-hour flight just to visit our nearest state capital.

Simply put, we are a city of seasoned flyers – especially in recent years, as the price of air travel has lowered to such an extent that a trip to Europe for a holiday is no longer the preserve of the well-off.

But anyone who really cares for the environment will wrestle with their conscience when it comes to travel.

BBC TV presenter Liz Bonnin is no different.

The trained biologist and biochemist, who has carved out a career reporting on worldwide nature stories, can currently be seen on British TV screens in an ambitious new documentary about the future fate of animals on the Galapagos.

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But embarking on long-haul, fuel-guzzling journeys to fragile ecosystems isn’t something environmentally conscious Bonnin takes lightly.

“I think there’s a really good balance to be struck,” she said, during a break in filming for BBC Two’s Stargazing Live in Australia.

“If we do things right, we can of course visit these incredible places. It’s just about how we do it, to what extent and how well it’s managed.”

So how can you travel without leaving too big a footprint?


“I’m offsetting my flights, which I think is something we should all do,” Bonnin said. “I travel so much for work. We’ve had people discuss that with us – it’s all very well saying protect the planet, but think about all the air miles. You have to reconcile it.”

You can do this by totting up your emissions using an online carbon calculator and counter-balancing your pollution by investing in a green project, such as one that develops renewables.


“Very often, I try to stay in the place I’m in and take a holiday there when I’ve finished filming. That’s what I’m doing after Stargazing Live – I’m using that trip to visit my sister in New Zealand.”


“Because of what I do as a job, I often prefer to stay home,” Bonnin said. And with so much natural beauty right here in Western Australia, why not follow suit?


Bonnin recommends: “The most important thing is to be mindful about what boat you’re going to be on and to find the most eco-friendly option. Do you really need the bigger ship with a TV screen? Do you need to use lots of resources? Prepare yourself and bring all your own bio-degradable products.”


“One of the main things that struck me about Galapagos is that you’re not a spectator of nature like most places I’ve been in the world. This is about you having the privilege of being part of nature for a few days, or for a week or two. Really respect what you’re about to see.”