Hopper, a travel booking app, recently launched a reforesting initiative called Hopper Trees. For each flight and hotel room booked through the app, the company will donate to Eden Reforestation Projects, a nonprofit that has planted a quarter of a billion trees in clear-cut parts of Indonesia and Africa.
According to research published in 2019, commercial air travel and air shipping are responsible for approximately 2.5 percent of all human carbon dioxide emissions, and that amount is swiftly rising. Fringe parties in the EU and the US have proposed banning domestic air travel, pushing travelers onto trains or other less polluting ways of travel. It’s unlikely to happen, however. Time is money, and nothing is speedier than air travel.
The Atmosfair carbon emissions calculator estimates that a single, one-way, economy-class seat from New York to Los Angeles puts as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as driving the average car for two and a half months.
“Hopper will be the first travel-booking app to offer free carbon dioxide emissions offsets on behalf of our customers for every flight and hotel purchased in the app,” Hopper founder and CEO Frederic Lalonde said in a statement on the company’s website.
Reforesting is one of the strongest weapons we have against rising carbon dioxide levels. An acre of mature forest can absorb enough carbon dioxide and sequester it away to offset ten seats in the cross-continental flight we laid out above, every year for over a century. Through Hopper Trees, the company hopes to plant 6 million trees or more in 2020. Assuming approximately 200 trees per acre and that they all reach maturity, that could sequester enough carbon dioxide to offset 300,000 travelers crossing the country.
The Hopper Trees initiative feels small in the face of the reality of air travel. The FAA estimates that nearly 3,000,000 travelers fly every single day in the U.S. But 300,000 is nothing to sneeze at, and Hopper won’t be alone. Delta, Hilton, and JetBlue, all much larger than little app Hopper, are also committing to offsetting carbon as they can.
“We are excited to take this step toward a more sustainable future, and we are pleased to see that we are aligned with our customers in viewing this commitment as a priority as well,” Lalonde said.
Photo by STEFANY LUNA DE LINZY / Shutterstock.com