Reading through the news today brings to my attention again that a number of people out there believe eco-travel to be an oxymoron. As an advocator of eco-travel myself I'd like to comment.
I personally don't agree with those protesting at Climate Camp who want to ban flying altogether. Tourism employs an astonishing proportion of the world's population and curtailing it would lead to a grand-scale economic decline. It is also true to say that in some areas, such as parts of the Amazon, it can be seen that eco-travel actually does do more good than harm - it is eco-tourism which is helping to reduce the speed of deforestation, by providing alternate forms of income.
What I would propose is needed is a long-term view - for example, we need the air carriers to be looking at ways of reducing their emmissions rather than expecting people never to leave the UK again - I can't even imagine what a terrifying world that would create.
Let me further say, however, that this does not mean I am opposed to people making some effort to reduce their travel emmissions - I would simply call for moderacy in these issues. Here are a few tips which I believe are more practicable than banning flying:
1) Reduce the number of flights you take each year. Maybe you could replace some of your overseas trips with breaks nearer to home, or travel to somewhere accessible by public transport (try www.seat61.com for tips on train travel).
2) As take-off and landing are the worst time for carbon emmissions, you could also try to avoid stop-overs en-route when you fly to an overseas destination.
3) When choosing your airline you could check out their eco-policies (maybe this will be worthwhile in the future than now...). For example, Virgin Atlantic are investing in more fuel-efficient jets and Virgin boss, Sir Richard Branson, has pledged all profits from his travel companies over the next 10 years to help fight global warming.
4) Finally, you could choose to off-set your carbon emissions through a carbon-offsetting scheme. The theory behind this is that you calculate your carbon emissions with a carbon calculator, and pay money in to a scheme which prevents or removes an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide elsewhere. Defra are in the process of developing a code of practice for this type of scheme, but until this is ready see the following information with links to carbon offset providers :- http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climatechange/uk/carbonoffset/index.htm