“I am going to help save the world”

cycling in Hoi An VietnamRecently Darrell Wade, Intrepid co-founder, has been discussing on this blog the dire situation surrounding climate change and what Intrepid Travel has been doing to meet our corporate responsibilities. But now Darrell’s challenge to all of us is to find ways to make a personal commitment to change…

“Say this out loud: I am going to help save the world. Sounds good don’t you think? Now say it again, louder this time: I am going to help save the world!”

Why not join me and make this your new year’s resolution? I promise you it will feel even better than it sounds. But of course a new year’s resolution is only as good as the actions that happen as a result of the resolution. So as a part of your resolutions you’ll need to draw up a commitment list that really will help to save the world.

How about putting solar panels on your roof – they are a quarter of the price they were 5 years ago! Get a solar hot water service – it will actually save you money and save carbon emissions. Plant some trees? Why not pay an organisation to plant a 1,000 trees – it’s not as expensive as you think and the plants will suck up a couple of thousand tons of carbon in their lifetime.

Using public transport, riding a bike, selling your car and offsetting your personal emissions are all ideas that you might consider to bring your new year’s resolution to reality. (I’ll be doing several of these items next year as a part of my resolution!)

The inconvenient truth of today is that we can’t rely on governments to fix our problems – we need to take direct and personal action ourselves. En masse. If we are going to beat climate change we all need to take personal responsibility for it. I hope you join me and make your own new year resolution – let me know what you’ve got planned, as there’s every chance that sharing your ideas will help inspire someone else.


Photo: Scott Davey, Vietnam

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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“For the genuine materialist there is no fundamental, but only a gradual, an “evolutionary” difference between man and a pest, a noxious insect.” Erik Ritter

When Tim Flannery, Darrel Wade’s hero and author of Weather Makers, speaks of people he tends to compare them to insects: “The only other creatures to have achieved anything like a city are the social insects, and so small are their bodies and their demands for resources that a few acres of habitat are all that is required to satisfy their needs.” page 204 Weather Makers

Tim Flannery writes, “I recall tossing and turning in between sweat soaked sheets in a room near the corner of Ninth Street and Avenue C. As my eyes became gritty and my skin began to crust up, I could smell the grime of the city’s 8 million human bodies, along with their refuse and exuviae. Suddenly I longed to be in a desert. ” Page 24 The Weather Makers.

Even in a hotel room flannery can smell the filthy people. He longs to be in a desert where there is no human insects! He even uses the word “exuviae” which is defined as “The cast-off skins or coverings of various organisms, such as the shells of crabs or the external coverings of the larvae and nymphs of insects.”

“We became the earths infection a long and uncertain time ago.” James Lovelock Vanishing Face of Gaea page 233

“Social insects such as bees, hornets, ants, and termites evolved from nests-communities far stronger than crowds of individuals-but in doing so they lost personal freedom and became subject of their queens. Perhaps in a similar way we would lose freedom at the same time Gaia gained strength.” Page 248 James Lovelock, The Vanishing Face of Gaia

“In the looming global environmental war, the truth is that we are the demons” James Lovelock page 210 The Vanishing Face of Gaia.

You see not only are humans insects, they are demons.

“I dream of city centers in Boston, San Francisco, Osaka, London, Paris, or Florence without wheeled vehicles of any kind.” page 135 Vanishing Face of Gaia

“What if at some time in the next few years we realized as we did in the 1940’s that democracy had temporarily to be suspended and we had to accept a disciplined regime that saw our nation as a legitimate but limited safe haven for civilization.” Page 95 Vanishing Face of Gaia.

Suspend democracy! Collectivize!

“No voluntary human act can reduce our numbers fast enough even to slow climate change. Merely bt existing, people and their dependant animals are responsible for more than ten times the greenhouse gas emissions of all the airline travel in the world.” Page 4 The Vanishing Face of Gaia, Dr. Lovelock

But fortunately even Dr. Lovelock, the scientist which Tim Flannery mentions 31 times in the book weathermakers, now admits he was being an “alarmist”. Lovelock even points to Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” and Tim Flannery’s “The Weather Makers” as other examples of “alarmist” forecasts of the future.

“The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened,” Lovelock said.

“The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now,” Lovelock said. But of “Revenge of Gaia,” published in 2006, he said he had gone too far in describing what the warming Earth would see over the next century.“I would be a little more cautious — but then that would have spoilt the book,” he quipped.


So even lovelock has debunked his owned theories that Darrel Wade is publishing as nothing more than junk science!

But good business model Darrel, gotta respect you for that.

Gabriele Fitzgerald / Reply

I am committed to reducing food waste in our household. And I will try to participate in e-conferences instead of having to travel in my academic life. By the way, I agree with John, offsetting carbon is not enough, we should be modest in creating carbon and offset carbon of our carbon production we have created over our lifetime. It would be best to produce no carbon and even better to absorp it constantly to revers effects.


John, it’s actually a shame that there are unfortunate attitudes like yours in our fabulous world. Humans through history have travelled and explored – it’s part of the growth of humanity. We long to see our beautiful world and all it’s peoples, animals and scapes that we are fortunate to share. There is only positive benefits in trying to offset some (hopefully many) of those travel carbons. Helping starts at home with composting, growing your own vegies, tanks for rain water, power saving, solar panels! planting trees! Away, the great work can continue – take a cycling holiday (we do, often, and love it). Public transport is so much better then hire cars – meet the locals, make friends. Walk / ride a bike or horse or donkey or leg powered rickshaw around cities to explore. Your are right that the green work of a few is like shovelling wet ‘5h1t’ uphill, but education and persistence is the only way to make ripples into tidal waves. Get off the cynical Stink Machine and start shovelling too! The 5h1t might become compost and grow something bigger and better then ourselves!


Ah yes Darrel. So it’s not true that we need to change anything. Like Al Gore we can live in a house that uses 20 times more carbon than the average American household, or perhaps own one of the largest polluting travel companies in the world and simply write a check just like Al Gore. A couple grand here a few grand there and Intrepid is no longer a polluter. Cat thinks behavior actually needs to change, but seems like it doesn’t. If Al Gore can live like a rock star and write a carbon offsetting check, can’t we all?


John, what a cynic you are.. I wonder where you went on your last holiday? And how you got there? Do you own a bike? Do you walk to work? Did you recycle all your Christmas wrappings and all that excess packaging on every present given and received in your household? How full are your garbage or recycling bins each week? If you are unable to wrap your brain around big concepts then perhaps tackle these small ones. We can all make a difference.. Somehow…
We cannot change the ways of the world overnight, we cannot imagine planes will be grounded to save the planet but there are plenty of small ways each and every one of us can participate in reducing our own imprint on the planet. AND we don’t have to spend a cent to do so, in fact we can save money by reducing consumption every day. The catch is we just need to be mindful of how we can do this. We need to learn to THINK responsibly and ACT on the thought.


Hi John – always good to hear from a climate sceptic! I can understand people not being familiar with the science of climate change, but I can never quite work out where the anger comes from? Al Gore may have a big house – but his net carbon emissions from his life and lifestyle are zero – if we all did this, we might be looking at a better future. As a travel company Intrepid took a similar response – travel as such is not climate friendly – so we need to take a data driven response to our carbon emissions by measuring, reducing then offsetting to ensure our footprint on this earth is minimised. It is possible! As individuals we can all play our part too. Cheers, Darrell


What a laugh! A travel company that Sends people on tours to more than 100 countries encouraging people to buy solar panels or do away with their cars. How about we just not travel. You might as well ride the waves of your own destruction because there’s no doubt the greenies will have their eyes on you. Throw a few grand to some carbon offsetting scam so Al Gore has more money to power his home that uses 20 times more energy than the average American home…….and voila you’ve got a great marketing tool to get all the feel gooders to book a carbon burning trip to the other side of the world. You’re not gonna change the world, you’re just gonna make yourself feel morally righteous. What a load of bollocks!

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