Darrell Wade, co-founder and CEO Intrepid Travel
Ten years ago I was sitting under the shade of an Acacia tree in the Africa savannah reading a book, while on a break from a safari. Life was good. The morning had been magical – beautiful scenery and lots of wildlife to see. But my state of contentment was to be disturbed. I was reading Tim Flannery’s The Weather Makers and for the first time in my life I really started to think about climate change.
Not only was the wonderful world we lived in under threat, but the company I had helped to start is part of an industry which punches above its weight in terms of carbon emissions – one of the root causes of climate change. We had won numerous awards as a responsible tourism operator, but in the context of climate change I realised we had a lot more work to do.
On returning home we undertook more research on the issue, and decided to set out on a long journey to address our impact on climate change – with the goal we set (and achieved) of becoming carbon neutral by 2010. We came up with a plan to measure, avoid, and reduce the emissions of all our offices around the world, and off-set the remainder through investing in high quality renewable energy credits, with an audit trail for verification.
We also made a commitment that as a company we would carbon offset trips for every one of our passengers. This year marks five years since Intrepid achieved carbon neutral status in our offices and started offsetting our trips. We off-set travel for more than 100,000 travellers each year, and have contributed more than one million dollars to seven different carbon abatement projects.
Earth Hour each year reminds us of the importance of our actions – not only what companies can do to help address the issue of climate change, but also what individuals can do to reduce their impact. The planet’s single-largest call-to-action on climate change, Earth Hour is a practical way of raising awareness about cutting carbon pollution and showing the world what we risk losing. Through the simple act of turning off lights for one hour, millions of people across the globe come together to try and work towards a solution to the problems we’re facing.
On Saturday March 28, wherever you are in the world, I encourage you to join us in turning the lights out and engaging in the conversation. Perhaps together we can find a way to reduce our collective carbon footprint and help to preserve the wonderful world in which we live.
This year The Intrepid Foundation is partnering with social enterprise Pollinate Energy, an Australian start-up dedicated to improving the lives of India’s poor by providing clean, renewable (and cheap) solar energy As we mark Earth Hour it’s worth remembering that, for many people, the darkness lasts a lot longer than 60 minutes. Simply donate using the link below. $10 is all it takes to light up a family in 2015.