Life today sees us navigating a world that is staring down the barrel of climate disaster. We see it every day in the rising sea levels, long-lasting heat waves, displaced animals and melting glaciers. We see it when we travel.
The fact that climate change is here is indisputable. We know it. You know it. And yet it still feels as if some of our world leaders don’t believe it. But regardless of what is or isn’t getting passed in global senates and parliaments, we wholeheartedly believe that the rest of us can still make a huge difference. There are climate solutions out there – we just need to unite to bring change.
At Intrepid, that means we’re working towards being fully climate positive by 2020. For us, it’s not a matter of stopping travelling. It’s about changing the way we travel. After all, what is seeing the sunrise over Machu Picchu if there’s no cloud forest? What is travel without the Serengeti plains or the Amazon rainforest? We believe that it’s our responsibility to help preserve the planet for the next generation of travellers and the communities that call these places home.
Our climate change journey began 10 years ago when the award-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, shocked us into action. We knew that just the act of travelling, whether by plane, train or automobile, was a significant source of emissions; we immediately made moves to minimise our impact. As a result, we became the world’s largest carbon neutral travel company. We measure, reduce, and offset carbon emissions for our staff and our travellers by purchasing carbon credits with a range of renewable energy projects, such as wind power in India and rainforest restoration in Borneo.
But it doesn’t have to stop there. Going climate positive means not just offsetting our carbon emissions but actually improving the environment by removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. How do we plan to do this? The first step is seaweed.
Did you know that the humble seaweed plant, the exact kind of kelp you grudgingly swim across while snorkelling, is actually a climate solution in-waiting? Besides being good for food, fertiliser, bio-fuels, plastics, healing omega-3s and fibres for clothes, seaweed can also sequester large quantities of carbon from the atmosphere. In fact, just one square kilometre of seaweed can pull in thousands of tonnes of carbon per year. In our eyes, seaweed is nothing short of a miracle.
Together with The Climate Foundation and the University of Tasmania, The Intrepid Foundation is working to raise $350,000 AUD to set up Australia’s very first seaweed platform off Tasmania’s eastern coast. Just like natural kelp forests, this floating platform will protect coral regions from bleaching, provide habitat and feed wildlife, cool surface ocean waters and help sink carbon dioxide to the depths of the ocean. While this specific regeneration project may be local to Tasmania, its effects will be seen globally. And if that’s not a David and Goliath situation, we don’t know what is.
We are incredibly excited by this climate change solution and our plan to further reduce, restore, and regenerate as a climate positive company. The knowledge that we can have a hand in reversing the effects of global warming helps to alleviate at least some of the anxiety we feel about the current state of the environment.
The key message here is that we can all make a difference, if we do it now. Just because the powers-that-be might be ignoring the warning signs doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t make a difference. We can all vote with our wallets by supporting NGOs and businesses who prioritise the environment; we can all join a climate change group, or even pick up a placard in protest; we can all keep learning and educating ourselves (we helped support 2040 which is an incredibly eye-opening film and good place to start); we can all continue to reduce and reuse in our everyday lives.
While the issue of climate change might feel overwhelmingly big, we want you to know that solutions do exist. But it’s up to us to stand together, and embrace those solutions to help save the planet.
If you’d like to help us tackle climate change, any donations made to The Intrepid Foundation seaweed initiative will be matched dollar-for-dollar. Help us do some good.
Feature photo by Ryan Bolton.