CeCe and I feel strongly that, as we travel, we do as much as we can to make the places we visit better. We have recognized all along that we are wonderfully privledged to make this trip and that we have an obligation to give back, especially to those who are far less fortunate. At the same time, conservation of wildlife and natural resources is particularly important to us. We view gifts to organizations protecting the world’s wild places as doing a double good: helping people who help the world’s natural heritage. Accordingly, we have made gifts along the way to charitable organizations that seem to make a difference.
The organizations that we have supported perform such critically importants tasks including the removal of mines in Cambodia, the rescue of street children in Ulaan Bataar, and the protection of the last few Cat Ba langurs in Vietnam that we were so fortunate to glimpse. We have also committed to send sporting equipment to a school we visited in a remote part of Laos. We have committed to donating the equivalent of one month’s budget by the end of our trip.
We had hoped to add links to those organizations’ websites to the menu on the right, but the software isn’t cooperating. We’ll let you know when we do. Heifer International, Doctors Without Borders, and the World Wildlife Fund are the big ones. There are many other smaller ones. We hope you will join us in supporting them.
In addition, recognizing the severe impact of air travel on climate change, we have tried to limit our air travel, instead using buses and trains to cover long distances. In some cases, alternatives haven’t been readily available. For those flights we have taken, we have used an organization called Climate Care to offset the carbon emissions from these flights. (In the past we have used Terrapass to offset our vehicular emisisons. Terrapass uses a limited range of carbon reduction programs in the U.S.; Climate Care has a portfolio of innovative projects worldwide that have a substantial positive human impact as well.)
For the six flights we’ve taken, it cost us less than $60 total to purchase offsets. (Terrapass would have been a bit less expensive.) We encourage others to fly less, but when that’s not possible, to buy offsets. Our example shows that it’s not prohibitively expensive. I think that bodes well for the affordability of the tough ecological and economic decisions facing our country.
Finally, CeCe and I have begun to look for volunteer opportunities in Malaysia. Since the outset, we have hoped to volunteer, but only now does it appear to be a possibility. I’m hoping to volunteer on an organic farm. CeCe wants to find some cuddly animals to play with. We’ll keep you posted on those developments.
In the meantime, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and many thanks for sticking with us for these past six months.