Outdoor leaders are already sensitive to the ethics of immediate actions related to use and care of wilderness areas. Considering the impact of our activities on global climate, however, requires an entirely new paradigm of thinking; one that considers the long-term and often invisible implications of our choices. Here, we develop a generalizable methodology to quantify the greenhouse gas emissions associated with food consumption and transportation from outdoor recreation trips. We then apply this method to estimate the average carbon footprint for trips conducted by the Outdoor Pursuits Center at Texas Tech University (TTU) to total 94kg CO2eq per person, approximately one half to one third the emissions incurred by a typical student’s weekend trip home. Finally, we evaluate potential strategies to mitigate those emissions including adjusting trip menus to include less carbon-intensive and more local food items, traveling to closer locations, and purchasing carbon offsets.
Lloyd-Strovas, J. D.,
& Hayhoe, K.
Tracking the Carbon Footprint of Outdoor Recreation Programs: A Case Study of Texas Tech University's Outdoor Pursuits Center.
Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership, 1(2).