Nature Air – Costa Rica's Carbon Neutral Airline

Costa Rica’s Carbon Neutral Airline

A few months ago I wrote about the problem of airline emissions being worse in the tropics. I’d love to be reporting to you now that things have changed, the problem is solved and we can all live happily ever after but unfortunately not. Climate change is real and a huge challenge for the Caribbean and the entire world.

However, the optimist in me still wants a positive story so I’m posting about one airline who is actually addressing the climate change issue head on and striving to make a difference. Nature Air in Costa Rica has been a ‘zero emissions’ airline since 2004. No, they are not running their planes on air but they do offset their emissions by paying local landowners to preserve threatened portions of the rainforest. According to the company they have saved about 500 acres in the Osa Peninsula which has equated to an offset of 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

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Whilst many airlines around the world have introduced voluntary offsetting options to their clients, Nature Air goes the step further in making it a company policy, a move that is congruent with Costa Rica’s plans on being the first Carbon Neutral country by 2021. Nature Air are also trying to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by using less fuel and have increased their fuel efficiency by 7% in the last 3 years.

They also run Nature Kids, a foundation for children of low-income families in Costa Rica as part of a social responsibility venture.Flights on Nature Air are a vital part of travel in Costa Rica. With the rugged terrain and the condition of the country’s roads, a drive from one part of the country to another can take a whole day. For most travelers this is too much time out of their vacation and flying is the only suitable option. Even so a Nature Air plane is far from being just a transport to get you from A to B, it is an adventure tour onto itself.

I travelled on Nature Air in February of this year and it was truly an amazing experience. The first thing you notice on board the tiny but spacious aircraft is the huge windows. After take-off you can see for miles can take panoramic shots of the beautiful country through the glass – it really is like being on a sightseeing bus in the sky.

As I discussed before, Carbon Offsetting is far from being a perfect way to tackle climate change but is definitely a step in the right direction. The initiative of Nature Air should make other countries in the region who espouse ecotourism, sustainable development and climate change mitigation sit up and take notice.

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