I was inspired by Rick Steves’ book-length manifesto Travel As a Political Act. And yet, sometimes good intentions aren’t good enough. Like when your entire business is centered on glamorizing a climate-destructive activity.

So what does an “ethical” traveler do? Buy offsets.

Steves is now donating $30 per person he induces to travel with him to Europe—but this doesn’t even begin to account for all the people whose travel he’s inducing. And this is particularly important when there’s increasing evidence that while they’re promising in theory, carbon offsets can sometimes be totally ineffective.

On balance, Rick Steves is maybe one of the good guys, in that he’s voluntarily putting a price on aviation carbon. But if “just buy offsets” is as good as travel ethics gets, we have a long way to go.

Read more at Danny Westneat’s article in The Seattle Times, “The ‘flight shame’ issue comes home to Rick Steves.”

Credit: Rick Steves photo