Confession Time // Green Mama On The Go

Carolyn Kelly

I have a confession to make: I am going on a cruise. Did you know that cruises are even worse than planes?

It doesn’t seem possible, but it’s true. Those ships burn fuel really, really inefficiently, to the tune of .40 kilograms of carbon per passenger per kilometer. For comparison, flying burns between .11 and .16 kilograms of carbon per passenger per kilometer. So from a global warming perspective, a cruise ship going from New York to the Bahamas will be about three or four times as bad as flying to the Bahamas. Cruise ships are also pretty shady when it comes to waste disposal: think raw sewage discharges into the ocean and dodging environmental regulators. It’s not good, friends.

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newcamp (

We’ll be stopping in Florida (devastated by a climate-change-enhanced Hurricane Irma) and the Bahamas (affected by both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria). And in the process, we’ll be making things just a little worse for everyone who lives in a vulnerable coastal community.

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newcamp (

The part that I’m really kicking myself over is that all I really wanted to do was spend some quality time with my family and my in-laws, who live an hour away. We can (and do) see them regularly, but it’s always in the midst of the hustle and bustle of work, kids and never-ending chores. And we were all free in November/December and…we wanted to go someplace warm.


Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newcamp (

I think the “someplace warm” coupled with “in November or December” is where we got off track. Like, why did it not occur to me to propose something next summer?

Friends, I could have planned this trip in a way that was good for our family and better (so much better) for the planet.

Here’s what I wish I had done instead:

1. Flown to California to see our siblings and their families, as well as friends in LA. This would have burned a lot of carbon, but not as much as the cruise.

2. Gone on a warm weather trip in our region by planning something for spring, summer or fall. Philadelphia and Amish Country. Boston and Martha’s Vineyard. Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine.

3. Spent a long weekend at our in-laws house. Staycation with grandparents to help with the kids? Sounds pretty relaxing.

I’ll do better next time. Meanwhile, I’ll be over here googling carbon offsets.


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