Rick Steves (Dan Bates / Herald file)

Rick Steves (Dan Bates / Herald file)

Rick Steves to give $1 million yearly to stop climate change

“If we are in the travel business, we are contributing to the destruction of our environment,” he said.

EDMONDS — Rick Steves sees climate change in nearly every country he visits.

Drought keeps Ethiopian farmers from growing crops, skiers can no longer enjoy the Swiss Alps in summer, and people flock from southern to northern Europe to escape the heat.

Steves says the travel industry contributes to these problems, including his own business, Rick Steves’ Europe in Edmonds.

He’s decided to donate $1 million each year from his company’s profits in an effort to combat climate change. The program is called Climate Smart Commitment.

He plans to give $30 for each of his customers. Experts say it takes about that much to lessen the impact one traveller has on the environment.

About 30,000 people book the company’s services each year. That adds up to about $900,000, and is then rounded up.

The company’s prices are not expected to change.

According to Steves, one person’s round-trip flight from Seattle to Europe can create as much carbon emissions as six months of driving.

The company doesn’t book flights, but provides travel planning and hosts tours through Europe.

The donations are an important part of running an ethical operation, Steves said.

“It’s not an issue of can we afford it,” he said. “If we are in the travel business, we are contributing to the destruction of our environment.”

The money is now going to three different organizations, and possibly more in the future.

So far they include Project Concern International, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America World Hunger and Bread for the World.

Each helps those in poverty through climate change, such as farmers who can’t grow food during a drought, or those who go hungry because of the ruined crops.

Steves also has written dozens of travel guides, hosts TV and radio shows, and writes a weekly column that appears in local newspapers.

He hopes other travel businesses are encouraged to start similar practices.

Steves, who grew up in Edmonds, also has donated millions of dollars to local causes. Those include a 24-unit YWCA housing project in Lynnwood, the Edmonds Center for the Arts, an Edmonds community center and a community center planned at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lynnwood.

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; sdavey@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @stephrdavey.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in Northwest

Nurse Sylvia Keller, pictured with Gov. Jay Inslee, is on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle in Yakima County. Courtesy photo
Governor doubles down on mask rules

Inslee: Starting July 7, businesses do not serve those who do not wear a mask

State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Politicians get pay raises, state workers get furloughs

A citizens panel approved the hikes in 2019. Unable to rescind them, lawmakers look to donate their extra earnings.

Summer vehicle travel projected to decrease this year

Traffic this summer will likely be lighter across Washington state than previous… Continue reading

AG Ferguson wants to require law enforcement statewide to report all uses of deadly force

Report to Legislature recommends centralized, easily accessible statewide website on incidents

Stay local with summer travel plans | State Department of Health

Officials want people to limit cross-state travel to help slow spread of COVID-19

Public and private universities, colleges, technical schools, apprenticeship programs and similar schools and programs may resume general instruction, including in-person classes and lectures, starting Aug. 1. Pictured: The University of Washington-Bothell campus. File photo
Universities and colleges may reopen in fall, governor says

His order requires masks and physical distancing, among other measures, to help prevent infections.

State Capitol Building, Olympia, Washington. File photo
Tax collections tumble as state braces for huge budget hole

Inslee cancels pay raises for some execs and orders furloughs for workers as special session looms.

Inslee announces updated religious, faith-based services guidance

Modified Phase 1, Phase 2 allow indoor services at 25% capacity or 200 people, whichever is less

King County could be in Phase 2 this week

The county was planning on applying on Monday.

Most Read