Cleaning Missoula’s Air With Greener Travel and Carbon Offsetting

Among U.S. states, Montana ranks in the top 10 for renewable energy, accounting for over 50% of the state’s electricity. Despite this progressive approach to energy production, the state ranks among the lowest for electric vehicle adoption. However, Missoula is leading the way with investments in greener infrastructure making it easier than ever for us to live more environmentally responsible lives.

Reducing your carbon footprint

Whether you’re a resident or one of our 4.6 million annual visitors, ethical travel around Missoula is made easy by the expansive transportation infrastructure. Electric buses now make up 40% of the city’s Mountain Line fleet. With plans to completely electrify the service by 2035, the line has been awarded a grant of nearly $4 million which will expand the electric fleet to 57% next year. The city also possesses expansive active transport infrastructure, with over 60 miles of bike lanes and walkways. If driving is a necessity, consider going electric. Missoula has ten charging stations distributed across the city, making electric cars incredibly convenient. Unfortunately, green travel isn’t always possible. Airline travel, a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, is a necessity for many journeys to and from Missoula. Thankfully, programs like carbon offsetting mean that even in these instances there are still options to reduce your carbon footprint. Carbon offsetting has been used by businesses for years to mitigate the emissions associated with their work through efforts like reforestation. Such schemes are increasingly being made available to individuals, allowing for more sustainable travel.

The importance of reducing emissions

As a city Missoula places great importance on achieving cleaner air; but what summer visitors may not know is that winter inversions are a significant motivator for this. They’re a weather phenomenon caused by a lid of warm air forming over the cold air on the earth’s surface, trapping it and preventing vertical air mixing. This lack of air flow traps pollutants in valleys, decreasing the air quality and potentially leading to smog. Alongside the city’s legislative efforts, community initiatives like Climate Smart Missoula are working to reduce carbon emissions. The organization’s recently launched Footprint Fund provides a locally run carbon offsetting service which works to improve the energy efficiency of Missoula’s low-income households. This is great news for visitors and residents alike who want to reduce their effective carbon footprint and contribute to a greener Missoula.

From award winning electric buses to locally run environmental organizations, Missoula is a hub of green activity. These initiatives are made even more important by the frequency of temperature inversion and the resultant smog during winter months. Thankfully, the coming years look bright with record investments being made in infrastructure and services dedicated to an eco-friendlier Missoula.