Is the environment important to you? If you have clicked to read this post then I guess it is, which is great news!
PrePartuare is dedicated to continually learning about the planet and what we can do to make the Earth a healthier place. With tv documentaries, like the BBC’s Blue Planet II, we are now shockingly aware of the global damage in our oceans and with world leaders discussing global warming, it is increasing important to understand how our choices impact the planet. This includes when we travel. This week’s #PrepartureThursday will focus on how we can all become a safer environmental traveller.
It is shocking to know that a study in 2010 discovered, that toxic air pollutants created by airplanes, ‘kills more people than plane crashes.’ This was reported by National Geographic, nearly 10 years ago. Since, then the number of international flights has increased but technology has yet to find a way to reduce these dangerous emissions.
If you want to become an eco-traveller you need to start reducing your carbon footprint immediately. In terms, of transportation, it time to fall in love with walking, cycling and using public transportation. Ask yourself, do I need to take a plane or can I travel by train or coach?
Nowadays, most major and minor cities have an excellent and affordable transportation system, which include zero emissions, like the tram pictured above in Nice, France. Cross-country trains have also improved in the last few decades to be both fast and comfortable. Bear in mind that hiring a car, should always be your last option, when it comes to travelling.
If you absolutely must take a plane, become a conscious eco traveller whilst on board. Consider enrolling in a Carbon Offset programme. This is a scheme that either reduces carbon emissions or does something to counteract the carbon footprint you will make during the flight. Examples of a Carbon Offset programme include organisations that plant trees, build wind farms and improve soil management.
Another environmentally friendly tip is, whilst onboard don’t purchase any inflight goods that use plastic, this includes the cutlery. Instead, choose items packaged in recyclable materials or use your own reusable items.
When you are next at the airport try out these activities to keep your kids happily entertained until you depart.
ECO Friendly Accommodation
Book your vacation in an eco-friendly or green hotel/resort. Hotels are becoming increasingly aware that their customers value the planet and have therefore started to advertise their green-ness online. If they are committed to becoming sustainable, they will:
- Allow you to reuse your towels and bedsheets throughout the duration of your stay
- Have procedures in place to reduce water and electricity usage
- Use a renewable source of energy to power the hotel, for example solar panels.
You can contribute to improving the environment, when on holiday, by following the hotels policies and by opening windows opposed to switching on the air conditioner, showering instead of bathing and switching the room lights off when you are out exploring. These energy and water saving methods can also be applied to our normal day to day life.
When green hotels/ resorts are not available at your desired destination, stay in a local B&B or farmhouse. If you can’t save the planet, help the local economy.
Try implementing some environmentally friendly acts at a Wellness Retreats in Florida.
Support Local Business
Don’t visit all the international chains you already know. Instead visit local markets, artisan stores and neighbourhood restaurants for food, clothing and souvenirs etc. Even better if it’s organic or locally made. This way you’ll be helping the local economy and taking home something unique and special opposed to tacky mass-produced items.
Also, when you visit museums offering free admission, donate some loose change to help keep their education and research programmes going, which often benefit children within the community.
Added weight to a flight increases fuel usage, which in turn, as we all know, contributes to global warming. Packing as lightly as possible, also prevents you from buying lots of unnecessary goods, so also saves you money. Plus, it’s nice not to have to drag around a heavy load when you are travelling.
Travel Accessories for the ECO Traveller
Did you know that 4.7 billion plastic toothbrushes are produced annually and a majority of them end up as trash in the ocean? Change your morning habit of brushing your teeth by investing in a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush. If you love soda you may also want to purchase a reusable straw for your beverages. There are a wide range of materials available including metal, bamboo and paper.
One of our favourite travel accessories that allows us to call ourselves eco-travellers is a solar powered charger. This can be used on a selection of electronic devices, like your phone, tablet and camera.
The final way, to give back to the planet takes place when you have completed your travel adventure. If you were savvy with your spending, perhaps you followed one of our ‘Free Things to Do’ guides, and have some money left over, consider donating it to an environmental charity. Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and 4Ocean are three well known organisations working toward a healthier planet.