As awareness surrounding Global Warming increases, it’s natural that more of us are becoming more conscious of our Carbon Footprints and the impact on the Earth that we are personally responsible for. If you haven’t heard of a Carbon Footprint before, a Carbon Footprint refers to the amount of Carbon Dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities that you have partaken in. Every person, every community, every country and every organisation has a Carbon Footprint; whilst it’s large counties and organisations who are responsible for a large majority of issues surrounding pollution and global warming, it’s important that we all play our part to impact the world positively- no matter how small our actions are.
After taking numerous online quizzes, which test the size of your Carbon Footprint and leave you with a report on how you can improve it, I was faced with the same outcome- my travelling is largely responsible for the size of my Carbon Footprint. Whilst I’d cut down in other areas, such as shopping locally and giving up eating meat, it’s the numerous flights I’ve taken that are greatly responsible for CO2 being released into the atmosphere. It was easy for me to give up meat and shop way less, but travelling? That’s a passion of mine that I couldn’t imagine my life without.
If you too are a travel-aholic but also care greatly for your impact on this Earth and the future of our planet, here’s a few tips on how to travel more sustainably (so you can have the best of both worlds)…
- When travelling by plane, it’s the take-off’s and landings that create the most carbon emissions; book direct flights instead to avoid this. If the destination isn’t oversees, try looking for other means of getting there; who doesn’t love a road trip? (Bonus points if it’s in an electric car!)
- Cycling is the most eco-friendly mode of transport as it creates no emission. It’ll not only keep you fit, but you’ll save money and contribute to saving the environment. Public transport is also a great alternative to driving, as it reduces the amount of cars on the road overall.
- Check if your selected airline is part of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Airlines within this group offer carbon offset programs and invest in carbon reduction projects.
- Take longer trips in one destination, rather than spending a couple of days in one place before travelling to the next.
- Research on your desired hotel before booking a room. Does it get it’s foods locally? Does it used locally sourced materials and hire local staff? These factors mean the hotel is investing in the local economy, making them much more sustainable than others.
- Turn off lights when you leave a room and electronic devices- I mean completely off, not on standby.
- Hang up your hotel towels instead of leaving them in a pile in the bathroom to let the maids know you don’t want them to be washed (or let them know). This way, a lot of water will be saved; we don’t wash our towels everyday at home so why do we when we’re on holiday?
- Please, please, please carry reusable bags.
- Stop buying plastic water bottles! Buy a re-fillable bottle that you can carry with you, instead of watching money and continuously throwing plastic away.
- If you’ve used any hotel shower gels or conditioners but haven’t finished the bottle, take them with you! Otherwise, these will be thrown away once you’ve left, contributing to a lot more plastic waste. You never know, you main find some use for the empty bottles back at home.
- Buy locally made products whilst you’re abroad. Firstly, products that have been imported have a much larger carbon footprint. Secondly, what’s the point in purchasing mass produced products that you can get anywhere else?
- Be respectful of people and their culture. Make sure you do your research on your selected travel destination to avoid ignorance and disrespecting locals.
- Leave wildlife and animals alone! Any tour company that offers hands-on encounters with Animals (e.g. riding elephants or swimming with dolphins) or opportunities to feed wildlife, (which only makes animals reliant on humans) is part of an industry that illegally captures and abuses millions of animals- do not support this!
- Stop using natives as backdrops in your photographs- ask for their permission if necessary. It’s just poor taste and disrespectful; they’re people not props.
- Take your rubbish with you, particularly when you’re on the beach or an excursion where you may not come across a bin. This one sounds obvious, but we’ve all seen how much rubbish can accumulate on beaches.