Climate change is one of the most complex challenges of modern times due to the risk it poses to humans and natural resources, as well as the uncertainty surrounding the magnitude and pace of its impact. The US is responsible for producing more than 5.3 billion tons of CO2 every year which is equivalent to 24 million Statues of Liberty. In fact, the level of carbon emissions in the Earth’s atmosphere is higher than it has been at any point in history. One way to mitigate the damage we cause to the environment is through eco-friendly travel. Making small changes to the way we travel can significantly reduce carbon emissions and greenhouse gases levels around the world.
Plastic leads to waste, so cutting back on plastic use is one way that we can limit the negative effects of climate change when travelling. When on holiday, you want memories to last a lifetime, however, 500 years may be too long, which is the time it takes for plastic to biodegrade. Therefore, using reusable bottle waters as opposed to constantly buying mineral water is a good way to limit plastic use. Also, using a reusable shopping bag when visiting local markets is a good way to limit plastic use.
Travel in a pack
Small groups tend to have a smaller environmental impact than solo travellers as they create fewer additional carbon emissions by sharing transport when travelling. Also, when travelling in small groups, your environmental impact can be reduced by choosing a tour operator that is environmentally responsible. For instance, go with a tour operator that gives back to the community you will be visiting to ensure that they are not doing more harm than good.
Local is best
Eating and drinking from locally sourced vendors can be a good way to cut your carbon footprint or so-called ‘beer mileage’. Not only can you sample high-quality local sourced produce, that is eco-friendly, but you also support the region’s farmers. Eating locally can be done by looking for restaurants that advertise local produce or purchasing ingredients from farmers’ markets.
Before you leave for your intrepid adventures, you can take steps to become an eco-friendly traveller. When booking your flights, you can check the sustainability report of the airline and see which airline is the most environmentally friendly. Many airlines give passengers the chance to make a voluntary donation to help offset the emissions generated by their flight.
Once you have landed at your destination, using public transport, peddle power or simply your own two feet can cut your environmental impact and allows you to meet locals. So instead of renting a car to see the local attractions, why not rent a bike or take a walking tour?
Travelling can be a great way to gain a global perspective by exposing you to new experiences, however it important not to do that at the expense of the environment. Following the steps listed above can get you on your way to become an eco-friendly traveller.