Be a responsible traveler and don't be greenwashed into the eco-tourism trap. Being truly eco-friendly is not accomplished by a simple guided tour.
It’s hard to call travel green when the emissions caused by most forms of travel produce a great deal of carbon. Experts say that a flight between New York and Denver produces the same amount of carbon dioxide as an SUV does in a month. There is good news coming out of the tourism industry. European airlines are joining an EU Emissions Trading System, which is designed to put a cap on industrial greenhouse gas emissions.
There are many ways to have less of an environmental impact when you travel. The term Eco-Tour has become an overused catch phrase in the tourism industry. Just because a company adds “Eco” to their name, doesn’t mean they are doing anything special to protect the environment. Do your research and spend your vacation budget responsibly. Find out what the resort is doing to earn the name “Eco”, and whether they are giving anything back to the community. Many undeveloped countries rely on tourism dollars, and the people really do benefit from this income. The goal must be to bring tourism in a sustainable way so that it will continue to provide jobs without damaging the local environment. Respecting local cultures and traditions is important as well.
The best way to minimize your footprint while traveling is to take public transportation. Taking buses, metros, subways and trains will not only be a better choice for the environment, but you will also put yourself in a better position to meet locals and experience a more authentic view of the country you’re visiting. Even better, get around on a bicycle so you won’t miss the atmosphere of the local culture.
Enjoy locally grown food and produce. The less distance the food has had to travel to reach your plate the better. Same for beer and wine. Look for the local options on the menu. Eating at small, locally owned restaurants rather than big chains also helps because the chains rely on a bulk supply system that includes a lot of greenhouse gas producing transportation. methods.
Do your part by making sure housekeeping knows that you don’t need fresh bed linens and towels every day. Always remember to turn off the lights, television and especially the air conditioner every time you leave the room. While you may not be paying the electric bill, energy efficiency is still important to the overall health of the planet.
Stay on the trails to avoid destroying plants that may be habitat for local creatures. Don’t interact with animals you encounter. Feeding them or trying to get close can have long term repercussions that could end up killing the animals or worse, people. Protecting wildlife and preserving habitats are necessary parts of sustainable tourism. It needs to be there for the next group of visitors too, so take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints.
While it may be hard to leave home and have a truly green holiday, we can strive for ethical vacations. Make an effort to put your holiday budget in the hands of locals instead of huge hotel chains. Look for hotels and restaurants that are locally owned and operated, and staffed by local employees. Buy local souvenirs, as long as they are not made from endangered animals!
Prepared by the digital nomads at Glovico. Glovico facilitates language learning using technology to connect tutors with students around the globe. Visit Glovico to learn more about ways you can learn Swahili without visiting Africa.