I am moderately socially conscious. I mean, I volunteer, buy fair trade when possible, etc. However, a major blind spot in my life, that I have mentioned before, is my approach to the environment. I take public transportation because I don’t have a car- not because I think of the effect of automobiles on the environment. I leave lights on in my room almost constantly, I use a lot of water, I don’t think about my carbon footprint at all when I am travelling. I bring this up because I am travelling abroad shortly and I was recently educated about the amount of greenhouse gases released while traveling. So, I wanted to do a post, both for myself and anyone else that may be going on a summer trip shortly, about how to reduce our carbon footprint while travelling. Obviously, one person making minor lifestyle changes will do nothing to reduce our collective carbon footprint. However, small changes add up, and I would much rather be a part of the solution than a part of the problem. So, here are three ways you can travel in an environmentally-friendly way. I am going to try to apply these when I travel this summer.
1. Make everyday environmental decisions as you are traveling
All of us tend to indulge a bit when we travel, but we shouldn’t do so at the expense of the environment. So, as you travel, still make an effort to conserve gas, electricity, and water. For example, hang up hotel towels so they don’t get washed.
2. Take a train or bus
Obviously, planes cannot always be avoided. I am heading to Greece- so I will definitely be flying. However, if you are traveling within the country, trains and buses are great, comfortable eco- and wallet-friendly options. Personally, I prefer Megabus because it is ridiculously cheap, and has free wifi so you can watch netflix (or do something productive) while you travel.
3. Choose Eco-tourism
Many popular destinations are now making sustainable choices. Since seeing the beauty of nature is the reason that many people travel, the businesses that cater to those travelers are now making conscious choices to protect that nature. Choosing an eco-tourism destination allows you to see beautiful locals and contribute to the people protecting them for future generations. Check out the New York Times Eco-Tourism Travel Guide for some great recommendations and tips