Like Sustainability With Little Effort? Here’s How To Easily Do Your Bit
When you’re off exploring some far-flung, unspoilt destination off the beaten track, you’ll want to do whatever you can to help keep it that way. But even, for everyday living, one would like to reduce the environmental impacts of our presence whenever possible, and hopefully without too much effort.
Travellers are becoming more and more aware of the environmental impacts of travel and tourism, but the good news is there are some very easy ways to minimise that impact on your trips. Here are a few things you can consider doing, without much exertion on your part!
1) Avoid Bottled Water
Now this might seem like a complete turn around from the usual advice to drink bottled water when abroad, but plastic bottles are a plague to the planet we love so to travel around. 350 million plastic water bottles are used globally each day! It is said that there will be more plastics in the ocean than fishes by 2050!
There are usually safe water sources available when you travel if you look, so pack a re-useable water bottle and do a little research before you head off to help safeguard the environment and your health. Where it is unsafe to drink tap water directly, boil tap water in your hotel room and leave to cool for the next day. Or get technical and use water purifier devices or sterilising water bottles.
If not for the environment, think about how much you’ll save NOT buying 3 litres of water per day per person!
2) Say No to Straws
The Plastics issue have dominated since the “Blue Planet effect”. Plastic straws are slowly being phased out in the UK, but sadly its taking a little longer for some other countries to catch up with the no straw or recyclable paper straw initiative.
As much as these little colourful plastic tubes make you feel like you are on holiday, they are now a symbol of catastrophic damage by our throwaway culture. Imagine more than half a million plastic straws are used every day around the world!
When you visit a bar, café, eatery or restaurant, politely decline the plastic straw and do your bit for Mother Earth.
3) Use Reef Safe Sunscreen
The UN Ocean Conference 2017 revealed that coral reefs provide close to US$30 billion each year in goods and services. Plus the fact that coral reefs are invaluable to human beings considering the role they play in the subjects of air quality, food web, erosion prevention and medicines.
Reef safe sunscreen is produced without oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals that are toxic to coral reefs and other marine life.
Toxins in oxybenzone are absorbed through the skin every time sunscreen is applied. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) believe that oxybenzone is linked to hormone disruption and tests have shown that it acts like estrogen in the system, altering sperm counts in many animals and causing endometriosis in women. It has also been found in mothers’ breast milk and causing skin allergies. So, CORALS OR NOT oxybenzone is BAD NEWS!
So, switch to reef safe sunscreen, if not for the corals then for ourselves…to be safe.
4) Eat & Shop Local
Experiencing the local cuisine and trying traditional food is a huge part of the travelling experience. Choose local produce over imported. It makes no sense to be eating feta couscous salad in China!
Many travel destinations rely on the injection that tourism gives, so choose independent hotels, local eateries and bar rather than just heading for those familiar chains the next time you jet off somewhere new. Not only will you get to experience something a little different, but you’ll be giving the local economy a much-needed boost too!
5) Consider The Transport Pyramid
When we travel, we often use the method of transportation that gets us there quickly and cheaply – but this isn’t always the best news for the environment.
When you travel abroad, consider the environmental impact your chosen method of transportation has. If you can, go for the one that will cause the least damage to our eco system. Consider the transport pyramid (walk/bike, public transport, car, plane etc) wherever possible and convenient.
For example, if you’ve travelled to Thailand via plane, get a tuk-tuk to your hotel instead of a taxi and hire a bike to get around the next day instead of taking the bus if the journey isn’t too far. Make sure that the transport with the greatest emissions are used less frequently at the top of the pyramid and then those with a lesser impact sit at the bottom and are your go-tos.