I love traveling. I've flown around the world multiple times and rarely thought about the environmental impact I was having. The flying, eating out, and driving around all have an impact on our green planet- a bad one. Tourism is by no means the world’s biggest contributor to greenhouse gases (the agri-food industry tops that list), and accounts for about 10 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions according to a recent study from the University of Sydney. Many people agree agree that unless we start traveling more eco-friendly, we will have irreversible destruction of our precious home. So can you travel and be sustainable? Yes!
Getting to your destination
If you must fly, then be smarter about which airlines you pick. Carbon offsets are a great way to give something back! Many airlines now have a box you can tick to offset your flight!
As for Europe? Well, Sweden and Norway have implemented a carbon tax on all citizens that want to take a flight in either country to try to deter some travelers from flying. The fee varies depending the destination, but some airlines might choose to get around this by rerouting their to nearby countries. Try to travel by train whenever possible, and ride a bike when local! You can also buy carbon-neutral offsets even if not traveling via plane.
Many hotels are starting to implement small changes - like not washing clean towels (and giving YOU the choice to be green). LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified hotels are becoming popular, and there is now a variety of sustainable and green resorts all around the world to choose from. The Global Sustainable Tourism Council has helpful resources.
Eco-tourism and citizen science
"Eco-tourism" will be defined on this blog as travel that avoids to harm people, the planet, or animals. Basically, it's a good idea to support travel with positive social and environmental initiatives. An eco-certified tourism business:
Look for eco-certified tours, operators and accommodation when you travel!
Public participation in science is increasing, and citizen science has a central part in this. Have you ever heard of citizen science? Citizen science is scientific research conducted, in whole or in part, by amateur (or nonprofessional) scientists. This allows everyone to take advantage of social media, photography, and smart phones to help scientists improve our understanding of the natural world. See if there is some citizen science options in the area you are going to!
For more help...
Have you heard of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council? I hadn't either, not to worry. The GSTC is an international body that establishes and manages global standards for sustainable tourism to ensure certification programs and destinations perform to a universal level of best practice. They make it easy for travellers to identify genuine sustainable tourism products. Check them out: gstcouncil.org
EarthCheck (earthcheck.org) uses scientific benchmarking process to advise and certify businesses, governments, etc.
How do you make your travel sustainable
Hi! I'm Melissa, an Australian-based Latina science educator, podcaster, and freelance writer. I spend a lot more time on Instagram and Twitter, but blogging is my first love. Thanks for stopping by — I hope you stay a while.
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