Here’s a fact: About 5 percent of the world’s carbon emissions is produced by tourism alone.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Tourism Organization, the tourism industry is a significant contributor of greenhouse gas emissions at the global scale. The energy consumption that comes with transportation, accommodation, as well as various tourism-related activities — among others — add up and result in the advanced depletion of key natural resources, disruption of natural habitats, and degradation of biological diversity.
As a traveler, it’s impossible for you not to create an impact on the environment; however, traveling responsibly and encouraging others to do the same can help minimize your carbon footprint and curb other negative effects that tourism pose to the ecosphere. Here are some tips you can follow for an eco-friendly adventure.
Download apps that will help you make ethical travel choices — from booking sustainable accommodations to selecting the products you should buy to tracking your ecological footprint. Among the many apps that travelers swear by is the Green Globe App, which helps direct you to hotels, resorts, cruise ships, and tours that are certified green.
This is more than just about sparing you from the hassle of paying an extra fee for exceeding your baggage limit. In case it hasn’t occurred to you yet, let us tell you this: the heavier a plane weighs, the more CO2 it produces. Do your part in cutting your flight’s emissions by packing only the stuff you really need for your trip.
Go easy on the guide books
The sight of free maps and guidebooks at airports and tourist information offices sure are tempting. But before you grab handfuls of them, ask yourself if you really need them. Maybe, you can just use the map installed in your mobile device and surf the internet for attractions you could visit. Going paperless on your trip helps save trees, cut greenhouse gases, and reduce waste.
Be smart in choosing your mode of transportation. If you can travel by train or by bus instead of flying to your destination, go for it. Refrain from taking short haul flights as much as possible, as they only create emissions that could have been prevented in the first place. When taking in the sights of the city or town, ride a bicycle, explore the place on foot, or take public transpo, which is also a great opportunity to interact with the locals. And should you feel the need to go around by car, rent a hybrid car.
Just follow the path
Marked trails exist in hiking spots for a reason. They’re not just there to guide you, but also to protect the plants and animals surrounding the area. If you’re going for a hike, make sure to stick to the path, don’t pull or pick on plants, and keep a safe distance from the animals you happen to see.
Hitting the beach soon? Opt for a sunscreen that’s made with plant-derived ingredients like aloe vera, green tea, and jojoba oil. Chemicals found in standard sunblocks are not just harmful to your health, but also to the environment, as they can cause the bleaching of reefs, which serve as home to marine animals.
Stay with family or a friend
You know why hotels keep sprouting like mushrooms? It’s because the big bosses see the demand for them. But building hotels does harm to the environment in more ways than you could imagine, and staying at one doesn’t make much difference either. So if you could make an arrangement to stay at a relative’s or a friend’s place during your trip, do it. In fact, you can even crash at a fellow traveler’s pad and make new friends, if you’re that adventurous. Your wallet will thank you, too.
Do your own housekeeping
If you’re staying in a hotel, maintain your room’s cleanliness to avoid frequent housekeeping services. And before leaving, see to it that the lights, AC, and TV have been switched off.