Sixteen year old Greta Thunberg caused several ripples across the global leadership clan when she embarked on and completed a 15-day carbon-free journey on a yacht from Plymouth in England to New York City. Her intent was to send across the message to world economies to tackle global heating, and case in point being the effects of air travel in particular.
Today we live in an age of convenience and ease of travel like none of the generations before us. Air connectivity, planning, accessibility, and even travel expenditure are all in close realms of our reach. Needless to say, each of these points come with the uncomfortable weight of tampering with nature on so many different levels.
While we may all not be able to be a Greta or have the resources and support she does on voicing our concerns on the need to lead a sustainable life to tackle climate change and save the earth from a catastrophic destruction in a future not too far away, we can still do many things on our part.
We can travel responsibly and consciously. There are several ways to reduce the negative impacts of travelling the world, and here are a few very, very simple ways we can take part in the eco revolution.
Choose local accommodation:
Hotels and resorts can pamper you silly. No doubts there, but have you thought about the amount of waste that piles up out of these quarters? The amount of water spent, food wasted, the plastic used, natural resources disturbed – to say the least. Guesthouses or home stays are a great alternative because they are usually run by the locals on a gentle budget, which also means that it will bear no holes in your own pockets!
First sign of commercialisation of a beautiful city is the opening of a multi national fast food chain outlet. Avoid eating that. Another one we often see is travelling thousands of kilometres and looking for a restaurant serving Indian cuisine. What we are forgetting, many a times, the ingredients are flown from India adding carbon footprints to what you eat as well. Let the local economy benefit from our meals, eat local.
Chosen carbon-free local conveyance and track your carbon footprint:
Walk, cycle, hitch-hike or use public transport – depending on your choice of destination. The best way to explore any place is to stroll about at leisure to be able to experience the essence of that land.
Choose local tour operators:
These guys will not only let you club all three of the above, but you will probably get a taste of the local land, customs, culture, and lifestyles in the best possible manner when you have a guide who has the laws of the land in his/her fingertips.
Avoid utilising single use items:
Carry your own cutlery and cloth bags. The former to avoid one-use plastic materials and the latter to discourage retailers from promoting plastic bags. Also, carry your own steel or glass bottles so that you are not forced to purchase plastic bottled water. You can always request for boiled and cooled water from your hotel/guest house. Refuse those tiny shampoo and body lotion bottles that the hotels offer.
Be a traveller, not a tourist:
In continuation with the above, explore! Travel about the destination and learn new things, see new places, relish new tastes. Embrace the adventure, and avoid lugging about devices to record your journey. Search for authentic souvenirs than cheap, tourist-appealing fakes which is most probably made in a factory in China and has nothing to do with the country you are visiting :-)