You feel your feet itching for adventure but your bad conscience nagging about the environmental impact of tourism?
Than you belong to the 67% of travellers who are looking for ways to make their trip more climate-friendly. About 2/3 of holidaymakers are worried about tourism destroying biological diversity and the environment.
The bad news is, around 5% of climate-damaging global emission is due to travelling.
The good news is, each and everyone of us can make a difference!
How? Here are some ideas:
75% of tourism related CO2 emission is caused by traffic. 40% thereof is air traffic, 32% is car traffic and merely 3% is caused by bus and train traffic.
The first trick is, you probably guessed it, avoid emission heavyweights like air planes and cruise ships. However, from time to time you may find yourself in a situation where you need to get a plane ticket, don´t lose heart just yet! There are options for voluntary contributions to non-profit organisations and airlines which invest in climate-protection and sustainable development projects. Keep an eye out for the “Gold Standard” certificate and organisations supporting projects which compensate the amount of emission you cause.
Generally, however, it is always better to prevent damage than to compensate for it. This short list helps you to choose eco-friendly options for your next trip:
- Check-out the possibilities you have by using the bus and train for your trip. Most people can find some holiday-gems less than 800 kilometers from their homes!
- Once you´ve reached your destination, get informed about public transport. Especially on city trips, this should not be too big a challenge.
- Behave in an environmentally-conscious way. Use water economically especially in places where clean water is scarce. Try to avoid pools, golf courses and ski slopes with artificial snow as they use tremendous amounts of water.
- Planning on a nice pick-nick? Don´t use disposable products. Buy local fruit and vegetable and avoid meat and animal products. And always clean up after yourself. (These tips can be used at home as well!)
- Travel light! Less weight equals less emission.
- Choose your souvenirs carefully. Many souvenirs contain ecologically harmful and sometimes even illegal materials.
- Avoid mass tourism and wildlife in captivity like zoos and aquariums.
- Look for accommodation with environmental certificates. Many hostels, hotels and bed and breakfasts receive them for their choice of organic foods, economic use of water and energy, waste management or commitment in species protection.
- Consider the option of a house-swap or flat-share. Especially in metropolitan areas with housing shortages this can be an ideal way of using existing living space.
As often in life, there is a plethora of options and awareness is the first step in the right direction. Everyone can make a difference and if everyone does their best, many more people will have the opportunity to discover the marvelous wonders of this planet.