Our planet is a wonderful place, but its valuable resources are limited, and mass tourism is one of the most damaging factors. Therefore, if more tourists decided to embrace eco-friendly travel, tourism would leave a much less negative impact on the environment. Sustainable travel practices involve conscious choices that reduce your carbon footprint, protect the environment, and support local communities. If you want to do your share and help preserve our planet, consider making the following choices as you explore the world:
Use Public Transportation
Almost 8% of all the carbon emissions in the world are the result of tourism. And even though all modes of transportation require energy, some options are simply cleaner and more efficient than others.
Getting into the habit of using public transportation, even when you're traveling, is a sure way to support the reduction of air pollution and help relieve road congestion. When a significant number of people use public transport, the number of cars on the roads drops, reducing the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Similarly, if public transportation is not an option, you can go for carpooling which is also much more sustainable than driving alone in a car.
Ride a Bicycle
As far as transportation is concerned, cycling is the most eco-friendly one you can go for. Of course, you cannot reach far destinations on your bike, but you can use it to explore the places nearby, and to go sightseeing once you arrive at the destination you're visiting as a tourist. In the US, cycling is mostly recreational, but if we try to raise people's awareness of its benefits, we could make a big change together. We all take short journeys every day, even when we travel, and a lot of them can be done using a bicycle. Cycling reduces air pollution and protects green spaces by lowering the need for deforestation. And finally, it helps minimize the dangers of global warming.
Buy From Local Businesses
Whether you're visiting a foreign country or you're staying on your own, you should make an effort to support local businesses. The use of local products requires less packaging and very little transportation. On top of that, it also creates more job opportunities for everyone in the area. The best way to support this important cause is to eat local food wherever you go. Not only that you will support the economy of the country, but you will also get to enjoy fresh produce that is better for your health than the items that had to travel a long way from one part of the world to another.
Avoid Single-Use Plastic
Saying no to single-use plastic is one of the most sustainable decisions you can make, regardless of your location. People have gotten into the habit of using too much plastic daily, even though its production requires the use of fossil fuels and releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Eight million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year. Fortunately, more and more companies and individuals are starting to reject single-use plastics. When it comes to travel, tourists usually purchase single-use beverage bottles. If you're looking to make a change but you're not sure where to start, buying a reusable water bottle for your next trip is a perfect first step toward more sustainable tourism.
Choose Eco-Friendly Accommodation
Staying in eco-friendly accommodation units also reduces the negative impact of tourism on the environment. However, keep in mind that it is not enough to read that the owner of the unit markets the business as 'green'. To get the facts, look for information about the specific policies and practices they have implemented. Focus on information about renewable energy sources, bio-architecture, water conservation practices, and the elimination of single-use plastic. Also, find out whether they support the local economy by prioritizing local suppliers. Sustainable accommodation should also involve care for the local nature and wildlife.
Planet Earth is the only home we have, and we need to learn how to take better care of its resources every day, even when we're vacationing. By making an effort to develop eco-friendly habits while traveling, we can help reduce our carbon footprint and reduce different types of pollution. If you adopt sustainable travel practices, you can make a positive impact on the environment and become a great example of a responsible tourist that other individuals could look up to.