Being Green is a journey we should all take. All journeys of change begin with that first step that kickstarts our personal journey. Sustainable change comes from within when we accept our responsibility to minimize the impact we have on our planet through a variety of actions such as consuming less, repurposing, reusing, recycling, and making conscious decisions to minimize our carbon burning and other ecologically harmful activities.
Slow travel is green travel and it is trending now on Google search. The pandemic has slowed the way many of us do things including travel. People are flying less. They are exploring places close to home. These personal decisions have lessened the consumption of fossil fuels around Earth.
We are starting to see people flying to just one destination and exploring that region instead of taking the package tour to visit five destinations on a vacation. It is becoming part of the mainstream traveller’s thinking. Travellers are also picking lesser known destinations that are committed to protecting their natural resources, Indigenous people and the heritage of the region.
Green travellers heading to coastal areas choose places designated as Marine Protected Areas where they are committed to long-term conservation of the natural area. These same green travellers engage in ecotourism that is built on sustainable rural development, environmental protection and creation of local jobs that improve the quality of life for local people.
Active transportation like walking, hiking, biking and sailing is the greenest form of travel. This form of travel also slows down the pace and allows you to take in your surroundings and appreciate them as you move from place to place.
The next greenest form of transportation is large public transit such as buses and trains. The per person carbon footprint becomes smaller the more people that ride these forms of public transportation.
When you arrive at your destination you can continue to practice green thinking. Choose accommodations that have a smaller carbon footprint, conserve water and have environmentally friendly practices like reduced laundry, use of LED lights, and recycling.
Shop at local markets and choose restaurants that use the local ingredients available. Local food does not need to be transported great distances putting tons of extra carbon dioxide into our planet’s envelope of air that we all share.
Refrain from motorized adventure activities. Choose environmentally friendly activities like hiking, climbing, biking and swimming. Choose to spend your money in environmentally friendly businesses. Support the cause with your dollar.
Personally, take shorter showers and reduce laundry to conserve water. Carry an insulated metal water bottle filled with purified water rather than using bottled water. Use reef safe sunscreen in the ocean.
Offset your trip with carbon dollars. Experts say we need 50% of flyers offsetting their carbon emissions to make a difference. You can pay a carbon offset fee directly to most airlines when you book your flight. The average cost is $17 per seat.
The money goes to ecological organizations like Rainforest Trust that help reduce the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere. Others fund projects like low fuel stoves to Indigenous peoples to reduce the kindling and wood needed to cook their meals.
Many small personal decisions can have a big impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Reduce, reuse, recycle, fly less, fly direct, pack lighter, offset carbon emissions, and practice slow travel. As Genevieve Guenther, director of End Climate Silence* says, “The only ethical travel is slow travel that doesn’t put carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.”