As we approach the green era; meaning that people are slowly becoming aware of the impact we have on the planet, we too have to realize the effect of the global trend that is traveling. In this post we are not going into depth of irresponsible traveling, but rather showing you ways of becoming a more conscious tourist. If you are interested in the topic, go back to our previous article ‘’Is tourist a dirty word?’’ before continuing with this one. This way you will get a better picture about the impact we make on our planet while traveling the world.
LEARN ABOUT THE DESTINATION
It is reasonable to expect that you are going to do at least a little bit of research before starting your journey. Guidebooks and rules should be something to go through with extra attention. Research all about the culture, the dos, don’ts, and any extra tips you can find. The last thing you want to do is walk around with polythene bag in Kenya just because you were a little lazy and didn’t do your homework.
SUPPORT LOCALY MADE HANDCRAFTS
Locally made souvenirs and crafts will probably be on the pricier side, but buying them ensures your contribution to the economy which will have a more direct and positive impact. In Croatia, for example, our most common souvenir would be Licitar heart made of sweet honey dough and is part of Croatian cultural heritage originally given at celebrations of love. The process of making Licitar is similar to baking cookies, but decorating them requires a lot of time and precision. However, you can easily find the cheap ones; factory made and imported from China. But the real difference is not just in the price. Buying the Licitar handmade in Croatia supports authentic cultural heritage and provides needed jobs for the locals who made them.
NEVER PURCHASE WILDLIFE PRODUCTS
Never ever support something that takes so much from the nature! Products made of corals or endangered animal species are illegal in some countries of both origin and destination. If coming back home with such items in your luggage, not only is it immoral, but you are risking hefty fines or even jail sentences. On the other note, dealers are aware that some tourists know what not to buy, so they figured their way into tricking you. The most common one is telling you that the product is antique and there was no harm what so ever. So think twice when buying exotic souvenirs, it could cause you a whole lot of stress. What can you do? Get informed and buy locally made handcrafted only, souvenirs and crafts that won’t require doing damage to the nature and its animals.
SAY NO TO PLASTIC
Recycling won’t fix it, zero waste will!
The reality is that recycling rates for plastic aren’t that great. Animals – birds, marine animals and other – can easily mistake plastic for food and therefore can choke, get tangled or poisoned, which often times leads to death. Since plastic can’t really biodegrade it basically lasts forever; poising our environment and eventually our food. Luckily, more and more countries are taking action. Denmark was the first country that started charging tax on plastic bags and this way the use of plastic bags dropped from 800 to 400 million per year! It might not be enough, but it is something. As more and more countries banned or are considering banning plastic bags completely it is definitely the right time to start thinking ecologically both at your home and while traveling. As we often buy more water when traveling, bringing your own reusable water bottle and refilling it is another good way to eliminate plastic. Having an extra bag with you every time you shop really makes a difference too. Sustainable travel most definitely means traveling with least plastic possible.
REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
Did you know that one person on a typical flight from New York to London will create about 1,5 tons of Carbon emissions? When it comes to it, flying economy is a better option than business (just like a crowded bus will create less carbon per person than one person alone in a car). Another good idea is to replace four wheels with two – of course if the route and distance is appropriate for cycling. If not, and you have to rent a car, go with the electric one. Not only are they incredibly cheap to run, but they are also much cleaner than gas/diesel vehicles. It’s good to know that diesel cars will soon to be forbidden in many major cities. Everything is going down the sustainable route so you might consider doing the same.
Huck Finn philosophy goes by ‘’See it as it is, leave it as it was.’’ And by doing that we strive to do the least damage possible while exploring and adventuring around our country and the world. We do human powered activities such as kayaking, rafting, biking and hiking. Not only do we have a great workout, but the nature stays intact. Zero gas emissions and no carbon footprint. It’s a win-win situation and something we are very proud of.
‘’The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.’’ – Robert Swan