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Being a sustainable traveler tips

Department of Environmetal Qulity Promotion

Department of Environmetal Qulity Promotion

Being a sustainable traveler tips

  • 20 tips for your sustainable trips; Picture Source: ERM-Siam Co., Ltd.

     

    1. Punish the greenwashers – Do not be tempted to sheepishly buy the new spate of colorful guidebooks about places to see before you die (aka the ubiquitous “bucket lists”), places to see before they disappear, best adventures to be had in the world—you will never have the chance to experience them all before you physically leave this world anyway, and these guides promote the type of brash and shallow globetrotting that has a big impact on the planet. Likewise, do not stay in resorts, or use businesses, who are flagrant greenwashers. .
    2. Use guidebooks as a starting point – Guidebooks are not bibles, and they do not always feature the more sensitive and interesting ways to experience a destination; with a few notable exceptions they are often inaccurate, skimpy, and full of clichés. Often you need to read or lug about several expensive guidebooks or make sure your tablet is always charged to get a broad and accurate picture. If you do enjoy quality guidebooks, you can often best use them as a starting points and research tools prior to your travel and then make your own discoveries.
    3. Patronize local businesses – Stay in small inns/B&Bs and farmstays, homestays, rentals, and localized accommodations run by locals—as opposed to international hotel chains—and eat in the same restaurants locals enjoy.
    4. Turn off the power – When you’re staying at most accommodations, you are often not paying the electricity bill, but you will do the atmosphere a big favor if you studiously turn off all power before you go out. Try to not only switch off the lights; also unplug any appliances such as TV, laptop, electric chargers, and so on, which continue to drain a small amount of power while on stand-by.
    5. Use businesses that prove green credentials – Many tourist businesses make great claims regarding contributions and care for the environment these days. Do not automatically believe them—you’ll be amazed how many hotels or resorts turn out to be at best disingenuous about their green credentials. Look for something, some independent certification,that proves their claims. Then still do your due diligence, as no watchdog organization is immune to corruption or oversight.
    6. Engage businesses in green ethics – Businesses listen to their customers, and if you complain about something the business operator is doing that is harming the earth, or suggest something they should be doing, then that will set the business operator thinking, and the business might change its ways—if only out of fear of losing potential customers or the potential of attracting more customers.
    7. Eat local food – Eat dishes prepared from ingredients sourced locally. Such local food almost inevitably tastes much better, and is the basis of the Slow Food movement towards the enjoyment of traditional dishes. It does not necessarily matter the kind of food so long as ingredients are sourced locally—hence ensuring the ingredients have not been transported across great distances. At the same time, be mindful of what you are eating—you might unwittingly order an animal or fish that is endangered and illegally caught—and you should also avoid exotic ingredients that require intensive farming to be cultivated locally because they are outside their optimal climate.
    8. Use public transportation – Wherever possible, opt for public transportation instead of a taxi or a rental car. Take a bus or train instead of flying; travel in buses and ferries wherever possible—it is cheaper, kinder to the earth, and you will have a chance to meet with ordinary people while perhaps even learning more of the local language.
    9. Use your body’s power – Where possible, instead of taking a taxi or a bus or boat, you can walk or cycle or kayak. You will see things better that way, soaking in your surroundings more fully; you also lessen carbon dioxide emissions, and you will even do yourself a favor by moving your sedate body a bit.
    10. Pool with other travelers – If you are planning to visit somewhere off the beaten track and need a private vehicle to get there, try to find other travelers and organize a group that fits within a vehicle—it will work out to be cheaper and easier on the earth in terms of emissions per person. In some places, there is an established tradition of travelers pooling together to organize trips; this is something that’s popular in Australia, where travelers put up notices in message boards in hostels, or in websites.
    11. Do not try to cover large distances – If you are planning a trip to a large country such as China or India, do not try to see the whole country in one trip. By hopping around so much you would have to fly, and that constitutes the largest impact of travel on the environment. Besides, you will generally gain a superficial view of the country if you are constantly moving; better is to stay within one region and experience it well, to practice slow immersion travel, then leave other regions within the same country for other future visits.
    12. Leave wildlife alone – Do not chase birds or animals for a closer look, or to get close enough to take pictures. The stress on wildlife can be devastating, forcing the animals to flee or even vacate particular areas; additionally, if the bird or animal happens to be nesting or raising young at the time, your disturbance can make the difference between whether the young or hatchlings survive or not. Carry binoculars, and keep your distance. And do not feed wildlife; it distorts the natural process.
    13. Keep within trails – If you are trekking, do not veer off the trail and trample about. Keep within the trail; that way, the impact is at least contained.
    14. Stay clear of the coral – A substantial amount of coral reefs are saved from unscrupulous fishing but then end up being destroyed by snorkelers and scuba divers. If you are snorkeling or scuba diving, do not touch the coral; keep a certain distance to avoid unwittingly hitting the coral with your thrashing feet. Additionally, do not feed the fish.
    15. Take a cloth bag – You can save a lot of plastic bags if you use a cloth bag instead, tucked in your day-bag or backpack, and use it every time you need to pop into a shop to buy something. Then, in your main bag, carry a dozen plastic bags so you can separately pack different things you have that should not mix.
    16. Use a refillable flask for water – Instead of a buying a bottle of water each time you are thirsty while walking or traveling, you can take a camping flask with you, and refill it before you leave your accommodations or when you stop for lunch or dinner at a restaurant. Accommodations and restaurants normally have sources of water, and you can refill for free if you are their customer.
    17. Forget souvenirs – Do not shop for souvenirs on the impulse, or out of excitement aroused in your exotic locale, before thinking about whether you will really make use of the souvenir in the long-term. Most souvenirs end up in a storage room. You should strive to buy only things that you will really use when you return home and once their novelty has worn off. Some still use a branded corkscrew from a winery where they have had a tasting, for example. Others decorate their living space when they return home with local crafts they have collected during their trip, etc.
    18. Be mindful of the composition of products – Some products appear harmful at face value—for example: carvings made from dead wood trees, wind chimes made from sea shells or bits of dead coral. But these are not harmful; dead coral is a medium on which certain organisms thrive, and so are empty shells. On the other hand, in natural forests up to 40 percent of the biomass is found in dead wood. Buying artifacts made of dead wood may remove an important medium from the natural process; by scavenging the woods, local artisans might unintentionally be disrupting the ecosystem.
    19. Postcards are obsolete – Instead of sending paper postcards, use the power of technology to make a phone call, Skype, send an email, or create an e-postcard.
    20. Pack light – Last but not least, strive to travel as light as possible. It will be easier on your back; your luggage needs less fuel-burning to be transported and takes less space in a vehicle. Do remember: the tendency is to over-pack, as you throw in that extra pair of pants or skirt just in case. Be as uncompromising as possible—if you are not sure whether you’re going to use something or not, then leave it out. Can a small towel suffice for a holiday of two weeks? Are you really going to use your laptop on the road, or are you going to end up carrying a laptop halfway across the world to use it just twice in two weeks? Alternately, are you going to be on your laptop so much that you do not fully enjoy and directly immerse yourself in the worlds you are visiting on your ecotravels?

     

    Source:

    • http://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/travel/responsible/articles/the-practical-eco-traveler.shtml

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