How to Be a (Super Cool) Green Traveller
Mastering Not Being an Asshole
– and Why it’s Important
Step outside into nature for a minute. You can hear her breathe, feel her light kiss on your skin. She’s so beautiful; every single part of her is breathtaking. This is why you travel, is it not? To try to see as much of her as you can before she takes you away and turns you into a memory. But by seeing more and more of her you are essentially causing her more and more harm. Aeroplanes tare through her layers, wheels crush her fragile hairs. Don’t you want to preserve her and keep her looking fresh and alive? Responsible tourism is something that all dedicated travellers should be thinking about. Strive to leave a minimal negative impact on her and she will give tirelessly, endlessly.
This is a list of super-awesome environmental considerations I take into account every day:
1. Live by the mantra “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time”. Except other peoples’ rubbish; feel free to take that. Don’t ruin nature for everyone else. Have some respect and take your rubbish to a bin, dammit. It’s really not that hard.
2. Catch local buses or trains instead of flying. Air transport and its effects on the environment is a complex issue but in general; people flying, especially in empty planes, is speeding up climate change. And with the unregulated rise in low-cost airlines, it’s only getting worse. If you can get somewhere by catching public transport, then save your wallet and Mother Earth and take that chicken bus!
3. On that note, DO NOT travel on a cruise ship. In comparison to carbon emissions they are twice as bad as taking a long-haul flight. They are all-inclusive and pre-paid which means very little of the profit goes to the local economy and cruise operators have a history of bad waste management. If you luuuuurve the ocean then don’t cruise.
4. Keep your energy and consumption in hostels/hotels to a minimum. Develop good habits and act as you would at home. Turn off the lights, air-con, TV when you leave the room and re-use towels and sheets.
5. Water is myyyyyy precious. Keep showers short and turn off the water when you brush your teeth. Re-use water bottles to minimise waste.
6. When getting around the city or town, consider walking or cycling to your destination. These are great ways to get to know the place on a more personal level, will help you get your bearings and who knows, you might even stumble across some hidden secret spots!
7. Act like a local, eat like a local, shop locally and support the local economy as much as you can. Get culturally immersed, connect with the places you’re visiting and I promise you’ll have a much more rewarding and authentic travel experience.
8. Eat local produce and avoid food that’s likely to have been transported in. Straight from the ground to your mouth means it’s healthier, costs less and is far better for the environment.
9. Spastic plastic bags. Avoid plastic bags when shopping; put shopping in your backpack or reuse plastic bags. When you go hiking recycle a plastic bag to put your rubbish in. Do not, by any means, let the plastic bags go into the ocean, turtles mistake them for jellyfish and eat them.
10. Speak up and educate others. If your hostel doesn’t recycle let them know they should in their feedback section. If you see some inconsiderate bastard throw rubbish on the ground, grow some balls and tell them they shouldn’t. Educate fellow travellers to be a green traveller as much as possible so we are all on the same, tree-hugging page!
11. Consider booking a “Green Hotel”. I know it’s hard to tell if a hotel is eco-friendly but there are a couple of websites (including TripAdvisor) that are enabling us to make choices based on the green practices of the hotel. I particularly like bookdifferent who show both carbon footprint and eco-friendliness ratings and are powered by booking.com which means they cover hostels too.
Now that we’re all skipping across fields holding hands and growing our dreadlocks long, on behalf of sexy mammacita Earth, thank you!