Sustainable Travel: seize the memories, depart with footprints
Travel helps us enhance our experiences and appreciate our differences. Travelling is good until it does not harm the nature, economy, and culture of the destination.
Undoubtedly, travelling affects our environment. It is the easiest way to pollute the planet and leave a big carbon footprint. What to do when you want to travel and don’t want to leave such a mark? Through Sustainable travel, you can enjoy the wonders of the world while leaving minimum carbon footprints.
What is Sustainable Travel?
Sustainable travel involves a strong commitment to nature, social responsibility and the integration of local citizens in any tourist destination. It is about valuing the environment, without harming the natural and cultural environment. For sustainable travel, it is essential to adapt to the place where you visit.
Sustainable travel motivates visitors to value local people, their culture, religion, and create revenue for local businesses. Such travel creates a positive impact on destination, nature, and society. It includes major three areas that are human welfare, animal welfare, and nature preservation. Such travel encourages protecting the environment and promoting environment-friendly products.
How can we make tourism more sustainable?
To preserve the environment from getting deteriorate; each traveller must understand their responsibility toward the place where they are visiting. Following are the ways for sustainable travel and to become a more responsible tourist:
- Travel slow
The journey matters more than the destination. If you are conscious about sustainable travel and don’t want to leave the carbon-footprints then you should avoid the plane and choose the train either. Greta Thunberg has already set an example by making a carbon-neutral, trans-Atlantic journey on a sailboat.
Slow travel is about moving by foot or bike rather than plane and car, so one can absorb the landscape without harming it. Along with the more profound sense of the place, you can also contribute to eliminating carbon footprint.
- Think Local-
It is better to spend in a way that reaches local peoples. While Travelling, try to rely on locally-owned businesses whether it is restaurant or accommodations. While shopping, try to buy more locally made craft, buying from them makes a certain contribution to their economy. However, it will generate more employment for local people.
- Practice zero-waste travel-
Instead of buying bottled water, we use a refillable water bottle, packing a reusable bag instead of using plastic bags, reusing wherever possible, unplugging chargers when they’re not being used and turning off lights. Do a multiple-time check when cleaning up your campsite, to make sure you have taken all your waste.
- Research about your travel-guide-
On the trek, you will have to act according to your guide, so make sure whether the policy of your guide is eco-friendly or not. Otherwise, you will no longer travel sustainably. Make sure the guide should belong to the company who practices environment friendly, protect and support wildlife or cultural heritage. Hire a local guide instead of any company; this will help to generate employment of the people.
- Say no to illegal trade-
Spend your resources more responsibly by purchasing stuff from local people which also leads to circulating of money among the local people. Try to patronize businesses which do not have involvement in any illegal trade practice (exploitation of children, unethical trade practices, etc.) and looting of antiquities. Spend wisely!
How to reduce your carbon footprint when you travel?
Tourism is accountable for approximately 8% of the world’s carbon-emission and accountable for climate change. The researchers estimate that worldwide tourism will raise carbon emissions to about 6.5Gt by 2025. We can not eliminate the carbon footprint but can lower it with the help of the following points:
- Take longer vacations-
It is better for the environment if you take a longer holiday. The longer you have the vacations, the less you will fly each year. Try to take alternatives to flight (bus, train, and ships, etc.)
- Use public transit-
Walk, take a bike, and use public transport instead of a cab to get to your next location. Taking public transport is the better way to interact with local peoples.
- Offset your carbon footprint-
Carbon offsetting is used to pay compensation for your emissions by funding equivalent carbon dioxide saving techniques. The carbon offsetting projects also provide benefits in addition to carbon reduction, such as education, jobs, food security and health & well-being in developing countries.
What is the Leave no trace policy?
It is a way to camp and trek where you make the area better than you found it. You pack out all trash, disperse your fire ashes and bury your human wastes. Real outdoor enthusiasts would always do that and left the camp area cleaner than it was.
Leave no trace is a term used by hikers and campers, predominantly, meaning to not leave behind you trash, defecation, toilet paper, food or damage. If you bring it in, take it out. Followings are the point which you should consider while leaving the place in a better state than you found it-
- Take back what you bring-
From the mountains, you should always take back your trash to the cities which have a process to destroy it. Mountains don’t have proper trash management, so you should try to bring minimum packaged items to the place. Try to repackage the food to minimize the trash. Although, you should not only bring back what you have taken but also the litter you found in the place.
- Keep fire to a minimum-
Before making fire, always make sure that fire is permitted to the place or not. Campfires leave permanent marks on the landscape. Instead of lighting a campfire, try to carry a camping stove with yourself. If you lit the fire, then make it small and always blow out while leaving the place.
- Bring eco-friendly product-
While on a trek, try to carry reusable stuff. Don’t bring any disposable plates and spoons, and this will ease the number of plastics which you have to take back with yourself. Also, bring only those tooth-paste and creams, which are organic so that you don’t leave behind any harmful chemicals.
- Dispose of waste properly-
Dump solid human waste in cat-holes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet away from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cat hole when finished. Try to avoid using wet wipes as they are not biodegradable at this temperature. These wipes stay after for years and filtrate harmful chemical soil.
- Avoid polluting water sources-
Water is a crucial element to live a life, and it should be used with utmost care. While on trekking, one should not contaminate the water by urinating into it, washing utensils, and bathing. One should strictly take care of the activities which directly or indirectly polluting the source of water.
- Leave natural objects and cultural antiquities-
Natural stuff such as horns, antique wood and tinted rocks add to the temper of the rural areas, and it ought to be left so others can experience it too. There are few locations which strictly prohibited removing natural objects and induced hefty fines. Although, it is also unethical to remove or disturb cultural antiquities, historic sites, and archaeological sites, etc.
Sustainable Travel is the need of the hour! We can not undo what we have done but we can change our travelling habits so that our future generations can enjoy the perks of nature! So let’s pledge Togedr to be a more Sustainable Traveller for a better future.