It’s no surprise that the world is in a very delicate state right now. Not just politically but also environmentally. It’s a proven fact that we are having more warm days than cold days and the polar ice caps are melting at a growing pace. (Global Climate Change, NASA) The need to take action to help counteract global warming is critical not just in our own backyard but also while we visit other parts of the world. Respecting all the environments and nurturing them will not only give back to us but future generations as well.
Here in the United States we have some of the most beautiful landscapes and habitats in the world. I’m a firm believer that staying connected to our surroundings helps keep us grounded and connected with the planet we call home. In order to maintain that connection we must experience all that mother nature has to offer by traveling to different parts of both our country and the rest of the world. However, during our travels it’s crucial to remember to be respectful of the environment and to avoid inadvertently doing more harm than good . I like to live by the mantra, “leave it better than you found it”. Today, May 22 has been dubbed International Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism Day by a collaboration between Upfluence and the UN.
The idea to be more sustainable while traveling was inspired by the concept of committing to a sustainable development that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) established during the Convention of Biological Diversity in 1993. The cause institutes three main objectives:
- The conservation of biological diversity.
- The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity.
- The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.
The ultimate goal of all three objectives is to significantly reduce threats to our key wildlife populations and ecosystems while still generating tourism revenue for all economies. After learning all of that it may seem like a tall order or hassle to adapt your travel methods to a more sustainable approach. However, on an individual level you have the power to make small changes that over time will benefit environments and ecosystems. Each choice you make can have a negative or positive impact on the destination you are visiting. Ultimately we want to respect our world as it would be quite a challenge to find another one.
To help support this cause I have put together a list of how to be sustainable while traveling and to make a more positive impact on the places you travel to.
- There are a handful of first steps you make when booking a trip, one of those first steps is lodging. It may be second nature to just book a hotel immediately, maybe you have rewards points, or staying at one would reward you with some; either way, I know for some people that’s the first and only option for them in terms of lodging. For your next trip I challenge you to venture out of your comfort zone and book a place to stay through Airbnb, HomeAway, or small business owned motels. All these viable options support small local businesses that don’t negatively impact our environment like mass produced hotel companies can.
- If you are staying at either an Airbnb or HomeAway home you will most likely have a kitchen at your disposal. With access to a kitchen you then have the ability of cooking and purchasing food from the local farms or markets. Purchasing all your food local while traveling is a great way to be sustainable. You not only are supporting the local farms, you are being respectful of the environment and may even discover new local foods this way.
- If you are wanting to go out to eat occasionally during your travels it is becoming easier to find restaurants that are farm-to-table. Not only do they usually have the most fantastic meals but all their food is locally sourced.
- Transportation can be a bit tricky in terms of staying sustainable depending on where you are traveling to. Living in New York, I will always opt for my very first mode of transportation option, which is walking. If I can walk, I will walk no matter what. If walking is not a viable option, next I will look into a bike rental. Biking around can be a great way to explore the area while still being respectful of the environment. If those first two options are not available and a car rental is a must, consider rental companies that have hybrids or electrics to rent.
- Last is travel necessities. Whether I’m traveling or just running around my neighborhood I always have a reusable water bottle on me. Rather than buying plastic water bottles, always travel with a reusable bottle. Next, I don’t know about you but I like to carry snacks on me whether I’m boarding a plane or exploring the area I’m traveling to. When putting together my snacks, I make sure all foods I’m bringing are organic and local. In terms of packing and storing, glass tupperware is great along with using Bee’s Wrap to help package food items.
By making the effort to instill all these steps in your traveling, you are taking a small but necessary step towards sustainability and minimizing your carbon footprint. Join me in supporting Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism by showing your support on Thunderclap and adopting these methods for your next trip.
“Sooner or later, we will have to recognize that the Earth has rights, too, to live without pollution. What mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans.” — Evo Morales (Activist and President of Bolivia)