“When it comes to life’s adventures… never pull back on the reins.” Top: Reformation / Denim: Imogene & Willie / Bag: Rebecca Minkoff / Glasses: Madewell
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)
For as long as I can remember I have been an advocate for animals, especially man’s best friend. I grew up in a household that had at least two dogs if not more and they were more than pets, they were family. For the better part of my birthday parties growing up I would request donations to my town’s local humane society rather than presents. Needless to say my love for animals has not dwindled in the slightest. I not only have my own dog, Ajax, that I love more than life but I also got back into volunteering at an animal rescue here in Brooklyn.
When I first moved to the city with Ajax I got countless questions: “How do you manage New York with a dog?”, “Do you have to exercise him a lot?”, “What do you do if you want to go out?”, “Wow you have a big dog in the city?”. Honestly it baffled me how surprised people were that I not only had a dog living in New York but a big dog nonetheless. Maybe because I moved here with him so I was in the ‘owning a dog’ mindset but it never seemed like an issue to me. I have been able to find apartments that allow dogs easily, exercise is not a problem because we run and go to off leash hours in the park and we walk… everywhere. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like owning a dog is a walk in the park, it’s hard work and you should never impulsively get one unless you are sure you are ready. After constantly getting approached on how I manage having a dog in this city my urge to volunteer at an animal rescue came booming back.
Step in Badass Brooklyn. It’s a wonderful feeling witnessing the joy in someone’s face when they adopt a dog from Badass at one of the adoption events, it brings me back to how I felt when I first got Ajax. The constant unconditional love they give you is priceless and can bring so much to a person’s life. I’ll never forget the day I got Ajax, to this day I consider it one of the greatest moments of my life. I always knew I would get a dog due to the fact that I grew up in a dog household but I never knew what he would do for me in a time that I needed it the most. Right before I got Ajax I was at rock bottom in my life, my whole life had felt like it had fallen apart and I was being crushed by the rubble, believing there was no way out. With one last shred of hope I decided a dog may be my answer and savior. The minute I held Ajax I knew we were meant for each other. He was so relaxed in my arms and I had never experienced someone or something look at me in such a loving, devoted way. From that point forward I began to rise from the ashes of my life and slowly put things back together again because I knew I needed to be strong for Ajax and that he believed in me as cheesy as that sounds. Constantly remembering that feeling is one of the main reasons why volunteering at Badass has been so remarkable. I want others to experience that exact moment of finding unconditional love, the kind you can only truly experience and receive from a dog.
There is an endless number of animal rescues in this city, however Badass is the one that caught my eye and was recommended to me by a friend. Volunteering has not only been enjoyable and gratifying, it’s been a great way for me to connect with other animal lovers along with dog owners. Not to mention it’s beautiful seeing how happy the dogs are knowing that majority of them have not received the love they deserve so dearly. If you happen to live in the New York area and are ready to bring home a furry friend, visit Badass Brooklyn and attend an adoption event. I’ll post upcoming events along with the dogs that are available. Frankly it’s hard for me to not adopt all of them but hopefully another loving heart steps forward.
Next Adoption event is April 22nd at NYC Pet in Williamsburg. Event will take place from 12 – 2 PM, find out more on Badass’s Facebook page.