Go Green while Traveling this Summer
Summer is finally here in the western hemisphere which for millions means that it’s time to get the suitcase out of the cupboard, pack it with shorts and t-shirts and head off for a well-deserved break. Today we want to highlight the importance of taking our ‘green’ environmentally-conscious side with us too if we are traveling this summer.
The UN has declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development which has the ambitious goal of changing policies, business practices and consumer behavior towards a more sustainable tourism sector. In their words: “This is a unique opportunity to raise awareness of the contribution of sustainable tourism to development among public and private sector decision-makers and the public.” They aim to take it all a step further and mobilize “all the relevant stakeholders” involved, so that together these necessary positive changes in the sector towards sustainability can be made.
“Given the size of the tourism industry, it is clear to see why the need for going green as we travel this summer is so important.
When we consider the sheer scale of this industry, it becomes clear why the UN Assembly designated 2017 as the Year of Sustainable Tourism. Consider some facts and figures: The tourism sector accounts for 7 % of total world exports and 30 % of world services exports – this totaled US$ 1.5 trillion back in 2015 which works out as 10 % of world GDP. It also accounts for the largest export category in many developing countries.
This year, much is planned to be done on a global scale as the five keys areas set forth are addressed. These include areas such as sustainable economic growth, employment and poverty reduction, environmental protection and climate change, heritage and mutual understanding. You can check out the official Sustainable Tourism for Development website to read all the innovative ideas that are being shared, as well as the resources that are offered.
“Greening our summer vacation does not take too much work, neither does it mean we will enjoy our time less!
Eco travel and responsible traveling are new buzz words to describe practices that are becoming increasingly popular. These are basically trips which prioritize the minimizing of impacts on the environment, and the message behind them is clear: You can go green on vacation without too much effort and still have a great time.
Here are a few tips for greener traveling this summer:
- Choose accommodation that is more environmentally friendly. Many hotels today list their green practices on their websites which often involve innovative and original ways of saving energy, recycling or using renewable energy.
- Choose greener transport. Recently we spoke about how the summer period is the perfect time to use greener transport, such as using public transport, and exploring your destination on foot or by bike. Certain car rental companies today even offer hybrids for the more environmentally conscious.
- Forget that plastic water bottle and take a reusable one instead. (There is already enough plastic that humans throw away each year to circle the Earth four times!).
- And last of all, ”Leave wherever you are staying or visiting better than you found it.”
So, whether we will be vacationing to the beach or the mountains, visiting a bustling city or getting away from it all at a peaceful hideaway, make sure that we are protecting the environment at the same time, by always doing all we can not to impact it in a negative way.