By Katryna Miller, Contributing Blogger
If traveling is something you love to do, you may be starting to plan your exciting trips for the year!
While you are exploring the world, you may overlook how traveling can affect the environment. Many traditional ways of traveling can be quite detrimental to our environment, causing damage to the ecosystem. We gathered four simple ways to lessen your carbon footprint while you are traveling. From better transportation, accommodations, local food, and being respectful of the places you visit, there are many small things that can make a huge impact on our environment.
One way to travel more eco-friendly is to choose modes of transportation that cause less harm to the world around you. Using public transportation, biking, or walking when possible is a great way to help the environment. Since public transportation emits fewer greenhouse gases per passenger, using this system can help reduce air pollution.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, heavy rail transit produces 76% less greenhouse gas emissions than the average car or SUV. Light rail systems will produce 62% less, and bus transit produces 33% less than average vehicles. Using these systems when possible can make a huge positive impact on our environment, and it is typically cheaper for you as the traveler, which is always a great bonus. If you choose to bike or walk, this eliminates all greenhouse gases and is a great way to stay healthy and active when you are on the go.
Another way you can stay green is to look for eco-friendly accommodations. Many hotels and resorts now use more sustainable practices than they have in the past. A simple online search will bring up many hotel options that are finding ways to stay more eco-conscious.These hotels may be using renewable energy, or have ways they reduce waste and conserve water during your stay, such as reusing towels, or finding ways to have less plastic waste from shampoo bottles.
Many of the larger chain hotels are doing their part to become more eco-friendly, making it even easier to find places to stay that you can feel good about. Some of these hotels are even starting to grow their own produce onsite, to eliminate the shipping needed to bring the food to the hotel.
Locally Sourced Food
When you are exploring a new place, try to find if there are restaurants or places to buy local and organic food. Choosing local options is more eco-friendly because the food is typically farm-to-table, which means there is less transportation of goods. Less transportation means fewer greenhouse gases emitted into the environment.
Local farmers often use more sustainable farming practices that can contribute to the health of our environment as well. These sustainable practices may include fewer pesticides and fertilizers, water conservation, or reduced soil erosion.
Leave No Trace
Wherever your travels lead you, one of the easiest ways to remain eco-friendly is to respect nature. When you’re out in nature, you want to try your best not to disturb the wildlife and animals that you may encounter. To do this, you should always stay on marked trails and use the principle of “leave no trace.” You want to leave things the same, if not better than you found them.
While you are exploring, you can help by cleaning up any trash you may find left behind by others, as well as being mindful of cleaning up after yourself and those you are traveling with.
Making small, easy changes to the way you travel will have a long-lasting impact on the future of the world and climate. Making changes in the way you get from one place to another, finding an eco-conscious hotel, trying local or organic restaurants, and being mindful of the wildlife, are four small things you can do, to do your part to help save our planet.