With the arrival of warmer months comes the desire to travel and see new places. However, traveling can be one of the human activities that contributes to global warming the most. The following article will guide you in making informed choices about your travel plans, allowing you to find a pleasurable escape while reducing your carbon footprint.
Stop Global Warming Travel Tip #1: Seek Out Ecotourism Opportunities
According to The International Ecotourism Society, ecotourism is defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” This concept is based on the intersection of conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. By seeking out ecotourism options, you can reduce your impact, preserving the special qualities of the places to which you were drawn in the first place.
When planning your trip, look for lodging that has a responsible environmental policy. Unfortunately, there is no uniform certification standard from which to judge and “greenwashing” can be a problem, but there are some ways you can decipher industry leaders from wannabes. First, you can start by searching the web for hotels that advertise responsible environmental practices, then either follow up with a phone call or check with a knowledgeable travel agency. Look for some kind of third-party awarded certification. Some of the more well-known certifications are: Energy Star (with a rating of at least 75/100), LEED certified building design, EU Eco-label, Green Globe (Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and expanding to the Caribbean), Green Leaf (Canada), and Sustainable Tourism Certification Network of the Americas (a joint effort of the Rainforest Alliance and The International Ecotourism Society). Some establishments may have earned recognition for some of their eco-groovy practices.
Stop Global Warming Travel Tip#2: Get There Responsibly
As the journey to your destination will probably be the most emission-intense portion of your vacation, there are several alternatives for lowering your impact. Flying is by far the most polluting option. Especially if you are traveling in a group, it is far more cost effective (both in dollars and emissions) to go by car. Whenever using a car, it is important to keep the tires inflated, ensuring that the engine need not work any harder – a practice that will reduce emissions and save cash!
Train travel, while often overlooked, is the best option when it comes to making the journey, if you can afford the time. The many benefits of train travel include: social interaction with other passengers and not having to constantly seek out eating establishments, deal with gridlock or hold any concerns about your vehicle.
Whatever transportation method you use, you may choose to offset your carbon emissions by purchasing a carbon neutralization package. This is a great way to actively stop global warming and support companies that are working towards curbing emissions. They will neutralize your carbon emissions by supporting a variety of projects that will offset the amount of carbon your travel produces. Here is one example to check out: http://www.terrapass.com
Stop Global Warming Travel Tip #3: Lower Your Tourist Impact
Once you arrive at your destination, no matter where you go, there are a number of ways you can reduce your negative tourist impact and your carbon contributions while maximizing your positive influence.
Should your travels find you in an urban setting, try depending on public transportation instead of a rented car or taxis. This will give you a taste of the true flavor of the city while saving you the hassle of navigating traffic and finding parking on foreign streets, not to mention the substantial monetary savings. Many public transit systems even offer weeklong and weekend packages for unlimited travel, a true bargain for the mobile tourist.
Save money on dining by locating the local farmer’s market. Besides providing a more authentic local experience, it can help answer such questions as: what grows here in July? Why is this town famous for its specialty cheese or its rhubarb pie? By supporting the farmer’s markets, you will get to experience fresh, delicious foods that are specific to the given region. Furthermore, purchasing locally-grown food helps reduce your so-called “food miles”, or the distance your food has traveled, a major contributor to greenhouse gases.
In the spirit of adventure, try patronizing some of the local establishments for your eating, drinking and recreational pleasure! Remember to be mindful of delicate ecosystems should your travel take you to a wilderness area. Traveling to forests, beaches, etc. is a privilege and should be treated as such to ensure that you and others can return for a special experience in the years to come. When venturing into the great outdoors, remember to pack out what you brought in, making sure to leave all places in the same condition you found them. Consider non-motorized forms of recreation such as hiking, biking, swimming, sailing or horseback riding – not only will the serenity be refreshing to your ears, but they result in fewer greenhouse gases. Remember, if it has a motor, there is a good chance it is spewing emissions into the atmosphere!