It’s a small world after all
We are a wanderlust generation programmed for storytelling. We cross oceans and timezones in search of beauty, adventure, perspective – and we carry the devices to chronicle and share our experiences with increasingly connected audiences. Our journeys change us. They also change the environments that allow us to be here. Below are some simple ways to help you explore while remaining mindful of your journey’s impact on the health of our planet and the life-giving ecosystem covering 70% of it: the oceans.
Ask yourself — How will I get there?
The world’s first scheduled passenger airline service took off on January 1,1914. A little more than a century later, transcontinental flights are routine. To see a vessel of aluminum, plastic and seated humans hurtling through the sky is about as shocking as seeing a bird. Trans-ocean journeys that once took months now take hours, and at affordable fares. But at what unseen cost?
2019 is forecast to be another record-breaking year for air travel, with passengers expected to fly a total of 8.1tn km, up 5% from last year and more than 300% since 1990. The aviation sector currently accounts for about 2% of global emissions, and is one of the fastest-growing polluters.
That said, if you must fly, take a direct flight and stay a while. Regardless of how you get there, offset your travel footprint— there are fantastic apps and services out there to help you do this.
According to the International Air Transport Association, airlines produced 5.2 million tons of waste in 2016 and will produce over 10 million tons annually by 2030. Not to mention the waste created from single-use hotel shampoos, soap, and other disposables that you may find along the way.
Plan ahead and think of the planet while you do so.
Pack to reduce plastic use — Bring your own bag, bottle, reusable cutlery, and toiletries.
Reef-friendly sunscreen — A must. Read about more here.
Keep it light — Less weight means fewer CO2 emissions from the flight. Not to mention that less baggage gives you more freedom to explore.
Traveler Dos and Don’ts
Explore to protect, not exploit — Respect the culture of the communities you visit and find ways to give back. Approach your travels with a beginner’s mind and a desire to learn.
Rethink your geotags and practice social media responsibility — If a place has the infrastructure to support a crowd, spread the word. If it doesn’t, be mindful and tag a general location instead. We can choose to be intentional in the way we use technology and what types of messages we spread. Also, think about what your images represent before posting. More on this.
Eat locally — Be mindful of what you order at restaurants, especially while visiting remote islands. When things need to be imported long-distances they leave a huge CO2 footprint behind.
Don’t disturb the wildlife.
Leave no trace — and certainly no plastic!
For more Tips — 31 ways to Help fix this picture