12 Habits We Can Quit For More Eco-Friendly Travels

12 Habits We Can Quit For More Eco-Friendly Travels

Yikes! Air travel is a big contributing factor to the world’s worsening climate. What now?

Consider this: one of the four most effective ways to decrease your carbon footprint is to abandon air travel altogether.

And it doesn’t come as any surprise; Forbes recently reported that “flights are a notorious source of gas emissions.” In fact, most means of transport result in gas emissions, which are harmful to the Earth.

But as travellers, it’s almost impossible to consider a world without, well… travel. Imagine a world devoid of road trips and train rides. Bye-bye to boarding aeroplanes and hopping on boats. It just won’t do.

So what do you do? Luckily for us, there are other ways of helping save the Earth we enjoy exploring so much. As adventurers, we turn to sustainable, eco-friendly travel. While this is a “buzz term” many brands now enjoy throwing around carelessly, it’s time we actually put words into action. You may want to start with kicking bad habits.

1. Riding and boarding away

Since we are on the topic of burning too much fossil fuel (therefore releasing harmful gases into the atmosphere), here’s another reminder that will benefit your health, too. If and when you can, walk.

Walking is the greenest, healthiest way of getting to where you want to be. So every chance you get, walk, run, hike or swim! You can also ride a bicycle.

2. Getting stuck in the ‘single-use’ mindset

Remember the three Rs of clean living — reduce, reuse, recycle? There’s a reason why it’s still said today. A big chunk of pollution is caused by single-use materials that we carelessly dispose of. Sadly, most of these materials take centuries to decompose. And some don’t at all.

According to a study by the US National Park Service, Americans use 500 million plastic drinking straws DAILY. Imagine how much of that makes it into our seas. And that’s just one country and one plastic product. What about all the rest? So next time you opt for takeout, consider how much single-use waste you’ll be producing. If you can carry around an airtight snack box or a refillable water container for times when you can’t avoid food to-go, all the better.

3. Printing documents

Travellers carry a lot of documents, from airline tickets to boarding passes and even visa requirements. Although there are some companies that use recycled ink and paper, they’re just a handful. This is why we should still make it a point to go paperless whenever we are given the chance. Save the trees. Better yet, go plant some when you can, too.

4. Wasting water

Some places in the world don’t even have access to clean, drinking water. So consider yourself extremely blessed that you have an abundance of it. Drink every glass down to the last drop. Don’t leave the faucet running when you brush your teeth or wash your hands. Same goes for the shower.

5. Throwing trash in the wrong places

This is too basic, it’s kind of embarrassing that people still need reminding. Louder, please, for the ones at the back: There are PROPER places for disposing of garbage. Most trash bins are labelled, too, so you’ll remember how to separate your waste.

6. Using personal care products laden with chemicals that harm the environment

Do you know what’s in your sunblock? Have you ever thought of how those chemicals affect marine life? What about your cologne? Your makeup? Let’s be honest. It’s difficult for most of us to get rid of personal care products we’ve grown accustomed to using, especially when they’re effective. But chances are your holy grail products will have a more eco-friendly alternative out there.

Also read: 9 Personal Care Products to Kickstart Your Eco-Friendly Travel Kit

7. Smoking

What a drag. Smoking’s bad for you and the environment. If you haven’t quit, now’s a good time to.

8. Eating too much meat

Aside from avoiding air travel, another way to effectively reduce your personal carbon footprint is to eat a largely plant-based diet. Meat production requires more natural resources (like water) and it also consumes more energy (like fuel). It also emits an unhealthy amount of methane gas into the atmosphere and this disrupts our climates.

You don’t have to quit meat. Just consider eating more greens. Plus points if you make it a point to source your meat from local farms and establishments that invest in clean energy. Also, keep in mind that eating the meat from exotic and endangered animals is a mortal sin.

9. Snorkelling or diving when you don’t know how to

Here’s the thing. If you snorkel or dive when you don’t actually don’t know how to, chances are you’ll panic in the water at some point. And this is how you’ll end up damaging coral reefs. You don’t want that on your conscience; some corals take decades to grow. So before anything else, learn from an expert and practice till you get it right.

If you’re out in open water, you can actually practice in parts where corals are sparse. Consider training in a pool, too. Normally, before you can scuba dive, you’ll be taught by professional divers in a pool, where they go through basic hand signals and breathing techniques. Staying there longer to practice more wouldn’t hurt. Also, just don’t panic underwater. You can work on swim strokes you’re most comfortable with, so you don’t move excessively while underwater.

10. Interacting with wildlife

Unless you’re at a facility that supports wildlife conservation and actually employs the professionals needed for that kind of undertaking, don’t interact with wildlife. You might be playing a role in the illegal trade of wildlife or even animal cruelty. Remember, feeding animals in the wild creates an imbalance in nature. Think before you act.

Also read: Wildlife Tourism: When Is It Ethical?

11. Buying more than you need

We humans have a tendency to get greedy and it’s costing us the beautiful world we call home. Case in point: your gadgets. If you insist on getting the latest upgrade every time a new model is released into the market, what happens to your old gadget? If you simply throw it out, then that’s no good.

Even going eco-friendly poses some problems if you get more than what you need. If you’ve banned plastic bags for life but own an infinite number of tote bags (for every look, outfit, and occasion!), then that, at one point, will definitely equate to excess waste. Also, think before you buy. Do you need it now? Will you make the most of it? Can it be reused? Can it be recycled?

12. Not caring because you’re just one person…

…and the actions of one person won’t have a big impact, right? That’s where you’re wrong. But it’s easy to get jaded in a world that consumes endlessly, in a world where one person does something just because everyone does it, too. Big change has to start somewhere. Why not let it start with you?

Just remember to spread the word and keep at it. The steps you’re taking may be tiny, but it’s progress. Travellers get to experience so much of the world. It’s just right that you protect it, too.

About Author

Alyosha Robillos
Alyosha Robillos

In Russia, Alyosha is a boy's name popularized by literary greats Dostoevsky and Tolstoy—but this particular Alyosha is neither Russian nor a boy. She is a writer from the Philippines who loves exploring the world as much as she likes staying at home. Her life's mission is to pet every friendly critter there is. When she isn't busy doing that, she sniffs out stories and scribbles away on the backs of old receipts. She is an advocate of many things: culture and heritage, the environment, skincare and snacking, to name a few. She will work for lifetime supplies of french fries and coffee. Or yogurt. Or cheese, preferably Brie.

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