How to travel in an ecological, ethical and responsible way? What choices should be made to encourage sustainable tourism? How can you reduce your carbon footprint and minimize its impact on the environment? What to do to preserve our beautiful planet, and what good practices to adopt to become an eco-responsible traveler? To be an eco-responsible traveler, you must respect certain rules of good conduct.
You may be able to respect your day-to-day ecological principles, however, when it comes to travel, your green soul often takes a hit, and you no longer pay attention to your energy use. Indeed, since the low-cost airlines have increased their tempting offers, people no longer hesitate to take the plane, even for a few days. And if you want to travel eco-friendly, you must reduce air travel as much as possible.
What is responsible tourism ?
If the term "ecotourism" appeared in the 1970s, its definition is more recent and was defined in 1992 by the International Ecotourism Society as "a form of responsible travel in natural spaces which contributes to the protection of the environment and the well-being of local populations." It is essentially a question of minimizing your environmental impact during your stay, by intelligently choosing your means of transport and your holiday resort.
How to become eco-responsible?
Respect the environment and local populations.
Pay attention to animal welfare: when you are traveling - especially abroad - there are often many activities involving animals. It is better to be very vigilant about what is on offer and completely ban activities that involve animals or that allow physical contact with the animal. No more elephant rides, no cuddling tigers, no sharks approaching... Even when you yourself go to meet animals in their natural habitat , the golden rule is to speak in a low voice to not frighten them, and not to feed them because this changes their diet and can even be fatal.
Do not throw waste in nature: no garbage around? No problem, always have a garbage bag with you so as not to leave our waste on site! Likewise, don't hesitate to pick up other people's waste in order to do a little bit for the environment when you go for a walk.
Adapt to the local culture: it is better to learn about traditions and beliefs before leaving in order to avoid cultural clash. Likewise, it is important to document the behaviors to adopt in order to not shock the local populations. Making the effort to learn basic words in the local language is also a good way of integration.
Favor eco-responsible accommodation
Camping: what could be better than sleeping under the stars in a hammock or in a tent? As long as no waste are left, it is a great way to commune with nature.
Sleeping with locals: whether organized or spontaneous, it is always an opportunity rich in exchanges and warmth. Couchsurfing makes it possible!
Practice Wwoofing: in exchange for a few hours of work per day on farms, you can # get free board and lodging for a short or long period!
Hostels: all of these shared accommodation are by definition more environmentally friendly than a hotel room and what better place to meet people and socialize?
Choose ecological or eco-responsible rentals and accommodations: several eco-responsibility labels now allow several criteria to be taken into account regarding commitment environment of the accommodation.
Finally, as a traveler, we must not forget that it is also our duty to implement certain simple actions such as taking short showers or turning off the light or the air conditioning when leaving your room.
Boost the local economy
Sustainable tourism also involves the choice of activities when traveling. Take advantage of your stay to immerse yourself in the local culture, practice activities depending on where you are staying, buy local or eat local. So many small gestures that help contribute to the local economy.
Intelligent travel by plane
6% of global pollution comes from the air. I know the plane allows us to open up to the world and sometimes reach destinations that are otherwise inaccessible. To avoid having to leave your travels halfway around the world, you won't be able to ignore your air travel either, but you can reduce your carbon footprint opting for direct flights, and by not taking the plane for trips of less than 15 days. If you take the plane there is a way to "buy back" your carbon emissions, we call that carbon offsetting or voluntary offsetting.
Go zero waste
Refuse: in shops, restaurants, accommodation, transport, you can be be offered samples, bags, leaflets… Is this really necessary? Say no to the accumulation of unnecessary items.
Reduce: only keep the essential. Reuse: a tote bag, a alluminium water bottle, no plastic straws, plates or glasses.
Recycle: privilege items with a recyclable packaging.
Compost: the advantage of eating a mostly plant-based diet is that most of what you eat can be composted!
My goal is not to tell you that you have to stop traveling, because travel is awesome and remains great tool for raising awareness. You don't have to choose between travel and ecology, you just have to review your ways to travel! Every action has an impact! We do not need 1 person to do it perfectly, but thousand of people to do it imperfectly.
Lots of Love, Valerie & Alex