Once aware of your impact on the planet, you can make lifestyle changes which introduce environmental practices into your everyday life, and travel experiences.
As a rule:
Refuse - excess packaging, plastic bags, bottles and any other wasteful or polluting practices
- Reduce - your own carbon footprint, and the amount of waste you create
- Re-use - everything from printing on both sides of the paper, to re-using plastic bottles or recognizing that your trash may be someone else's treasure.
- Recycle - Some glass, plastic, metals and paper can be recycled. If it can - recycle it. And use your purchasing power to buy goods made from recycled materials.
Eco tips for everyday:
Become an eco-traveller
- Reduce your energy consumption with new-generation compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).
- Switch to 100% accredited ‘Green Power' electricity, or choose natural gas over electricity (from coal-fired power stations).
- Minimise your water consumption - turn the tap off when you brush your teeth, fix leaks, collect rain water for watering the garden, sweep not hose the cement paths, etc.
- Use rugs and add a layer of clothing before turning on the heat.
- Turn the air conditioner off at night when it cools down.
- Choose energy-conserving appliances
- Turn off appliances at the wall when you aren't using them
- Minimise the chemicals you use in your home
- Say no to plastic.
- Choose biodegradable products.
- Eat organic foods.
- Reduce junk and paper mail - Remove your name from paper mailing lists, opt for online bank statements and bills, and subscribe to email rather than paper deal alerts.
- Volunteer in your community.
- Support charitable causes that matter to you, the environment and the community.
Minimise your environmental impact, but maximise your connection with people, communities and nature.
- Offset the carbon from your travel. It helps compensate for any unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions you create.
- Fly direct if you can.
- Reduce the number of flights you take each year: take fewer but longer holidays.
- Choose to fly on more modern, fuel efficient aircraft if you have a choice.
- Fly economy - the more people on the flight the lower per-person carbon footprint.
- Be aware of local history, culture and customs of the locals before arriving.
- Walk or ride a bike to your destination - not only will it reduce your carbon footprint, but you'll increase your fitness and allow a pace and style that puts you in closer touch with nature.
- Rent a hybrid car.
- If driving, choose biofuels - eco-friendly alternatives to petrol, diesel and LPG gas made from not-so-long-ago living plants or animals, or manure.
- Travel by train or other public transportation or carpool whenever possible, and use hotel shuttle services (why? Because the carbon footprint is smaller, and is split up between all of the passengers.)
On the ground:
- Travel armed with local knowledge, some local language which will be appreciated by locals and enrich your experience.
- Volunteer for conservation activities.
- Buy local and meet the locals. Locally owned restaurants, pubs, B&Bs, and stores provide opportunities to support the local economy and get to know the locals.
- Dispose of your rubbish properly, especially at cooler, higher altitudes, where it takes much longer to biodegrade. Recycling may not be an option on the road, so take it home to recycle if need be.
- Bring your own bottle of water and reuse or recycle it.
- Eat fresh, locally harvested produce from farmers markets. Avoid fast food.
- Minimise your impact on fragile places: don't stray from designated tracks or boardwalks in rainforests. Otherwise you may damage delicate plant life or cause erosion.
- Don’t feed animals in the wild.
- When reef diving or snorkeling, don’t touch the coral.
- Don’t touch or feed marine life.
- Never chase or ride marine animals.
- Avoid exploiting the local people or environment and make sure you’re not unwittingly encouraging trade in endangered animals, avoid buying: Ivory,tortoiseshell, Reptile, fur and skins, some corals and seashells.
Tips to become a "greener" hotel guest
- Choose a "green' hotel
- Opt not to have your sheets and towels changed (and therefore laundered) every day.
- When you are not in your room, turn off the lights, radio, TV, and heating/cooling.
- Participate in any recycling or charity efforts the hotel offers.
- If the hotel provides complimentary newspapers, once read and share or recycle them.
- Leave unopened amenities in the room.
- Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth.
- Take short showers and skip deep baths.
- Turn off exercise machines, saunas, and other equipment when finished.
- Take only the brochures and tourist information you need and return the rest to the display racks. Or, even better, do your travel research online before you leave home.
- If the hotel has a free breakfast or happy hour, take only the food you will eat. If you have seconds, use the same utensils. If the hotel uses disposable cups, bring and use your own cup which you can wash and reuse.
- If you don't drink water with your meal, ask that the wait staff not pour you a glass.
- If the hotel already embraces green-hotel practices, thank the managers and employees and tell them you appreciate it.
- Tell others too! Write a hotel reviews when you get home singing the hotels environmental and cultural efforts.