Sustainable travel is a big concern these days as we all face the effects of climate change and overcrowding. Our favorite destinations worldwide are over run. Our individual carbon footprint soars every time we take a flight. We can’t count on our governments to make sound decisions to protect our planet and its most beloved and sacred places, so we have to increase our awareness and make thoughtful individual decisions.
Decreasing plane travel is very important. While I am not ready to give it up, I am committed to having most of my adventures be locally based. Carbon offset plans are better than doing nothing to compensate for the emissions created by flying and there are various ways to buy them. The Ethical Consumer recommends buying them directly from individual projects. You can invest in Gold Standard alternative energy projects or in climate change education by Skeptical Science who promote crowd sourced projects, or find other good projects.
Short flights are the worst polluters and they can be avoided by substituting train or bus travel. Considering the time it takes to get to the airport and through security, alternate means of travel is not that much more time consuming. Avoiding layovers and flying direct is another way to reduce emissions while flying as take off and landing is where the most emissions are produced. Flying economy produces less emissions per person, as fewer people in business and first class costs more in terms of emissions. Choose the most efficient airlines when possible.
Pressure your airlines and give feedback. Ask about their policies regarding emissions, carbon offset, and technology investing, since public opinion can guide policy.
Be a minimal polluter. Try to avoid plastic, especially straws, which are the single most found plastic pollution in the ocean and on beaches. Buy a bamboo or metal straw and keep it with you always. Always remember to ask waiters not to include a straw when you are ordering a drink, and pressure restaurants and hotels to discontinue the use of plastic straws. And handing out paper straws can be an inexpensive but educational gift.
Avoid single use plastic water bottles. I like soft, flexible, collapsible water bottles. I can fill a lot of these when I am at a source of good water and when they are empty they don’t take up space or add much weight. When I stay somewhere for a few days, I buy a large water bottle and then decant into my small portable containers for every day use.
Don’t bring plastic wrap or waste with you on a trip. Remove microtrash from your possessions before packing. Purchase your needed items with as little packing as possible and pressure companies to reduce the use of plastic and styrafoam.
Destinations and Tours
Consider your destination. We are never going to see everything in our lifetime, consider enjoying more out of the way places and less visited wonders. You can opt to go to places that are farther from the beaten track, bring your tourist dollars to places that don’t get as many, and avoid contributing to the crowds at the main sites. Consider travel in the off season if possible.
Once at your destination stay in locally owned places and eat local food. Large chains often have damaging practices. Consider your travel in terms of overall impact as well as enjoyment. If you are traveling with a group or going on a tour, a small reputable company can often offer low impact, locally sourced accommodations and activities that positively benefit the communities visited.
Journey for Purpose is a perfect example of a small company offering quality tours in a sustainable way, using locally owned accommodations, locally sourced foods, local guides, and local transportation, and promoting close, lasting, and intimate relationships with locals.
Several of our trips involve the ocean, including our upcoming Belize trip in March 2020. It is up to all of us to be protect our ocean by being as thoughtful as possible.
Protect the Ocean and Coral Reefs
It is important to choose your sunscreen carefully so that you are not bringing toxic ingredients into the water, especially near coral reefs. Look at the ingredients and avoid oxybenzone, octinoxate, or avobenzone. Cover up and wear a rash guard which will reduce your need for sunscreen. Avoid sprays as some of the drops will land on the the sand and make their way into the water. Use a mineral sunscreen with non-nano zinc oxide or titanium oxide as the main ingredient. Apply your sunscreen at least 15 minutes before swimming so that the sunscreen can absorb fully into your skin and not wash off into the water where it can damage corals.
We have a beautiful world and we want to explore it. Journey for Purpose is committed to adventure travel that educates, uplifts, and inspires us to be all that we can be. The world needs us to be more than we have been. Join us for an inspirational trip. Natural beauty, a supportive group, outdoor adventures, community building activities, intimate and long lasting relationships with locals, fabulous food….these are the hallmarks of our trips.
Belize Early Bird Special!
Sign up now for Belize 2020 and get $300 off! March 29- April 6. We are visiting very out of the way places and remote locations including a small island in an offshore coral atoll, which is largely unspoiled. $2945 is an all inclusive price for food, beach cabin accommodations, kayak and gear rental, tours, and entrance fees. Alcohol and tips not included.