2 March 2017
In the present reality of climate change, everything has to change for the better. The way people do things that is. And that includes travel. There are more than 7 steps to becoming a better traveller and this could take years but start here, start small. There is more and more talk about responsible travel and sustainable tourism and you too can play a small but vital role in alleviating your human impact on the stressed Earth when you next travel…
Try these 7 steps to becoming a better traveller and maybe you can convert your family and friends too:
- Say no to any wildlife products including flora: just don’t buy anything that was once alive and endemic to that country you are visiting. Illegal wildlife trafficking is a global issue and one that is contributing to the decimation of our wild animals and plants. Rhino horns, ivory, shells, animal furs, shoes and bags made from animal skins, hats made from wolf fur…. The list goes on. Do not support the trade, full stop.
- Say no to plastic: when you are thirsty, drink water from a recyclable glass bottle or carry a backpack with a water carrier inside it. Drink coconut water when in the tropics. Carry your own recyclable bags for your shopping that you can reuse every day. Think about all the plastic that ends up in the ocean, killing marine wildlife and think about the way plastic is manufactured, creating pollution all over the world. If you want to buy coffee takeaways and other drinks, use your own cups.
- Avoid air travel, use public transport: visit a place by rail, boat, bicycle and bus. Flying raises huge pollution and greenhouse gas issues. Go the most direct route to your destination and if you have to travel, rather go overseas less often. Use public transport or hire a small car to get around, so learning about the local way of life and the people’s cultures.
- Support Responsible Travel where you “travel to natural areas that conserve nature and sustain the wellbeing of local people.” Support Sustainable Tourism where you only book into establishments that use environmentally-friendly practices, employ local people and protect the local cultural and natural heritage. This applies to tour operators or travel agents too – only use those who have an environmental ethic and believe in responsible travel.
- Support the local economy: don’t buy Chinese curios in Africa – rather buy authentic African goods that you know will support a family or an artist’s future. The real artists need the money to support their economy. Stay in community owned or managed camp sites and lodges and eat at community restaurants.
- Don’t litter and take your rubbish with you: especially if you are visiting a protected wilderness area. Always use designated rubbish bins and try to recycle wherever possible.
- Learn the local rules about etiquette when being a tourist: never leave the trail when on a nature walk; never photograph people unless you have their permission; never feed wild animals or captive animals; never use gestures that may be deemed rude; always be kind and considerate when in someone else’s country.