It’s Earth Day today, a day to celebrate the magnificence of our planet but also a day to reflect on our impact as humans on the well-being of our planet. We haven’t been doing a very good job, but it’s never too late to improve our ways, be more aware of the delicate balance of our environment and contribute to sustaining the marvellous treasures our planet has to offer for future generations. I strongly believe that travel increases awareness and teaches us many new things about our world and its people. Unfortunately, the flip side of travelling is increased pollution in the air, on the ground and in the seas.
As travellers, we are just as responsible for the local environment as the people who live there. Our contribution to keeping the environment pristine lies in the small deeds, which we should practise wherever we are. When added up, these small every day deeds make the biggest difference. I’ve listed below ten examples of small deeds which can help us make a difference.
- When booking a hotel, opt for eco-conscious hotels wherever possible. Note though that not all hotels are as eco-conscious as they promote themselves to be. Do an extra background check. What are the hotel’s eco-friendly efforts? Do they make a contribution to sustaining the environment or help the community’s sustainable practices? Is the hotel certified as eco-friendly by an independent environmental organisation?
- When booking a flight ticket, check if the airline offers a CO2 emission compensation programme. You may opt to make a contribution to the programme.
- If you’re hiring a car, choose one with the least CO2 emissions, such as hybrids, wherever possible.
- In your hotel, re-use the towels by hanging them up after use.
- Another hotel tip: re-use the sheets. Housekeeping often changes the sheets every day. You could, for instance, leave a note requesting them to just make up the bed without changing the sheets.
- Save water by having a quick shower instead of a lengthy soak.
- Get a sturdy water bottle which you can re-fill instead of buying new bottles of water every day. Some hotels have coffee/tea-making facilities in the room. Use the kettle to boil water in the morning and re-fill your water bottle in the evenings.
- When out on the road and there are no rubbish bins around, take your trash with you and dispose them back at the hotel.
- If you’re hiking through a forest, stay on the path to avoid damaging the flora.
- Purchase rechargeable batteries for your electronic appliances if possible. Avoid disposing empty batteries in ordinary bins, instead look for special battery recycling collection bins. If you can’t find them at your destination, bring the batteries back with you and dispose them at your local battery recycling collection point.
This list is by no means exhaustive. Should you have more eco-conscious travel tips, please feel free to share them here.