TURN OVER A GREEN LEAF WITH THESE TRAVEL TIPS!
Becoming an eco-savvy traveller will not only help you to reduce your carbon footprint; it may save you money; and if properly applied, the core principles of ecotourism can stimulate financial growth in developing economies.
Traveling to your holiday destination is without a doubt the ‘Bigfoot’ of carbon emissions, followed by other forms of transport and a host of modern lifestyle practices. (Note: Air travel should soon be much greener with the development of sustainable aviation biofuel, which is already being produced in South Africa and the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) aiming to reduce energy demand from the national grid and harnessing solar power is part of its vision for 2025 to 2030). If you are an intrepid tourist, the negative impact of traveling can’t be avoided, but there are effective ways to tip the scale in the other direction, offsetting your carbon emissions and thus neutralising your footprint. The Food and Trees for Africa (FTFA) initiative, for instance, makes use of your donation to plant fruit and indigenous trees in schools, clinics and impoverished areas. Start by calculating your carbon footprint by using the carbon calculator on the FTFA website (listed under ‘Resources”, below).
There are many other ways in which you can shrink your carbon footprint. Opt for a hotel that makes use of solar energy and/or promotes recycling, use public transport or walk instead of driving. Whether you are taking baby steps or bounding ahead as an eco-warrior on a green mission, it starts with an attitude. Why not decide today to help make the grass greener, proverbially-speaking, wherever you may be.
Another excellent green initiative, the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI), empowers diners to check whether the Catch of the Day on the menu is a responsible choice or not. Text your choice to the cell number below (see ‘Resources’) and within minutes you will know whether the fish you are eyeing on the menu is a sustainable species or not. See the SASSI colour chart at the bottom of this page or download the App to become a greener diner today.
Become eco-savvy today with this easy list:
- LIGHTEN YOUR LOAD
By packing lightweight clothing you can save on baggage fees and increase the plane’s fuel efficiency. Choose drip-dry fabrics to save on tumble-drying and ironing – this saves not only energy but time!
- WAX WATER WISE
Have shorter showers and don’t keep the tap running while you brush your teeth. Hang up your towels to re-use them for a few days. Avoid using hotel laundries as they wash guests’ clothes separately, even if there are only a few items – this practise wastes a lot of water and energy.
- BE BRIGHT WHEN IT COMES TO LIGHTS
Save energy by switching off the lights, air conditioner and other electronics before leaving your hotel room.
Ditch using disposable products. Use alternatives to plastic razors and throw-away cleansing wipes. Use a refillable BPA-free water bottle, hold onto your trash for recycling and ask your hotel concierge where you can find the nearest recycling depot.
- OPT FOR ORGANIC
Use eco-friendly toiletries and detergents. These are not only kinder to the environment, but much gentler on your skin/less abrasive to surfaces.
- BE PICKY ABOUT PACKAGING
Pick paper over plastic and polystyrene. Note the difference between recycled and recyclable material. The latter means that it can be recycled, whereas the former indicates that the packaging has been recycled. Brush up on your knowledge of green initiatives and logos.
- LEARN TO LOVE LOCAL
Imported produce has a much greater impact on the environment, so make an effort to support local producers and manufacturers where possible. Seek out local artists and crafters to buy gifts and souvenirs. This also stimulates the local economy.
- LEAVE ONLY FOOTPRINTS (NOT OF THE CARBON VARIETY)
Resist the urge to pick flowers or damage native flora. Take a bag along for rubbish and why not collect litter along your journey. This also sets a great example for the younger generation, so your act of green will have a ripple effect.
- BE TRANSFORMED FROM A TOURIST TO A TRAVELER
Take time to immerse yourself in local music, art and cuisine. Embrace the cultural differences that make your destination unique. Chat to the locals and learn from them, rather than spending all your time in malls.
- SLOW DOWN
Drive slower. It is safer, you will save on fuel (carbon emissions), and you will get to enjoy the scenery more.
- PASS ON THE PAPER
When shopping, opt to have your receipt emailed to you. Choose electronic billing and pay online when possible. Yes, it does use electricity but the impact is far less damaging than the cutting down of trees for the production of paper.
- BECOME A SAVVY SHOPPER
Read labels! Do not buy products made from endangered species, non-sustainable hardwoods, shells, corals or ancient artefacts. Even if it is permissible to buy them, ask yourself: “Does it come from a sustainable source?” Buy curios and gifts made from recycled materials.
FTFA Carbon Calculator: www.trees.co.za/carbon-offset/carbon-calculator.html.
SASSI FISHMS Service: 079-499-8795
Download the SASSI App. Find links to Google Play or the Apple App Store here: http://wwfsassi.co.za/sassi-app/
Note to Gaylene: I am waiting for the SASSI logo etc. I will email this through.
Key for SASSI:
Green – Best choice
Orange – Think Twice!
Red – Don’t order.