By Danielle Mulligan
Welcome back! Hopefully everyone enjoyed their week off and feels rejuvenated for part two of the spring semester. Some may have stayed on campus while others may have travelled back home or to warmer places in search of actual spring-like weather. I personally love to travel when possible but struggle to balance that passion with my knowledge of the hugely negative environmental impacts of travelling. Starting from the ride to the airport and then the plane ride, I’m already leaving a huge carbon footprint! How can we become more environmentally conscious travelers?
Since we’re back at school, it may be good time to just take a pause and think about our past week. Whether we stayed in our dorms, were home or were lying on the beaches of Cancun-what are ways in which we could have made our vacation time a little more eco-friendly?
Here are some tips from my own travel experiences and from the travel section in “The Green Book”-a book filled with different tips on how to change habits in all areas of our lives.
- If you are traveling to a place where tap water is not safe to drink, purchase a plaster water bottle with a filter. It may seem a bit more expensive at first, but buying plastic bottles at every stop adds up and the environmental impact is huge!
- Look for alternative forms of transportation! Take a train instead of a plane. Walk instead of taking a taxi or renting a car-you are in a new place, and if it’s walkable why not take that extra time to be outside and explore a little?
- Bring a reusable bag for any of your shopping trips to the markets stalls or stores wherever you are visiting.
- Try adventure travel or eco-tourism –not only does eco-tourism generally have a much smaller negative impact on the environment, it also frequently channels money to positive environmental initiatives.
- Pack your own shampoo, soap and toothpaste and leave the hotels mini-bottles untouched. To give some perspective, a 300-room hotel in Las Vegas uses more than 150,000 plastic bottles of shampoo a year!