Recently the peoples of Europe and in California experienced a heat wave that seemed to last forever. Temperatures exceeded 38 Celsius / 100 Fahrenheit. California saw devastating forest fires. The heat claimed lives. For many, this is a sign that climate change is beginning to bite. Now, many are taking a long hard look at their carbon footprint and how to reduce it.
Your carbon footprint is how much your actions release CO2 into the atmosphere. The idea behind this post is to help you reduce your carbon footprint when travelling and at home.
It is believed that your average traveller’s carbon footprint is higher than when they are living at home. There are several reasons for this. You do not have the conveniences or the infrastructure as a traveller that you have at home and so it is inevitable that carbon footprint will be higher. Nonetheless, consider adopting these measures as you explore the world and enjoy your well earned vacation.
Don’t Treat Hotels Like Hotels
Although considerable improvements are being made some hotels do not follow strict guidelines on being sustainable. When planning your vacation try and stay in hotels that are LEED certified. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified hotels have sustainability built in so they are more energy efficient.
In general, try to be green when travelling. This is a good way to minimise your carbon footprint.
Also, treat your hotel as your home. Do you need it vacuuming every day and would you leave the lights, AC, and television on when you go out?
Yes you need to Fly but not all the Time
Transport is a major factor to increased carbon footprints. The most damaging of all are flights to another country and are often unavoidable. Sometimes, however, it is easier than you think to find an alternative, more carbon efficient form of transport. Many parts of Europe are accessible by train or bus. Others are accessible by ship. Simply getting the bus rather than a taxi to your hotel to and from the airport helps to fight climate change.
Use a Refillable Water Bottle When you can
Using refillable water bottles is a better option than buying plastic water bottles and throwing them away especially when you consider that in 450 years they still will not have decomposed. Although some parts of the world tap water is unsafe to drink and you have no choice but to go plastic, a refillable water bottle will help you minimise your dependence on plastic water bottles making a positive difference to your carbon footprint.
Plastic water bottles plague beaches worldwide especially as there is not always a place to throw away your rubbish. Inevitably, this tends to find its way into waterways creating dangers for aquatic life.
As well as travelling it is at home where we can make a big difference to our carbon footprint. Many of these practices can be followed through to the workplace as well. The little things add up when reducing your carbon footprint and what may seem like a trivial practice makes a big difference over time.
Clarify what can be Recycled
Recycling is established now in most western world countries. That said, it is not always clear what can and cannot be recycled. Check with authorities to clarify this point because you could be sending to landfill what could be going back into the system and reused.
Coffee Lover? Buy Fair Trade
If you drink coffee you may want to look at fair trade and organic options. Why buy fair trade coffee? Well, fair trade produce tends to have better sustainable practices. If you have a Nespresso or similar machine this is especially important. Nespresso was hammered when in 2013 a former CEO described their sustainability practices as an environmental disaster. Happily, there are good alternatives now on the market and things have progressed.
Save Energy Save the Planet
Think about saving energy whenever you can. Do not heat or light rooms that are empty. Switch off the TV if nobody is watching it and switch off the radio if nobody is listening. Try and dry clothes outside if possible rather than using a dryer. Little things make all the difference when reducing your carbon footprint.
Get back on two Wheels
Cycling’s popularity is increasing all the time. More and more people are getting back on two wheels to commute to work, commute to the shops, to exercise, and to travel. It is becoming a social activity.
Not only is cycling good for you it is good at reducing your carbon footprint. Cycling reduces CO2 and NOx emissions from diesel cars which are poisonous gasses released into the atmosphere.
Although you may feel this makes for slightly gloomy reading it is important we keep living, keep enjoying and contribute positively to life. Life is too short not to enjoy it, and if we all pull together we can ensure future generations enjoy the planet as we have done.
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