Travel without leaving a negative mark on the planet
By: Shubhrika Dogra
Even though 2020 came as a year that paused all kinds of travel across the world, it is high time that we reflect on our decisions and lifestyle practices. Everyday mistakes have piled on for years and made it harder for each generation to come and sustain themselves.
As the Gen-Z, we have been taught about sustainable development since we were sixth graders in middle school. Does this account for the kind of positivity that a child deserves to grow with?
As the Gen-Z enters the years of their youth, travel has emerged more as a means of achieving the satisfaction of finding one’s self. Modernization has opened doors to wider and farther many places for us and is presenting chances to go further out of our reach. while that is a tremendous advancement, we tend to forget that this freedom came with a responsibility.
If you are someone who loves to travel, here are some easy-to-adapt and fun-filled steps that you can take to ensure that you take all the beauty of the world in you and yet, do not leave a negative mark behind.
Travel with local transportation
I have never been able to emphasize this enough. Transportation is the highest contributor to the Co2 emissions amongst other greenhouse gases. This has by far been one of the maximum contributors to worldwide pollution.
The most accepted and relied upon source of travel still remains to be air travel. While in developing countries like India, people still rely upon local transportation like trains and buses, the worldwide average mode of transportation is yet to change from air-travel. Air travel constitutes a high share of Co2 emissions because of white fuel used for running aircraft engines.
While at the same time, a local train, a bus, or maybe a ferry will only emit less than half that amount of Carbon Dioxide. By traveling through local transport systems, you not only save up the world but also, your own pocket. Not to forget, the incredible experiences that happen in such transportation modes during transit are memorable for the rest of our lives.
Carry a water bottle
Sounds way too simple, doesn’t it? And yet, the maximum amount of plastic found amongst tourist places comes from the discarded and one-time-use plastic water bottles. Carrying your own metal-based water bottles can prevent all of that discarded and unethically thrown away plastic.
The indirect effects of such an action are in fact, much higher than what we understand. Consider this map of actions, if you will. The plastic bottles that we rely upon on each of our trips are manufactured in specific industrial areas in a few selected states. Those bottles get manufactured, creating a ton of waste, polluting our water bodies, and emitting high volumes of greenhouse gases through the factories, affecting the air adversely.
They are then packaged with more plastic packaging and are transported through trucks and air crafts to the different parts of the country. The long distances that those trucks travel to, in turn, emit more Co2 and CO — Carbon Monoxide, which is more harmful than Carbon Dioxide.
These bottles are used and thrown away, as is their packaging, amongst the environmental and beautiful trails of our ecosystem, for the animals to feed on or take up years to decompose. This adds up to years of adverse effects on-air as well as water pollution.
The next time you rely on buying a packaged water bottle, remember the long-routed affects you will create.
Eat Local Foods
We all have fallen in love with instant foods that come in bundles of plastic packaging from the world-wide multi-million corporations of the FMCG industry. What good does that do, to the local vendors? None!
But that’s a different story for a different time. Buying local foods prevents the chain effects of transporting those packaged foods, just like the water bottle story. The added advantage, however, is that you end up saving a ton of money and leave a local vendor happy for the rest of the day.
The experience of traveling is in the little things, yet we tend to rely upon familiarity rather than stepping out of our comfort zones. From the next time you try a new place for your travel experiences, do the same for your eating experiences, and enjoy the locale.
Travel at night to refrain from contributing to the A/C requirements
The heat has us all depending upon our air conditioners day in and day out. Yet, we can try and do a little bit by traveling at night.
Traveling in buses and trains at night can contribute to needing less air conditioning since the temperatures are cooler at night and the sun does not leave us scorching in the heat behind.
This seems like such a tiny step and an over-exaggeration, yet it can go a long way if taken seriously and applied continuously.
Make sure that you leave the place better than you found it
A number of travel organizations like Tripoto, Wander On and more are known to organize cleaning trips and campaigns from time to time for tiny villages in the mountains.
The need for that can end with two simple steps. While traveling, try and always carry a dedicated trash bag with you to store all kinds of waste in and dump it into garbage cans at the end of the day.
The second step that can take a little extra effort but can do wonders is to try and pick up the trash you find as you go on walking to keep in your personal trash bag itself for dumping later. Make sure that you leave the place in a better condition than what you found it in.
Lastly, as I have tried this on my many travel adventures, I vouch for walking more than driving when you travel.
The hidden and negligible parts and the beauty of this world can go unnoticed when we take a cab or any other form of transportation, apart from walking. Walking can be the best way to know and explore a new place while doing your beautiful mother Earth a huge favor at the same time.
Walk, walk, walk as much as you. Walk, then walk some more. The experiences you will have while you walk to unknown places will be amongst some of the best ones of your life. However, the motif here is to remember our beautiful planet before ourselves.
There’s more on living sustainably, yet tiny steps can do wonders and it takes a long time to inculcate these behaviors and patterns in your lifestyle.