Travel is a great way to see the world but it can also be a great way to hurt the environment. But many travelers now are trying to green their travels so they can visit other places without hurting it. If this is a topic that interests you, here is a look at some of the things you can do yourself.
Travel can expand our minds, promote intercultural understanding, and provide really great content for Instagram. Unfortunately, travel can also do a number on Mother Earth. So we’ve put together a guide to minimizing the environmental impact of our travel — even without cancelling our plans.
“Going” (Literally) Green — The Need-to-Know
Green travel is a broad term with two main branches: It refers first and foremost to responsible travel practices that pay attention to environmental, social, and economic sustainability. It can also refer to eco-tourism, which involves responsible travel specifically to natural areas. And while we love our readers in the Galapagos and the Arabian Desert, for the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing on the first definition.
Why should we bother greening our travel practices? For starters, the U.S. transportation sector is responsible for about 40 percent of the nation’s fossil-fuel related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions — one of the main gases responsible for climate change. Reducing our collective transportation footprint (aka environmental impact) could significantly lower the amount of CO2 we emit into the atmosphere. But is it possible to add worries about “traveling green” to the stresses of travel and still maintain sanity? Luckily, yes. Not only is it possible (and pretty easy) to keep the environment in mind while traveling, but in a lot of cases green travel practices can save us some, uh, green.