The impact of irresponsible tourism has taken its toll on one too many majestic destinations all over the world. Boracay, for example, has been exhausted to the brink of ecological collapse, had it not been for the mandatory closure and intervention imposed the government last April. It has become a wakeup call for all of us to be more mindful of our actions and the way they affect our surroundings.
There are many practices in which you can reduce your carbon footprint whenever you travel. Often times, however, they are always associated with difficulty, as they require changes to the way we do things. When we travel, we want things to be easy and convenient. And bros, being eco-friendly doesn’t always have to be challenging. Here are some things you can do that may seem small, but actually have a big impact on the environment:
Choose an Eco-Friendly Accommodation
Before booking an accommodation, try to look for a place that actively promotes environmental responsibility. You will be minimizing your carbon footprint and get the chance to enjoy the surrounding nature.
Use Mineral Sunscreen at the Beach
Chemicals in sunscreen are linked to coral bleaching. Sunscreen products that have oxybenzone and octinoxate have already been banned in Hawaii, and former US President Obama even signed the Sunscreen Innovation Act in 2014 to urge finding safer ingredients. Try looking for mineral sunscreen instead, because they don’t have these harmful chemicals, and thus safer for the environment.
Bring your Own Shopping Bag
People still struggle to remember bringing their reusable tote bags for grocery shopping. Try to make it a habit, and even put it in your purse or backpack whenever you visit another destination. Just imagine how much plastic you will be sparing washing onto the beautiful white sands of your favorite beach.
Avoid Single-Use Plastics
If you’ve ever seen pictures or videos of plastic products encroaching on wildlife, you would know to avoid these. The images are horrifying, to think that we have put little thought into using these items. Coffee pods in hotel rooms, plastic beverage bottles at a convenience store, and straws in food places seem like harmless things that can make a voyager’s transient visit easier. But giving up these things can go a long way.
Watch out for Harmful Chemicals in Your Toiletries
Sometimes we prefer to bring our own toiletries when we travel. But it is hardly ever discussed that these products may actually cause harm to our environment. Triclosan from antibacterial soaps and deodorants, petroleum from lip balm, microbeads from hand soaps, toothpastes and facial wash, and sulfates from shampoos have already been found in soil and surface water of rivers and oceans. They are harmful to us, and are also toxic to wildlife. Try to buy organic products, which usually don’t have these components.
To travel in an environmentally friendly way may entail a little bit of inconvenience. It could be a little more expensive, and would require us to deliberately change our lifestyle habits. But once you get the hang of it, it becomes much easier. And it feels so much better to know that your having fun doesn’t have to equate the suffering of Mother Nature.
Did we miss anything? What are some environmentally-friendly practices do you do when you travel? Let us know in the comments!
Header courtesy of amblingalbatrossbudgettravelling.com
Cover courtesy of An American Abroad