As I landed on the Rock yesterday afternoon, I wondered what to write this month's blog post about. Wandering about the old city parts of Warsaw and Krakow tasting pierogi and unfiltered beer? Hiking up one of the peaks of the Tatras mountains at night? The search for the best of all Polish beers?
Inspired by all the amazing and hardworking people I met (see below) during the seminar in Warsaw; welcome to a blog post on sustainable consumption - a traveller's version, of course :)
Sustainable consumption is all about conserving stuff. Protecting the planet, and those who live on it, by buying stuff which is Fairtrade, ensuring that those who make what you buy get a fair wage for their work, as well as making an effort not to waste water, food, electricity, clothing or any other kind of resource. These kinds of practices recognise the limited potential of Earth to supply resources, as well as how what we eat, wear, and use on a daily basis is connected to the rest of the planet. Travelling ethically means that we reduce our usage of the world's supplies because we care about the world. Here are a few tips for the ethical traveller:
1. When in China, speak Chinese. Namely - when visiting a country, eat where the locals do and buy from where the locals buy. This not only enhances your experience of the culture that you visit, but supports the local economy. Also, buying locally means that your food/clothing/etc didn't travel halfway across the world to get to where you are.
2. Save water. This may sound obvious - but we tend to waste more resources when staying in hotels or hostels, since we aren't paying directly for them. There's really no need to get your linen/towels washed after just one use. Imagine the polar bears crying.
3. Book your flights off-season - this reduces the impact on the environment from flying, plus other bonus points, like cheaper hotel rooms and less tourists. Or don't use flights, and go by train/coach/carpool/ferry/canoe/horse/bike/foot instead.
4. Eat more veggies. Although this might sound like an irrelevant tip for travellers, the fact is that eating meat means animal agriculture. Animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gas emissions than transportation, according to www.un.org. The article I found also notes that:
Livestock now use 30 per cent of the earth’s entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture but also including 33 per cent of the global arable land used to producing feed for livestock, the report notes. As forests are cleared to create new pastures, it is a major driver of deforestation, especially in Latin America where, for example, some 70 per cent of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing.
Save forests, reduce your carbon footprint, be healthier and sustainably savvy. Eat more veggies.
5. Check out green travel sites for more tips and info. Good sites are www.ethicaltraveler.org/ and www.greenglobaltravel.com.
Finally - why should we care about saving the planet????
Sunrise from the Tatras.
Because people are beautiful weirdos.
Finally - because Earth is the only planet that has beer. And good friends to drink it with :)
UNTIL next month's post! Happy (ethical) travels xx