Traveling Lighter

Palm Springs

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Hey All!

So throughout my education at SFU, many of my professors tried to instill their students with an understanding of how travel is a major source of our individual and cumulative carbon emissions. Honestly, when I would hear these lectures I would squirm in my seat and frown because of my own selfish desires to travel. One single trip from Vancouver BC Canada  to Kahului Maui, Hawaii will create 1.19 tonnes of C02 emissions. And no, that number is per person, not per airplane. An additional complicating factor about air travel related pollution is that much of these emissions are created high in the atmosphere at cruising altitude. This is an issue because these emissions are more easily wide spread over greater distances due to winds and jet stream.


As a “serious” environmentalist, I hated that I would and could embrace many parts of life which contributed to the peril of the planet. But also I know and understand that travel is one of the best ways in life to grow as an individual, develop compassion and understanding for cultures beyond my borders and a means of supporting economies which may falter without tourism.

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So what to do… ? Well I decided that if I was going to travel, I wasn’t going to do it in an all out pollution and garbage orgy. I was going to take my daily practices at home and adapt them to my new situation in order to offset (even if it’s just a fraction) my emissions. I was originally going to write just a single post about this topic but I’ve decided that I will make it a three part special. In this post I will list 6 things you can do to limit your waste while traveling. The second will be about what and how to pack and organize yourself for your sustainable travels and the last will be about the importance of buying the right sunscreen for the health of yourself and of the oceans.

  1. Say NO. That is say no to one time use plastics, especially on the plane and at the airport. Avoid the plastic cups by bringing your own water bottle or travel mug to have the flight attendants fill.  Additionally, depending on the country you are flying to and from, pack your own handheld snacks and meals with you in your carry on. This avoids the need for plastic cutlery and containers. But always always always check with the airline and recieving country regulations prior to doing so because there might be prohibited food items.

    coffee
    Bring your own drinking vessel, whatever form you like!
  2. Make it count. I know travel is a luxury and extended vacations are very much a luxury, but the longer and more infrequent your trips are, the less wasteful they are. By flying less often, and/or staying longer in a location you generate less airtravel oriented emissions than if you made shorter, more frequent trips.

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    Whitehorse, Yukon
  3. Skip the all-inclusive resorts. By staying in a rental condo or house you have more control about what you eat and therefore the origin of your food and the amount of food waste generated. Plus, if your condo is own locally or local company then you’re putting money back into the local economy versus into the coffers of some multinational hotel chain.

    holiday villa
    Rent a condo
  4. Skip the house/room cleaning. By opting out of daily house cleaning you avoid unnecessary laundering of your sheets and towels. You don’t wash yours daily at home do you? So why would you on vacation? So save some water and energy by skipping this part of travel.

    Road Trip
    Road Trip
  5. Road Trip. We often forget the beauty of our own backyards and travel to far off locales. So instead, try taking a road trip with friends or family. Driving a car uses so much less fuel than a plane ride and the travel aspect becomes part of the trip, not just a means to an end.
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    African Savanna? Nope! Southern Alberta! Who knew?

    6. Take a hike, or ride a bike! Look for alternative forms of transportation on your trip! Rent a bike, take transit like a bus or train, try ride sharing or walking instead of renting a car. You get to see so much more of the place you are visiting by using a slower form of transportation which enriches your experience that much more!

    bike
    Take a bike!

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Thanks again for reading guys! And as I get ready to jetset off to Maui this weekend, I will be sharing with you guys how and what I am packing to make my trip a little less polluting. Plus while we are in Maui, myself and the family will be putting our skin on the line testing out natural, coral friendly sunscreen for you guys!

Thanks again!

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