Pitch in to preserve the planet.
You don’t have to drive a hybrid to show the planet a little love when you hit the road. Simple steps like turning off the lights and air conditioning when you leave your hotel room, taking shorter showers, reusing towels and sheets, or opting for walking or biking as your mode of transportation are easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint when you travel. Here are some more divine deeds you can practice to pay homage to Mother Earth:
Be green and clean
“Travelers can reduce their carbon footprint while on the road by selecting hotels that embrace sustainable bath and body products and put unused product to good use, says Tim Kersley, senior vice president of Gilchrist & Soames, the maker of travel-friendly toiletries and bath amenities. “Another smart solution is to pack travel-sized toiletries that support eco-friendly ingredients and practices, ensuring responsible travel no matter the accommodations.”
Respect the environment
“First and foremost is do no harm,” says Jake Kheel, environmental director of Grupo Puntacana. “Traveling in foreign countries, especially developing countries where laws are sometimes not effectively enforced, travelers often have opportunities to purchase products that harm the environment or endangered species. Know what you are buying and know what you are eating. For example, travelers often find jewelry made from sea turtle shells. This is not only illegal, but highly damaging to endangered sea turtle populations. Similarly, consuming sea turtle eggs or meat is illegal in most countries . . . If there is a ban season on lobster or conch, try to respect these seasons, as they allow populations to recover and encourage healthy coral reefs.”
Visit destinations that embrace eco-friendly travel
“Typically, a destination that focuses on sustainability will have buildings no higher than three or four stories,” says Dario Flota, general director of the Riviera Maya Destination Marketing office. “There are several negative environmental effects that can be escalated by taller buildings, such as increased hazards for migrating birds, heat island effect, and high-ground wind velocity effects.”
“These days, it’s almost a given that hotels should be performing standard measures to reduce their environmental impact, such as recycling and only providing new towels if they are left on the floor or requested,” explains Flota. “To find a true eco-conscious resort, find a place that is going above and beyond, [with measures] such as solar-paneled roofs, an on-site compost station, and even conservation programs/integrated environmental education programming.” Flota also recommends visiting places with a UNESCO world heritage site, scouting for for bike programs and paths, and seeing if there are any voluntourism programs.
Another way to show the planet is to select snacks and foods that are sustainably grown. “Duchy was founded by Prince Charles [of Wales,] and with the brand, he set out to produce high-quality food in harmony with the environment,” says Steve Dawson, president of Walkers Shortbread, Inc. “All ingredients in Duchy products are sustainably grown using traditional farming practices, and we strive to minimize our environmental footprint through local sourcing and less packaging.”