With the recent decision that the U.S. government will be withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accords, there has been lots of conversations about how we as individuals can take action to decrease our impact on the environment.
These conversations are particularly important to frequent travelers- while visiting new places can provide needed economic opportunities to a community or help raise awareness about an issue, traveling can also have negative environmental impacts. But taking action to be a green on the go can help alleviate your impact to the places you visit and the world at large.
And here’s the thing- there are lots of ways to be green. Finding what works best for your family and your travel style is important- if it is too hard, you probably won’t keep with it for long.
Below find some ideas to help you get started making the world a better place- both in your everyday life and while out on your next adventure!
Home & Away
Many of the changes your family can make at home to reduce the impact on the environment are easily made while away from home as well. When you get into the habit of making greener choices everyday, traveling greener will become second nature.
- Reduce Your Electricity Use: Simple actions like turning out the lights when you leave a room, or turning your thermostat down a few degrees during the summer reduces the amount of electricity you use. While many utilities are increasingly using greener technology like wind and solar to generate electricity, lots of places still rely on carbon-heavy fuels like coal. Using less electricity at home or at a hotel means burning less fuel, saving emissions from entering the atmosphere.
- Walk, Bike, or Take A Bus: Finding a different way to get around- whether you are touring a new city, exploring the countryside, or in your own neighborhood is a great way to save emissions and get a new experience! When traveling, slowing down and going for a walk or a bike ride is a great way to see a new place. Taking public transportation can add to the local experience, and if your kids are like the ones I know, they will love getting to experience a new bus or subway.
- Eat Local and Buy Local: Buying local foods or shopping at locally-owned stores decreases the amount of emissions (think CO2) released by transporting goods to market. Even better- visiting local stores or markets when traveling can lead to some unforgettable travel experiences, from eating thai chilis in a market in Chiang Mai to finding the perfect wedding gift at a craft market in Fiji!
- Look for a “green” hotel: An eco-tourism has become more of a distinct travel segment, finding accommodations designed with the environment in mind is becoming easier and easier. A great place to start is looking for a LEED-certified hotel, which means that the buildings have been designed with energy saving measures in mind.
- Pick Green Destinations: Green travel is not just about the decisions you make – how a destination deals with issues that arise from tourism (including increased pollution, strain on resources, and ) can go a long way toward being environmentally responsible. Plan to visit places that engage in “sustainable tourism” and have a plan for managing tourism and its impacts.
- Make the World Your Classroom: Use the opportunity to learn about being green, and how the environment might differ from what your family is used to at home. One of the most important things we can do is instill an green ethic is our children. Take some time to research the environment threats facing your next travel destination, and discuss what the impacts and possible solutions might be – at the very least, you are helping to grow the next generation of environmental leaders.
Being green on the go shouldn’t feel like a burden or a chore- and you’d be surprised by the impact we can have if we all start making these little changes!
Join Bébé Voyage by sharing your photos with the hashtag #OurFutureIsGreen
Rebecca Jablonski-Diehl is an environmental policy analyst in Washington, DC, where she has worked on everything from endangered species management to helping make coastal cities more resilient to sea level rise. An avid traveler, Rebecca has traveled over 5 continents and to all 50 U.S. states – but her favorite way to travel is to share the world with her three young nephews.
This post was linkedup with: