The year 2020 certainly changed our outlook on travel, but has it changed our approach?
The way we see something versus how we choose to act on it will dramatically impact the planet and the tourism industry's future.
Now that we know things must change for the better, will we continue to turn a blind eye? Or will we come together as a collective and act!
With our new eco-conscious mindset in play, what exactly should we do next?
This article will highlight my outlook on sustainable travel and list My Top 5 Sustainable Travel Actions that I am personally taking to reduce my negative impact.
I don't believe that there is a 100% perfect way to travel; however, I trust that it comes down to something as simple as our choices.
I want to encourage myself and my readers to make the most mindful or responsible choice available.
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”
Sustainable Travel Action No 1:
Following A Vegan Lifestyle & Saying No To Animal Cruelty
This will by now come as no surprise given the massive following the vegan movement has sparked in recent years. The global pandemic of Covid-19 has awakened many to consider both their wellbeing and the importance of strong mental and physical health. What we eat is directly responsible for the balance of our body, mind and soul.
The animal welfare industry, animal agriculture and factory farming have one thing in common; they are 100% no longer sustainable. No matter if you are on the side of animal rights or the side of health when it comes to choosing to go vegan (or both), we can’t ignore that eating animals is detrimental to the future of our planet.
Harvard University researcher Samuel Myers said, “the global environmental footprint associated with meat consumption is enormous.”
Going vegan is the single most important thing you can do if you want to be a sustainable traveller. You can take no more significant action in 2021 than to reduce or eliminate your intake of meat and dairy.
Producing food from plant sources has been shown to have a much lower ecological footprint.
I choose to be vegan every day. Because I can, it is not a matter of power or money, but of mindfulness and dedication to living a life that causes as little harm as possible to myself and animals. The good news is you can too!
I have been travelling full time for the last 15 months as a vegan in Southeast Asia. The plant-based options here are endless, delicious, healthy and affordable. I can purchase a meal of rice, vegetables, tofu and tempeh, and it will cost less than the same dish with chicken, fish and egg.
Everyone I have met on my plant-based journey has been kind, encouraging and finding community is very important.
Benefits of going vegan today:
- You will be taking a drastic step towards reducing your negative impact on the planet.
- You will deepen your spiritual connection with the world around you and become more compassionate.
- You can save money with many basic staple ingredients for vegan meals costing less than meat.
- You can save time with simple recipes that don't require the lengthy prep work of meat and seafood.
- You get to try various food that will have you questioning why you didn't go vegan sooner.
Sustainable Action No 2:
Slow Travel & Minimising Flights
Avoiding flights has been much easier with international travel on pause. I have only had two domestic flights since the pandemic started.
Avoiding flights 100% is not likely an option, but I am embracing this season of slow travel and making the most of it. I have travelled by plane, train, boat, and everything in between within Indonesia.
Not flying as much reduces your carbon footprint.
By reducing the number of flights you to means you won't contribute as many emissions, and overall your travel is considered more sustainable. This is because flights produce greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) from burning fuel which cause damage to the environment.
Are you looking for three ways to make flying more sustainable?
1. If you have a flight to catch, ask yourself, are there alternative land travel options that you can take? Many destinations have trains that will allow you to reach your destination (even cross-countries) without going to the airport.
2. Did you know that economy seat is more sustainable than business or first class? This is due to the seat configuration, as more space means fewer people on the same flight, so each person at the front end of the plane accounts for much more of the total pollution.
3. If you can fly direct, this is a better choice for the environment. The largest carbon footprint in aviation is related to when the plane takes off from the runway. The take-off uses more fuel and creates more emissions, so minimising your layovers is just one more way to minimise your carbon footprint when you travel.
Sustainable Action No3:
Reducing Single-Use Plastic & Swapping To Zero-Waste Options
Avoiding plastic is my biggest daily challenge. Taking action to reduce single-use plastic when I am constantly changing my home base and living out of a small backpack is not an easy job. So here are a few ways that I manage this issue in a destination that heavily relies on single-use plastic:
- I bring my reusable water bottle with me when I leave the house.
- If I know I will get take-away food, I will pack a reusable container to avoid the plastic bags.
- My eco tote bag is always with me.
- For fresh produce, I use eco mesh bags for weighing and carrying fruit and vegetables.
- Soap bars are something I try to bring with me when I make short travel trips to avoid bottles.
- When I visit the beach, I try to pick up a bag of trash.
- Say no to plastic straws, plastic bags and plastic cutlery and always choose to dine in as much as I can.
Sustainable Action No 4:
Focusing On Personal Education & Understanding
Self-development is something I value in my life. I always want to be ebbing and flowing but with purpose. If I find myself getting distracted or anxious, I try and remind myself that what I do is worth something, and I am here for a reason.
Remember, we are creating change. Things are beginning to shift.
We have to come together and share our passion, knowledge and ideas and start moving at a much fast pace.
When it comes to my business, I am continuously enrolled in a course, researching, editing, notetaking, and talking to others within my niche.
This naturally progresses into my personal life, too, and I find myself applying what I have been taught and seeking to find out more. Here is how:
- Online courses (I use Udemy Business & Coursera).
- Talk to other bloggers (join Facebook groups & email lists).
- Listen to podcasts (I am currently streaming The Minimalists & Plant Proof on Spotify).
- Workshops & Seminars (these are so popular & you can learn from the comfort of home).
- Raise your awareness and share with your community (you already have so much to give back).
- My blog (I do a large amount of research to create my content & learn a great deal in the process).