These are some of the things you can do as an individual to make your time on the planet a little more responsible. These are some ideas that we would like to share with you to make your way to the eco-friendly world easier.
If you have come this far, it is because you know that with small gestures it is possible to change the world. You know that your consumption habits directly affect the environment and you want to join us in this big change. You want to ACT NOW but you don't know how to start.
We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.
Right now (2021) many of us are not traveling so it is the perfect time to review our travel habits and change them to more sustainable ones in order to be prepared for when we can travel around the world again.
- Change the plane for the train
The airplane is one of the most polluting ways of transportation, so a very good solution is to stop using it. In the view of the situation, this year we all have achieved that goal, but I think it never hurts to know which are the alternatives to be able to change them for when we can travel again.
The European Environment Agency has developed a methodology to measure the environmental impact of each types of transport in terms of carbon dioxide (CO2), emissions per passenger and per kilometer. Thus, the airplane would be the most polluting and the bicycle, followed by the train would be the least polluting.
- Offsetting CO2 emissions
Sometimes it can be difficult not to take a plane or stop doing some activity that we know will be harmful to the environment (we can’t get anywhere in the world by train) but there are options such as CO2 offsetting that we can apply to our daily lives in those cases where we have no option than leave our carbon footprint on the planet.
There are already many airlines that allow the payment of an amount of money equivalent to the emissions that we generate with the purchase of a ticket at the time we buy that ticket. If we do not want to compensate our carbon footprint through the airline itself (because we do not know exactly where the money will go) we can also do it through other associations that work to reverse climate change. A good example would be a reforestation association.
- Eco-friendly accommodations
More and more accommodations are gradually changing their way of working towards a more sustainable model. In this aspect we can find from 100% sustainable accommodations with zero environmental impact, to accommodations that are in transition to be more sustainable. An example of this are some hotels in the Maldives that collect rainwater to make it drinkable and give it to their guests free of charge instead of bringing plastic water bottles from outside.
- Be zero waste while traveling
In the same way that we can replace plastic or single-use items at home, we can also do it with the items we take with us on our travels.
A reusable bottle will save you from having to buy plastic bottles at your travel destination. Although in many countries the water is not drinkable, it is becoming easier to find drinking water stations to refill your bottle (paid or free). You can take a look at our Flat Bottle, even more convenient for traveling.
Carrying your own reusable straws (bamboo, metal or glass) will also save the planet a lot of plastic straws. As well as carrying a reusable snack holder, reusable cutlery or even a lunch box and cloth bags, in case you shop at local markets.
- Reuse hotel towels
It may seem silly, but every little action counts.
In most hotels there is usually a small sign in the bathroom explaining that if you want the towel to be washed you have to leave it on the floor but if, on the contrary, you prefer to use it again, thus saving energy and water, you have to hang it. It is a small gesture that can make the difference between putting one or ten washing machines a day, with all that this implies (waste of water, energy, micro plastics that go to the sea, etc.).
- Biodegradable sunscreen
This is an issue that maybe many of you are unaware of. Conventional sunscreens contain toxic substances that are harmful to the environment, especially to marine flora and fauna. That’s why it’s important to look for a sunscreen that does not contain oxybenzone and octinoxate and is marked as biodegradable. In addition, more and more countries or beach areas in the world are joining the ban on the use of toxic sunscreens such as Holbox in Riviera Maya, Palau or even Hawaii.
- Don't take anything you didn't bring with you
There is a very clear quote that says: when you travel, leave nothing but your footprints, take nothing but pictures and take nothing but memories.
It is important to preserve all the beautiful places that exist in the world. With so many millions of people traveling a year (in a normal year) it is easy to end up destroying a particular ecosystem so it is very important not to take anything that was there before you went. Like a stone, sand from the beach, a plant, etc., and it’s also important to take everything that you have brought as the remains of a picnic or any kind of waste.
- Zero interactions with animals
Animals are one of the fundamental pillars for the correct functioning of this planet. Without them we could not live because they are in charge of making the world work as it does and not collapse. Bees pollinate and help plants to photosynthesize and thanks to this we have oxygen to breathe. Whales come to the surface to breathe and it is there where they release their feces that act as fertilizer for the ocean waters, improving their capacity to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. And I could give thousands of other examples to conclude that any type of activity we do in which we interact with animals, will be interfering in their normal life and could directly affect climate change. Besides being an abusive and sometimes even deadly practice for those animals.
Check what can you do in other areas of your life: