October 17, 2017

Keeping Your Travel Plans Ethical


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When the wanderlust takes a hold of you, it’s almost impossible to resist the call. For those of us who place ethics of the forefront of everything we do - from the food we eat to the way in which we dispose of our trash - it’s important to know how to travel as ethically as possible with as little detriment to the environment and the rights of locals as possible. With so much conflicting information out there, it can be difficult to ascertain the best way to do this. While a sizeable portion of this will be dependent on where you intend to go and what you intend to do, there are some general principles to ensure that you don’t start off on the wrong foot wherever you go…

Pack light
The simple truth is that a lot of products marketed as travel products are not only unnecessary but packaged in environmentally damaging plastics. The fact is that you need way less than you think when you’re traveling -- just because a product is marketed as a travel product doesn’t make it indispensable. Another great tip is to bring your own water cantina. Drinking bottle after bottle of prepackaged water will be hugely detrimental to your carbon footprint.  

Consider your modes of transport
How you get to your destination and get around within it is the second most important facet of your trip. Firstly, an ethical traveler explores their own backyard before going further afield as local travel not only benefits the local economy but reduces the environmental cost of transportation.

Flying with one of the more eco friendly or ethical airlines is a great way to get to where you’re going. Once you arrive, traveling by public transport is a boon for both the environment and the local economy. Getting about by boat, however has a lower carbon footprint than traveling by plane so renting a boat from www.boat.me as preferable to taking an internal flight. If you plan on taking a tour, book through a local (preferrably family run, if available) tour operator.


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Eating ethically
Believe it or not, most of the good that you can do for the local economy and environment is not done through the way in which we travel but through the food we eat. While many of us are aware of the environmental cost of our travel, we tend not to give the same degree of scrutiny to our food.

Animal agriculture contributes to more greenhouse emissions than the entire transportation sector so when traveling (as when staying at home) abstaining from animal products such as meat, dairy and eggs is a great way to protect not just the environment but the rights of local animals.

When traveling, imbibing the local cuisine is not just a great way of sampling the culture, but of sustaining the local farmers and restaurateurs. Thus, try to patronize smaller local restaurants and street vendors and eschew recognizable chains and brands (however much you may miss the familiarity). Locally grown crops utilize far fewer greenhouse gases to transport to your plate.

  *This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.