Planning to enjoy the summer at home or by traveling? Whatever your choice, there’s definitely a lot of fun to be had. However, without being mindful of our environment, we may end up contributing to the pollution problem. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you soak in the sun’s rays this summer.
Whether you’re planning to fly off to Greece or visit the local beach, being eco-conscious with your transport choice is a good way to start. For short trips to spots near you choose to walk, ride a bike or use public transport instead of a personal car - this’ll help reduce the carbon emissions you contribute to.
If you’re planning to travel to popular tourist destinations, try going in the off-season or opt for less popular locations. This helps curb overtourism (popular destinations being overrun by tourists). This will give you a unique experience whilst avoiding crowds, and help prevent price surges as a result of high demand-these price surges also make it harder for locals to afford their own cities. For example, instead of choosing Mykonos or Santorini, choosing a smaller island like Lemnos still gives you all the beauty of Greece without the downsides of crowds.
If you’re traveling to a foreign country, you can help communities in these destinations benefit from your tourism by patronizing their local businesses. This means that the locals who help give you the amazing travel experience, are those who benefit most from your visit since the money goes directly to them rather than to mega tourist companies that would only pay them a fraction of your money.
You can do this by shopping in local farmers markets rather than international megastores, staying in a local airbnb instead of a foreign-owned homestay, shopping from local brands and dining at local restaurants. An upside is, this gives you a more holistic experience of your dream destination! Remember to be cautious however; make sure your housing situation and the food you choose are safe for you.
A major source of our single use plastics comes from our disposables. This looks like our spoons, plates, bags, etc. Our use of these disposables increases during summer because we’re away from our own kitchens a lot more. This summer, make it your goal to avoid these disposables as much as you can.
You can do this by carrying a lightweight cutlery set (a bamboo set is a nice option), your own refillable water bottle, and using tote bags to shop (a bonus if it’s made of a natural fabric).
Want more ideas? Check out this 2-part guide of Zero Waste Travel Essentials.
Eating in, or at restaurants is another way to avoid disposables from street food purchases. If you do end up buying street food, try eating it without any plastic add-ons (like ice cream in a cone instead of a cup, or food wrapped in local leaves for some destinations) or ask for a paper disposable. Don’t forget to throw away your litter properly!
It’s summer, and it’s hot - I get it! But air conditioners also emit greenhouse gasses and leak hydrofluorocarbons which contribute to global warming. So before you turn on the AC or the fan, opt to step out into the shade and enjoy a nice breeze-or make it a fun day by going to the beach or the pool.
Tanning is fun, but you can also make use of the sun in different ways as well; rather than using a dryer, hang your clothes on a drying line, or use the sun as your daytime light instead of turning on the bulbs. This too helps reduce your electricity bill for a while!
What do you think of this guide to a sustainable summer? Let me know!