Sure, travelling as an activity boosts my carbon footprint. Think jet travel and the noxious plumes of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide spewing out of jet engines.
Think train travel and the carbon emissions from electricity generation processes that power modern electric trains.
Riding a cab or a bus or a ferry poses similar emission problems. Every time we use modern transport mechanisms, we, as a species, expand the carbon footprint of humanity.
I can check into a hotel at the destination; the electricity that powers the lights and air conditioning comes from pollution-rich sources such as power generation plants.
When I step into the shower in a hotel suite, I am bothered by the fact that the bath water may not get recycled. This adds to the pollution prevalent in the natural environment.
Essentially, I am depleting a scarce, non-renewable natural resource. So yes… travel and its associated activities increases the carbon footprint of the human race.
However, I think responsible tourism represents a significant opportunity to lower the collective carbon footprint of the human race. As responsible tourists, we should depend more on our ability to negotiate distances on foot while visiting a tourist location. This cuts out motorized transport and the use of plastic bottles of water, juice, and other liquid refreshers.
I would make a conscious decision to use paper bags while shopping during a vacation. Lowering the use of plastic bags and plastic containers is an interesting take on reducing the carbon footprint, don’t you think?
As an eco-friendly tourist, I may want to strap myself to a flying wing (paragliding) and jump off a hillock to ride the airwaves above a valley silently. This is a pure thrill and my experience gets better when I realize that I am not burning gasoline to fuel my ride. This is a neat version of adventure sport that leaves no carbon footprints in the local ecology. My triumph gets a boost when I land silently at the end of the ride. I can carry a digital camera to record my flying experience and share the video with friends. That’s my little contribution to promoting a clean holiday!
Bungee jumping, trekking, cycling, river rafting, scuba diving, and snorkelling – I find these holiday activities pump my adrenaline (and excitement levels) at zero cost to the natural environment. I will gladly return next year for another extended, clean vacation at various sites. I will also bring friends with me. On the other hand – the lazy traveller may just choose to walk with friends, thus cutting vacation carbon emissions to zero.
I think this list of superb vacation ideas should encourage new-age travellers and holidaymakers to responsibly enjoy the thrills of nature.
Let’s hope this tribe grows… and grows! Let’s sign a charter to stay away from jet travel and to turn our faces away from jeeps, four-wheel drives, SUVs, and speedboats!
Think different – I just might want to stay still and enjoy the breathing process on a holiday. Nothing calms down the human mind like a bout of yoga and stretching exercises. These activities present another version of natural, care-free holidays that remove the guilt of piling on the carbon footprint.
So, little or big, what do you think your contribution would be towards sustainability?