Changing your habits to help the planet is importnat now more than ever. Her oceans are filled with plastic, animals are harmed for entertainment, the list goes on and on.
As someone who, in the past 5 years, has completely reevaluated the way I live my life because of my effect on the planet I’ve put together this list of 5 ways you can help the planet with traveling (and at home).
The 5 items listed below are a great way to start to shift your travel and life habits to help the planet.
Don’t participate in harmful animal tourism
Animal tourism is something that, as a travel influencer, I take very seriously. Participating in activities that are in place for my amusement at the detriment of animals is something I just don’t do. I say harmful animal tourism because activities like African safaris are animal tourism, but because said animals are in their natural habitats it does not harm them.
I admit when I was less educated about animal tourism I participated in activities that were to the detriment of animals. I didn’t know any better. Through the travel community I was shown the error in my ways and feel awful for my participation, but I cannot change the past. I can, however, focus on the future. Now I help others become more aware travelers.
To help you, here are some high profile activities to avoid on your next trip:
- Swimming with dolphins kept in captivity
- Riding elephants
- Visiting the Tiger Kingdom in Thailand
- Going to circuses that use animals
- Preforming monkeys
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Pick up trash
If you thought, “Ew,” after reading pick up trash know that at some point in your life, whether it be on purpose of by accident, you have littered. We all have. Yes, some more than others, but we all live on the same planet and we’re all in this together. So just go pick up some trash.
Picking up trash can make a big difference if you dedicate time to doing it consistently. In my sustainability and travel blog post I explain how picking up 5 pieces of trash today over time adds.
Whenever I pick up trash I share it on my instagram stories to show people how much trash their is on the side of the road, trails, in parks, etc. I encourage you to do the same. No matter if you’re at home or traveling picking up trash makes Mother Earth very happy.
Reduce plastic usage
This is the biggest thing on this list that can help the planet and one of the most difficult. We’re living at a time where reducing plastic isn’t an option, it’s necessary for the planet. However, we’re creatures of habit and convenience and don’t want to make big changes to our life that might make it more difficult.
The other day via facebook I read an article about how a rescued green turtle pooped out plastic trash for weeks. It made me cry to think that is a reality for our world, that we’re letting this happen. The only way to help green turtles and other animals around the planet from digesting plastic trash is to reduce the amount of plastic we use in our everyday lives.
A few ways to reduce your plastic use are:
- Use a water filter or water sanitizer when traveling and at home so you don’t need to buy plastic water bottles.
- Stop using plastic baggies all together. Get reusable baggies instead.
- Use bar shampoos and soaps instead of bottled.
- Bring a reusable bag to the grocery store or when shopping.
- Use a bamboo toothbrush.
Even if you put your plastics in the recycling bin it doesn’t mean its getting recycled. Much if it is contaminated and still gets thrown in a landfill. Reducing our plastic consumption is the only real way to help the planet.
Shop at thrift and consignment stores
I want to put a spotlight on how terrible the clothing industry is for the environment. According to an article about the effects of fast fashion on the environment in the New York Times, “More than 60 percent of fabric fibers are now synthetics, derived from fossil fuels, so if and when our clothing ends up in a landfill (about 85 percent of textile waste in the United States goes to landfills or is incinerated), it will not decay.”
As a result, this year I’m going to buy all my clothes from thrift stores and from local consignment stores. This will reduce my carbon foot print significantly and prevent more clothing from getting into landfills.
On top of that I fix my clothes when they get holes in them instead of throwing them out. A little knowledge with a needle and thread will help your clothes last longer.
Offset carbon emissions
We all have a carbon footprint and create carbon emissions. It is a reality of the environmental impacts of tourism.
Offsetting my carbon emissions is something I did for the first time in 2019. In 2020 I’ll be looking into it more and trying to improve, if it’s possible, how I offset my emissions.
I used the Carbon Calculator in 2019 by entering all the ways that effect my carbon footprint: my car, flights, etc.