It’s Wellness Wednesday on planet Earth!
Today April 22 is Earth Day, an annual event now celebrated world-wide. This day helps spread awareness on and take action for environmental issues. Since its inception in 1970 (thanks hippies and others) it has been fashionable, trendy and even sexy to ‘go green’ and support environmental causes. This love-in is practiced by numerous people, those with genuine concern for the health of the planet and those looking to make a quick buck by marketing eco-friendly products.
According to the website, www.earthday.org, the Earth Day Network’s mission is “…to broaden, diversify and activate the environmental movement worldwide, through a combination of education, public policy, and consumer campaigns.”
Retrieved April 22, 2015 from: http://www.earthday.org/
Earth Day is coordinated by the Earth Day Network
Who has the largest fresh water supply in the world? See answer at the end of this post.
Unfortunately travel can contribute to environmental damage through air travel and irresponsible globetrotting. Though airlines promote their carbon offset programs to ‘reduce one’s carbon footprint‘, there is still no economical and efficient way to get around the world pollution-free. Even a slow boat to China, or other destination of your choice, still carries with it the risk of environmental consequences.
Though this day comes but once a year, the actions and sentiments behind it should be exercised year round in order to have the desired impact. Here are some Earth-friendly tips for travellers to practice habitually:
- Seek out green hotels and eco-lodges for your accommodations.
- Bring a reuseable shopping bag for any purchases you make.
- Pack a stainless steel or non-BPA plastic water bottle (in your checked luggage). Fill with potable water to cut down on the amount of bottled water you would normally have to purchase.
- Walk as much as possible and cycle if feasible to see the sights. Not only is this good exercise but it cuts down on your carbon footprint.
- When using public transport for long distances share a taxi with fellow travellers, drive efficiently to save fuel (i.e. follow posted speed limits, avoid idling, keep tires at correct pressure/PSI etc.) or take the bus/train.
- Use rechargeable batteries for your electronics rather than disposable ones.
- Shop the local markets for food and souvenirs. See also, Shopping with a Conscience
- Consider an eco-vacation or volunteer overseas with an organization involved in sustainable projects.
- Visit ‘green’ destinations such as New Zealand, poster child for eco-tourism and Vancouver, birthplace of Greenpeace.
- Air dry your clothes and hand wash if possible. Often this is how the locals do it. Use a biodegradable soap too (e.g. Campsuds).
- Swim in the sea. When in a tropical destination forgo your shower and take a dip in the ocean instead. You’ll feel cleaner and refreshed. (Just brush off the seaweed, flick away the fish and dust off the salt.)
- Practice the 3 R’s – reuse, recycle, reduce:
reuse: Repurpose torn clothes and broken items MacGyver style. That torn shirt can be folded into a pillow.
recycle: Donate your clothes to locals through charitable organizations.
reduce: Reduce waste by not buying kitschy souvenirs and useless trinkets.