Date: 20 July
Cost of taking action: £/$/€ NO EXTRA, PROBABLY LESS
From our guest author Anna Dawson in the UK
Anna asks us to think about the environment when we plan our holiday
As the summer holiday season fast approaches, there is no need to feel guilty about ditching all of your sustainable and environmentally friendly habits you’ve picked up – you can also be eco-friendly on holiday!
It’s my holiday, why should I care?
Because the tourism and holiday industry contributes around 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions and is expected to rise by 4% annually (with an even larger jump when Covid-19 restrictions lift and people want to travel even more!).
However, it’s not only the greenhouse gas emissions that are problematic as an immense volume of holiday waste accumulates each year from food, water usage, and also from the excessive use of single-use plastics.
It is your responsibility to make the best possible decisions when it comes to your holiday, so that you can enjoy it without it literally costing the earth. If we all make better decisions then we have the power to drive the holiday industry into a more sustainable and eco-friendly sphere as consumers!
How can I make my holiday eco-friendly?
You can take many different approaches such as thinking about:
- Travel means
- Other actions on holiday
Let’s start with the type of holiday accommodation, the most common being hotels.
Hotels are large scale operations where there is generally a lack of efficient water use, leading to water wastage, lots of use of single-use plastics which are non-biodegradable, excessive energy consumption from numerous lights/TVs, and food waste which is simply thrown away after buffets for example.
Bed & Breakfasts are slightly better in the sense that there is less excessive energy and waste as they are smaller establishments, but still suffer from some of the same problems.
Caravans and self-sufficient cabins like glamping (pictured) are much better because, being the environmentally conscious person you are, you can take your own decisions as to when to switch power off, be as mindful as possible when using water, and buy only the food that you want and know you will eat. Less waste in general means lower carbon emissions and that you can still enjoy the luxury with less environmental cost!
However, teepees, camping and the recent rise of vegan holidays are the “greenest” options and allow you to connect with nature too! These minimalist eco-friendly holidays allow you to step away from the hustle and bustle of life whilst knowing that you are having a holiday in the best way possible, as there is no unnecessary energy wasted and facilities have been built with the least disturbance to the environment and surroundings – no large diggers or machines involved! They are often located in the middle of woods, and some even have activities themed around yoga, veganism or mindfulness for a full experience.
Here is a great website to browse such holiday accommodation in a variety of locations:
But if you are desperate for luxury, settle for the most environmentally friendly as possible – such as the hotels on this website:
These are just examples, have a hunt around on the internet for facilities in your preferred area to visit.
Next up, travel
Staycations (holidaying in your own country) are the best options as a single flight on average can result in over 100kg of carbon emissions! There is often an urge to escape your own country for other locations across the globe, but your own country will undoubtedly have many hidden treasures waiting to be discovered. Go and explore!
If you are heading close abroad, or staying in your own country, the most likely transport will be a car or public transport such as train and ferry. Where possible use public transport, as this means that you are not releasing any extra carbon emissions by using transport that would already have been running. Using a train also reduces the stress of arriving late as there is no traffic – just book your tickets with enough breathing space for any delays, and you can relax!
Cycle! Once on holiday, you can ditch the car and cycle to your local destinations, decreasing pollution and getting exercise and fresh air at the same time. Yet again, you can also skip the traffic – sounds appealing doesn’t it!
When on holiday, you can also make simple tweaks to be as eco-friendly as possible. For example:
- Only buy or take the food you need, to prevent food waste. Try not to your fridge with ‘maybe we will eat that’ items.
- Bring along your reusable water bottles and ditch the single-use plastic water bottles available. This is especially important in hot weather as we often forget and buy a small plastic water bottle from the corner shop. Use your tap for refills or buy one huge plastic water bottle instead to refill from.
- Don’t get overzealous with the shampoo and soap. It can be tempting to use all of the complementary shower gels provided, but remind yourself of the harsh substances used that can end up in rivers as water pollution – that might put you off using more than you really need.
(take a look too at a few other of our articles to think about on holiday too … see https://365actions.org/list-of-all-posts/ … Ed)
It’s all about a sustainable lifestyle and the little changes and mindful considerations DO make a difference, and need not detract from your holiday experience.
See what changes YOU can make!