The invisible impacts of your holiday

It seems a lot harder to be environmentally conscious while travelling. At home, we can figure out how to incorporate sustainability into our everyday routines but, while we are on holiday, these often go out of the window. We forget about the consequences of our actions and our environmental impact seems almost invisible.

Most of us do not worry about where our food is coming from when we order in a big city restaurant, nor do we bother scouting out a recycling bin if we can only see normal bins along a beach. When you consider the collective impact of this mindset, it is clear we need to have a re-think.

It really doesn’t take that much effort to, for example, bring some water purifiers and a water bottle, to save those endless purchases of plastic water bottles.

And it is not only waste that we have rendered invisible – there are so many other factors we have forgotten to consider.

For instance, according to the BBC World Service’s programme“The Environmental Impact of Travel and Tourism”, the majority of your holiday may be imported. In other words, from foreign-owned airlines to foreign-owned hotels to imported food, you may be contributing very little to the local economy and contributing a great deal to the emissions used for imports. What is the point of going on holiday, if we are still using everything from home?

It may seem as though being environmentally conscious takes more work and adds stress to your holiday, but making slightly different choices can make a big difference. By enjoying the local food and embracing the local culture, you can help the local economy and save emissions.

Instead of opting for a jeep safari, spewing out pungent fumes and chugging noisily down the dirt tracks, why not try a horse-riding safari? Not only will this take you closer to the wildlife (since the animals are far less scared of horses than they are of jeeps) but you will be able to feel the soft breeze, hear the exotic birds and take in your surroundings properly.

This is just one environmentally conscious choice – easy and with no disadvantages. Who wants to race through a safari park, feeling a little nauseous in a bumpy, overcrowded jeep, when you can see just as much on your own steed?

Rather than drinking a range of imported drinks, try a local wine tasting experience. Not only will this provide you with fascinating information about the wine you are trying, you might meet other travellers who, after a few glasses of wine, are sure to be your new best friends.

You will come away from the experience feeling like a true wine connoisseur and be able to wisely select your wines at every meal following the experience.

And remember to take some local wine home – bring it to your next dinner party and show off your new-found knowledge to your friends.

Being environmentally conscious on holiday really isn’t that hard, and it can open you up to new experiences that you may never have sought out in the past. Come back with a unique set of memories and the comforting feeling that you have done some good.

Originally published on The National Student –

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