Traveling is one of life's greatest pleasures, a welcome respite from daily routine for the majority of us and a gratifying lifestyle for those who make a living from it (those lucky ducks). But let's face it — modern-day travel has a significant impact on the local environment and people. If you want to be a responsible traveler, these helpful tips for traveling green can help you be the conscious, smart globetrotter we all strive to be, as well as make your trip that much more thrilling.
Although it does less harm to the environment than, say, the production of meat, tourism has its effects on Mother Nature — not to mention its socioeconomic impact on the local culture. Sustainable travelers do their best to leave as little a mark as they can.
According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the tourism industry directly generates 5 to 14 percent of global warming caused by CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gasses.
"To understand the magnitude of these numbers it should be noted that if we compare tourism with the emissions of countries then tourism would be the fifth (biggest) polluter worldwide," the UNEP continued. "In fact the amount of emissions produced by tourism, an activity that each person is engaged in (for about four to five weeks) each year, is bigger than the emissions produced by billions of people leaving and working for one year in big industrialized countries or new emerging economies."
Responsible travel practices help to reduce these effects. Here are some tips to show you just how easy traveling green can be.
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Cover image via iStock / SamSpicer