In recent years, travel has taken on a whole new dimension by increasingly valuing sustainable (responsible) tourism that opposes mass tourism. The Covid health crisis has reinforced this situation all the more. This practice consists in limiting the carbon footprint of your travels as much as possible. It’s not just a story of pollution. There are different factors that make it possible to travel responsibly.
Why should we travel eco-responsible?
As tourism is a booming sector, it has negative consequences for the environment, for local populations as well as for biodiversity. Tourism pollutes, that’s a fact. The plane emits nearly 4% of global CO2 emissions. Note that digital technology and in particular video streaming already emits more CO2 into the atmosphere with exponential growth expected. Other economic sectors emit even more. This is no reason to always pollute more especially when it comes to discoveries and leisure …
Traveling is a unique experience to develop. It is essential to do it in an eco-responsible way. This greatly reduces its impact on the planet while enjoying the trip in a different way. When you adopt the attitudes of the eco-responsible traveler, you help protect the environment.
Adopt eco-sensitive actions to travel responsibly
Responsible tourism is limiting its impact on the environment and on the people who live in the places you choose to visit. To do this, certain actions must be adopted for responsible consumption. This requires its adaptation to the local culture, the limitation of its waste and its consumption at the place of destination. It also goes through the means of transport you will use. Think of soft mobility transport such as cycling, use public transport while avoiding the plane as much as possible once there or the private car.
Foster relationships with locals
Favor accommodation that makes an effort in terms of their impact on the planet. For example, by booking a room in an eco hotel, an establishment that fits into its environment or even in the inhabitant’s.
There is also Couchsurfing which is becoming more and more popular. This concept is based on the free provision of a bed or a sofa for a very short period, usually one to two days, and allows you to limit your energy consumption.
You also have to think about starting light. Taking too many clothes makes you change much more regularly than necessary, which involves a lot more machines to do and therefore too much water consumption and electricity costs. It’s also a way to avoid back pain … by carrying your luggage.
In your discovery of a country, it is very interesting to create opportunities to meet locals. And if you want to take a picture of them, ask for their permission!
Simple actions to limit your impact on the environment
In addition, take simple steps to reduce your consumption of waste and especially plastic: refuse samples, straws in restaurants, plastic bags in the market, favor water bottles and not plastic bottles. If these are not recycled, most of them end up in the oceans causing the deaths of millions of marine species. Also plan a bag for waste during excursions.
Lastly, limit your use of cosmetics, particularly in areas with little facilities for wastewater treatment plants … Everything is more easily found in nature. So opt for a non-polluting sunscreen. Sunscreen has certain components that can impact corals and fish. Instead, opt for mineral-based sunscreens which are more natural.
Also pay attention to the activities you do.
Thus, activities that consume a lot of resources, such as jet skiing, motor boating (not to speak of yachts…) or snowmobiles, consume a lot of fossil fuels. Golfing requiring enormous amounts of water in sometimes deserted places can also have a far greater impact than more environmentally friendly activities such as hiking in the great outdoors or swimming in rivers or the sea.
Trying the adventure of a humanitarian stay
Humanitarian tourism combines social awareness and preservation of the environment. It consists of improving the living conditions of local populations while preserving their environment. It is a form of tourism that revolves around humanitarian aid which has the value: “travel in the service of others”. Participating in the construction of a school or a clinic, imparting knowledge to underprivileged children are examples of humanitarian tourism.
Helping, feeling useful, discovering a new culture … going on a humanitarian mission is to allow you to help others but also to enrich yourself both professionally and personally.
Eco-volunteering for solidarity travel
Eco-volunteering is a form of “participatory tourism” which aims to help local organizations for the protection of nature, preservation and enhancement of animal, plant, environmental and cultural diversity. Thus, tourists traveling to South America will be able to help harvest organic coffee in a small Bolivian village, for example. Or discover the animals of the Amazon. Eco-volunteering is a way to travel, discover and participate in scientific and ecological missions.
This trend, which has been in vogue for several years, advocates tourism that respects time, people and the environment. Tourists will therefore prefer to travel by train or public transport to travel within the country, rather than using internal flights. This form of tourism makes it possible to discover a culture and a society as closely as possible and to make enriching encounters. Eat local, discover the culture and cuisine of a country, which will at the same time make it possible to bring the local economy to life. Discover crafts and give a gift that is more original than the gifts in the usual souvenir shops.
Supporting a local economy and meeting people, these are the reasons that motivate more and more tourists to choose slowtravel.
The best destinations for ecotourism
Ecotourism, also called “green tourism”, is a form of responsible travel based on the discovery and preservation of nature. Tourists will then be able to visit unspoiled natural sites, discover different cultures and move away from mass tourism. The impact of travel on nature is taken into account, and is intended to be as low as possible. Local people directly receive the benefits of ecotourism. The trip is therefore part of a sustainable development approach.
The unmissable eco-responsible destinations
– Costa Rica: A world benchmark in ecotourism. The country has more than 600 varieties of different plants and has 29 national parks and a hundred private reserves. It is also electricity that is 99% renewable.
– Brazil: One of the leading destinations for eco-responsible tourism. We find the Amazon rainforest which is none other than the largest tropical forest in the world. The country is full of sites shaped by nature (Albrolhos, Chapada Diamantina …)
– Canada: A territory full of perfectly intact natural parks. More than 35 parks and nature reserves are listed in Canada, including the second largest park in the world (Wood Buffalo National Park of Canada).
– Kenya: East African country known for its natural wealth and which is of increasing interest to tourists. Among the major sites of Kenya: Amboseli and Tsavo national parks, Kilimanjaro …
– Bhutan: The only carbon neutral country in the world and also the only one to be carbon negative. In addition, its constitution stipulates to protect 60% of the territory for the benefit of future generations.
You now know how to become an eco-responsible tourist!