If there’s one thing that’s likely to put many people off living a more environmentally friendly life then it’s stopping them having a decent holiday. Most of us nowadays work pretty hard and I for one look forward to spending my holidays in some far distant location where I can learn about new cultures, visit interesting sites and try new food.
So if any Eco warrior tells me to swap it for two weeks in a tent twenty miles down the road, then frankly they can just count me out of this green revolution. In fact as I have two bases I’m already onto a loser with many people – spending some my winters working in Turkey and the rest of the time in the UK. Of course your attitude to these situations is also important, last year I was watching BBC Iplayer abroad (by using my computer and a proxy server if you’re interested) and I happen to chance on an interview of Sting by Jeremy Paxman. Now I don’t know if you’ve seen it but after Sting waffling on about using less resources and stuff – Paxman leveled this question at the eco pop star.
‘Do you feel uncomfortable travelling between various homes in various continents at enormous carbon cost?’
Ouch, you could feel it hit home and the hypocrisy of the pop star sat over his head like a huge neon sign. Which is of course the problem, you must practice what you preach to have any sort of moral authority on this matter. Sting’s environmental credentials took a huge hit simply because it was pointed out that he lives a life with a much higher carbon footprint than the rest of us.
So back to the issue the simple fact is that I can’t criticize people going on holidays as I’m not giving mine up for anyone. So what can we do to make sure that our trips have as little environmental impact as possible? Well here’s some starting ideas -
1) Learn about your destination. Get a feel of where you are going to from guidebooks, travel guides and the internet. Learn about local customs and be sensitive to them.
2) Try if possible to use a eco friendly tour operator. There are many who try and minimize their holiday impact on both the environment overall and the local culture.
3) Try and seek out locally owned business and use them. Using local guides and services minimizes greatly your impact. Using local transport instead of hire cars and imported coaches for instance.
There are many who would suggest that anyone who cared about the environment simply wouldn’t travel but I suggest that there are many who do care because they have travelled.