Become a Sustainable Traveler
We can all experience everything our planet has to offer and having a positive impact on the places we wish to see.
Our planet is our responsibility and we should all do the best we can to maintain, aid and restore it to its full beauty, because if we don’t, nobody will. I wish I could tell you there is one simple thing you can do and all the damage we have done to our planet in the last 200 years would be erased. Well, it might not be 1 thing, but there are 2 methods you can introduce to your everyday life to minimize your footprint and become part of the solution.
The average person produces 1kg of waste a day, this adds up to 2.3 trillion tons globally, a year!
Zero Waste is a lifestyle that promotes garbage reduction and avoids waste at all costs. In the UK only 43% of all trash is recycled, the remaining 57% goes in a land-field, underground, or in the oceans. Every year we throw 8 million tons of plastic in the oceans, and if these numbers don’t change by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish. If this hasn’t horrified you enough, every single piece of plastic ever produced, still exists!
So what can you do to help? You can follow the 5 principles of Zero Waste:
- Refuse:NO to plastic of any kind, to one-use products, samples, freebies, paper waste, junk mail
- Reduce: cut down your expenses, if you need something, borrow, buy second hand, or of great quality
- Re-use:use materials that last, such as steel, wood, glass, tin, or natural fibres like cotton and linen
- Recover:don’t throw away your scraps, but turn it into broths, compotes, chutneys, soups, and recover energy through composting
If after the first 4 steps you still have trash to throw away, then and only then you can recycle:
- Recycle:use recycled materials as much as possible, and separate your garbage in different bags
Contrary to common belief, minimalism is not the art of owning nothing, nor living in a sterile space, and it has nothing to do with owing a certain number of objects. This lifestyle is inspired by the Japanese Zen philosophy and it is more about your mindset than your physical reality. In fact, minimalism is about having only what is necessary, and doing only what serves purpose in our life, so it’s centred around what is essential for you.
Marketing and advertising make us believe that we are incomplete, and that the answer to our in-satisfaction is whatever product they are trying to sell us. This feeds our subconscious and chains us to a consumerist lifestyle that will never make us happy. Through minimalism we can get rid of all the excess in our life, removing everything that doesn’t serve a purpose. We tend to surround ourselves with object to fill a void, and end up carrying around confusion, chaos, untidiness; our primary needs end up buried under a mountain of useless junk.
The hardest part is simply to begin, because it will seem like an impossible task and it will feel like an endless process. But trust me you will get out on the other side so much happier! Minimalism will change the way you look at your possessions and the purging phase is the most liberating experience I ever had. You will get so much satisfaction seeing your space getting clearer.
Where should you start? Look through all the objects you own and make a list of everything
Assess each object by asking yourself the following questions:
– What purpose does this object serve?
– What need does it satisfy?
– Does this object make you happy?
– When is the last time you used it?
– Do you have another one that does the same job?
– If you lost it, would you be upset about it?
Once you have answered all the questions you will have an idea about what you want to keep and what you can get rid of.
How does that translate into your travelling experience? How can you make a difference?
You can see the world without compromising the environment and the local communities:
- Use the most energy-efficient transportation available
- Be resource efficient and use energy, water, and other resources only when necessary
- Use reusable materials, so avoid plastic, and recycle whenever possible
- Share your experience so you can help educate others, and more people will get involved
- Engage in sustainable programs wherever you go, so you can leave the place cleaner than you found it
- Not participate in activities that harm the environment, the animals and the local community
- Remember that you are in someone else’s home: they will have to live with whatever you will leave behind
- Spend money so that it remains with the local community
- Use services owned by local businesses or members of the community
- If resources are scarce make sure you are as self sufficient as possible
- Be sensitive to fair pricing and do not seek out bargains at the expense of the local producer
- Be satisfied with what the local economy can provide
- Remember that everyone is different, not better or worse, so treat everyone with respect and dignity
- Avoid offensive behavior, especially in regard to clothing, traditions and beliefs
- Be humble and do not expect special privileges
- Enter a culture in a spirit of humility, with a desire to understand it before forming an opinion about it
- Choose activities that preserve and celebrate cultural diversity
We hope you will use some of the above ways to lower your travelling impact, even if you incorporated just one of these steps you would be helping the planet more than you did yesterday. Happy holidays!
Maria Vittoria Compagnoni
Founder of Simply EcoNomads
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