The UN has warned that we have less than 11 years to limit our climate change catastrophe. Feeling overwhelmed? Here’s 10 easy things travellers can do.
Pack a zero-waste suitcase
Bring your own stuff to avoid using single use plastics and to reduce unnecessary waste while on the move and at your destination, including a reusable water bottle, reusable cup, bamboo travel utensils, fabric napkins and your own supply of toiletries. Be organised to avoid having to buy stuff you might forget such as sunglasses. See Clever Stuff for ideas.
Make smarter transport choices
Choose to stay in a walk-able area. This allows you to take in sights off the beaten path too. Walk and cycle whenever possible. Take the train or use public transport whenever possible. If you need a car, consider buying an electric one. To read about why our feet are made for walking, read here.
Bring your own food
Avoid plastic food and drink packaging (and eat more healthily) by bringing your own food with you on the move - most especially when you get on an airplane, for most airlines still excel at packing every little thing you can think of in a piece of plastic.
Eat less meat
Scientists tend to agree that avoiding meat (particularly beef) and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet. Choose more plant-based dishes instead. Support hotels and restaurants that offer meat-free meals and that use locally sourced ingredients. For more on protein options.
Be a minimalist
Recycling is good, but remember recycling doesn’t always happen after the stuff leaves your hands. Better to reuse things, buy fewer things and consume less. And when you do buy on your trip, demand low carbon options for everything you consume, from clothes to food. For more on conscious packaging, see here.
Be conscious of energy
Turn off your thermostat or lower it at home before you set off, and in your hotel while you are out. Switch off the aircon, throw open the windows and use nature’s fresh air to keep you cool instead. If there are no windows to throw open - switch hotels! If you see lights or heating on that aren’t needed elsewhere in your hotel, speak out.
Get angry with hotels
Most hotels are way behind when it comes to ditching the plastics, moving to zero waste and offsetting their carbon footprint. Make it known you don’t support one-time use of plastic water bottles, straws, and other containers and wraps or the regular replacement of soaps and toiletries. Vote with your wallet and only stay in places that are accountable and transparent around sustainability with no greenwash allowed; and are committed to moving towards zero waste (find some here) and offsetting their carbon footprint.
Be an activist
Individual change can make a real difference, but the real challenge for our planet are the politicians, political systems and businesses. Unite with others and take collective action to urge them to make changes and make your voice heard. School Strike for Climate, also known as Fridays for Future or Youth Strike 4 Climate, a growing international movement of students leaving their school to take part in demonstrations for climate action calls for a global strike on Fridays.
Sign up for a nudge
Want a bit of hand holding? itmustbeNOW.com publishes a weekly article to boldly advance sustainability and promote smarter travel for people and planet. Find more of our features in Conscious Travel Tips, Clever Stuff, Tuck In, Be Well, The Big Questions and Movers & Mavericks. Sign up for the NOW Newsletter and your chance to win a travel prize by engaging with NOW in social media.
For more on making your trip count for people and planet, see 8 ways to make your trip count .