The terms “green”, “eco”, and “sustainable” have become pretty popular over the past few years. So popular, in fact, that they’ve become the new buzzwords of the 21st century. But, there’s so much more to them than simply being buzzwords. Sustainable travel is incredibly important. It does not simply mean you are going out and planting trees while you travel, but that you are helping to sustain the places you visit.
Sure, you found some amazing hidden island in Southeast Asia and you want to tell everyone about it, but is that really the best thing? Is that going to help or hurt the people living there? To some degree, maybe it will help because more tourists = more money, right? But, don’t forget that small islands cannot sustain huge numbers of people. They have limited resources, limited space, and limited water. Their infrastructures may not be able to handle a mainstream vacation package sending thousands of people to their island community.
So, what can you do? One huge consideration would be limiting your personal water consumption. While this may sound difficult, keep in mind the average tourist uses more water in 1 day than a villager in a developing country uses in 100 days. Let that sink in for a moment. Part of it is our showering habits. As Westerners, we tend to believe we must take at least one shower every single day. Not only is it unnecessary, but it’s incredibly unsustainable in these small island nations. You have control over this aspect, so shower less and don’t waste water you don’t need.
While you can control some aspects of your water consumption, other aspects are more difficult and perhaps you haven’t even thought about it, but swimming pools, hot tubs, and daily laundering of all of your hotel linens and towels takes a huge amount of water. You may not be able to control the swimming pools and hot tubs, but most hotels will ask if you need new towels every day or if you would be fine reusing yours. Choose to reuse! You were clean when you dried yourself off! 🙂 As for the swimming pools and hot tubs, perhaps opt for the ocean instead. If everyone did that, maybe they would choose to close the swimming pools and hot tubs. Okay, maybe not, but at least be knowledgeable and try to change your habits to live more like the villagers.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can continue to travel, but do so in a more sustainable way, feel free to read any of the posts below!