Green Living Tips : 12 Simple Steps to Go Green
Green travel refers to responsible travel practices focusing on economic, social, cultural and environmental sustainability. It involves travelling in a way that contributes to environmental conservation and community development efforts. In broader sense, green travel isn't limited to going on vacations, but includes making our regular travel sustainable - especially with reference to the means of transport chosen. This means more use of public transport instead of privately-owned vehicles, car-sharing, biking and walking ! Travelling sustainably can reduce greenhouse gas emmissions considerably. Besides, responsible travel can help reduce waste, aid conservation efforts and support local businesses and communities trying to go green. If practised wisely, green travelling can be an economical and enjoyable experience !
SPOTLIGHT : 2017 - Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development
Sustainable Tourism, also called eco tourism, primarily involves traveling responsibly to areas of natural interest in a way that helps conserve the environment and bring about socio-economic development of the local people. It's an attempt to blend recreation with responsibility - giving the tourists an opportunity to enjoy their vacation while contributing to the environmental conservation efforts and sustainable development of the destination.
Some believe that the concept of sustainable tourism should be extended to include traveling to not just a place of natural beauty but any popular tourist spot - which may even be a holy or historical place. This is because this concept has more to do with responsible travel practices than the destination itself. However, a place of natural significance should always be the prefered ecotourism spot. A place bustling with flora and fauna will give the tourists hailing from urban areas a welcome respite from the concrete jungle. They will not only learn to appreciate nature and understand the importance of conservation, but also get to know the challenges and culture of the native people.
The United Nations has designated Year 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. The objective is to create awareness among governments, corporates and individuals about the contribution "Sustainable Tourism" is making towards growth and development while garnering all forces to make tourism an agent for constructive change. This is also an opportunity for the stakeholders of the Tourism industry to determine how the environmental problems like climate change and global warming are affecting the industry and find ways to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of this sector. According to the UN's World Tourism Organization, tourism is responsible for about 5% of the global CO2 emissions. But that's probably the only downside. With over a billion tourists travelling internationally every year, the tourism sector is a major employer - providing one in every eleven jobs globally ! Contributing to about 10% of the world's GDP, this industry's ability to sustain economies - especially in the developing world - cannot be ignored. Tourism can help raise funds for conservation of wildlife and protection of biodiversity. Further, Sustainable Tourism can help break ethnic barriers, promote cross-cultural interactions, revive traditional customs and instil pride in the local communities about their identity and heritage. More ...
Steps to make travelling, or any long distance tour, sustainable include :
- Travel light. Make sure that the luggage you carry is as minimum as possible
- Avoid carrying potential waste material. Avoid carrying single use batteries, disposable food packs/ napkins/ cups/ bottles. Carry resuable items - batteries /water bottles /shopping bags
- Choose sustainable modes of transport. Use public transport - bus / train ; avoid plane for short distances. For moving around at the destination- walk / cycle , board buses or try renting electric vehicles. This way carbon emission - per traveler - gets reduced.
- Choose environmentally responsible hotels / tour operators. Look for travel agents who can suggest sustainable tarvel options. Book hotels that have energy efficiency and waste management programs in place. Hotels serving organic food and employing local people are even better.
- Follow local government instructions for tourists. There might be restrictions imposed by local administrations on moving around at certain places / times or ban on buying / disposing of certain items - especially in wildlife habitats. Such rules should be strictly adhered to.
- Contribute to the local economy. When necessary - or even for recreational purposes - buy products and hire services from "local" vendors and operators respectively.
- Participate in carbon offsetting programs. Travelers can buy credits from emission reduction projects by estimating the amount of carbon dioxide their tours are likely to produce.
A Green Vehicle is a road vehicle that runs on alternative fuel or one that causes lesser adverse impact on the environment than the conventional vehicles running on fossil fuels. In some countries the term is extended to include vehicles that comply with the governmental emission standards. Examples of Green Vehicle include battery-operated electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, compressed-air vehicles, natural gas vehicles and vehicles that run on normal fuel with blends of biodiesel or ethanol.
Green Driving Tips
Reducing fuel consumption not only helps the car-owners by reducing expenses, but also reduces the adverse impact on the environment with lesser emission of green house gases. Proper driving practices can help reduce fuel consumption, prolong the life of the car and lower the risk of accidents.
Here are some driving advice that can help save fuel, money and the environment.
- Drive smooth and steady - not by fits and starts
- Use overdrive and cruise control gears
- Avoid carrying unnecessary weight in the car
- Drive slowly at low speed
- Check and keep tyre pressure proper
- Avoid unnecessary idling
- Check oil and change it when needed
- Avoid making multiple short trips
- Reduce use of airconditioner
- Get the engine tuned periodically
- Don't warm up the engine in winter
- Keep car in good condition with timely servicing