Green Travel: Responsible Tourism

| 5/11/2009 11:49:10 AM

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Although we all need to get away, our travel can negatively affect the environment of the place we visit. However, by taking a few small steps, we can help protect our vacation spot’s environment and keep it clean for those who come after us. 

On your next vacation – whether local, national or international – keep these tips in mind to ensure you’re being a responsible tourist. By following them, you can adhere to the old mantra of “take only a photograph, and leave nothing but a footprint” – but not a carbon footprint! 

• Bring a reusable water bottle: Every year millions of plastic water bottles end up in a landfill. Unfortunately, plastic water bottles are popular with tourists. On vacation access to water isn’t as easy as going to the kitchen and grabbing a glass, so many tourists fall prey to the water bottle trap – buying them in packs, rarely reusing them and then dumping them in the trash when done. Fixing this is simple: bring your own reusable water bottle and fill it up multiple times. If you’re visiting a place where the drinking water isn’t safe, it’s even easier to give in to water bottles. Other options, however, such as water purification tablets, will allow you access to water without the pesky plastic bottles.

• Buy local: If you’re looking for a snack or making yourself dinner away from home, try to buy from a farmer’s market. Buy souvenirs from local sources as well, but watch out for items made from endangered plants and animals. Not only will you be supporting the local economy, but you’ll be minimizing your carbon footprint by buying products that weren’t flown in from overseas.

• Hike friendly: Always stay on the marked path. Wandering off the trail can hurt the vegetation and disturb animals. Keep track of your trash and take it out with you – and if you see trash from other hikers, pick it up!