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In recent times, the world has started to become more aware of the waste that we are producing, the drastic change in climate and the ultimate impact of said things on the lives of us and our future generations. Due to the valiant efforts of youth climate activists like Greta Thunberg, Ridhima Pandey and Isra Hirsi – the young generation of the world has woken up to the horrors that this way of living is propagating.
According to recent studies; tipping points of forest loss, melting ice caps, soils overheating, rise of sea levels, plankton dying, over-burdening waste production and rampant misuse of fossil fuels is going to render the Earth almost unlivable by 2025. If we do not mass mobilize to fix these issues, then the carbon tipping point level of 500 parts per million (which is near extinction level) is going to consume every living being on the planet. That is something no one wants.
But, like Greta Thunberg rightly says “there is no magical cure” for this. We must all play our part in making this Earth greener, reducing our carbon footprints, holding big billion companies responsible for their destruction and making all our friends and family aware about the steps that they too can take to play their part.
This World Tourism Day, let us pledge to make our contribution to the cause. And for doing so, here are 10 simple tips that can help you travel more sustainably in the year 2020.
Say 'NO' To Flights
Airplane travel around the world burn up thousands of gallons of jet fuel every single week and emit the exhaust directly into the upper atmosphere. It has been scientifically proven that air travel is by far one of the most harmful to the environment. Swedesh activists have coined a term that supports their activism against airplane travel. It is called ‘flygskam’ and literally translates to ‘flight shame’.
In 2020, lets pledge to use the railways and roadways whenever possible and omit short distance travel via airplanes. After all, what’s better than a squad roadtrip?
Do NOT Litter
This one is a no brainer. According to The Energy and Resource Institute, the waste generated in Himachal Pradesh is going to rise from 400 ton/day to 705 ton/day by the year 2041. Even now, local authorities and NGO’s are struggling to cope with the sheer amount of waste produced in the state. And not surprisingly, a good percentage of this waste amounts to littering by tourists.
The beautiful trekking trails of Parvati Valley, Kullu Valley, Kangra Valley as well as many other districts are being defaced by the plastic and paper waste left behind in these areas. One can see the waste collecting beneath trees, under waterfalls and in every nook and crevice of a trekking trail – even at heights of 10000+ feet. Organizations like Healing Himalayas and Waste Warriors are doing their part to bring about a change, and so should we.
There is just one simple tip to prevent this. Do not litter. When trekking or hiking on a Himalayan trail, carry all your waste with you in your backpack so that you can safely deposit it once you are down. And if you see a friend or fellow trekker doing it – STOP THEM!
Opt For Reusables
Innumerable scenic locations around the country and especially in Himachal are being turned into open faced mini landfills simply because of the stark amount of single use plastic waste that people choose to dump there. The once clandestine location of Rohtang Pass is now heavily littered with plastic, which is clogging up streams and smaller rivulets.
Water bottles, crisp packets, napkins, plastic wrappers, candy wrappers, glass alcohol bottles, tyres and carry bags are the most notorious of all. Even on treks, climbers are grossly unaware of the sheer amount of waste that they leave behind; essentially turning spectacular treks like Hampta Valley, Kheerganga, Parashar Lake and Triund into high-altitude dumping grounds.
How we can help is to opt for reusable water bottles, tiffins and carrying our own cutlery during a trek. This ensures that we can refill our bottles whenever necessary and do not have to litter or dispose of the single use plastics anywhere in the greens.
Use Public Transport
This one is not really applicable for the treks but more so for when you are travelling to a city. We know it is very tempting to book an Uber, hop into a local cab or hire your own private vehicle – but this doing on a mass scale does have disastrous consequences on the environment. Especially in cities like Delhi- where the AQI is always at an all time low.
The smart thing to do when travelling in a city is to use public transport. Almost all cities have high development, cheap and fully functional modes of transport like buses, metros and local trains that can take you one attraction to the other; without aiding in killing the planet or burning a whole in your pocket. After all, public transport is the lifeline of the city.
If you are a traveller who wants to get to know the city well, see how locals live and make the most of its culture and heritage -then act like a local and take the bus. It might be a bit push and pull, but it is rewarding in more ways than one.
Skip The Hotel. Stay Communal
Single occupancy or double occupancy hotel rooms require a lot of energy and power to be kept comfortable and electrified than multi-person dorm rooms. Starting from a personal kettle, water heater, space heater to the television and iron – a personal hotel room is much more of a vice than communal dorm rooms.
Dorm rooms are not only environmentally friendly, they are also cheaper and allow you to meet travellers from around the globe. With a backpacker revolution beginning to stir round the globe, now is a great time to transition from lonely, drab, power hungry hotel rooms to fun, friendly and budgeted backpacker hostels.
So, here were out TOP 5 tips to travel sustainably in 2020. We hope that reading this gave you some idea about how small changes from our side can result in big changes overall. Spread the word, tell your friends and next time you want to travel – do it sustainably.
If you loved these tips, let us know. We will share more with you. Till then, happy travels.