There are several descriptions and terms to what green traveling is; but to break this down to its basic meaning, green traveling advocates for minimal disruption of the ecosystem, respect to cultural values at your destination, responsible and ethical behavior, environmental conservation and positive contribution to local communities. So why is the gospel of green travel coming up in every tourism related congregation? It’s because more than a billion ‘strangers’ are hosted in new destinations all through the year; sometimes with devastating results on culture, nature and human resource. Being at the forefront of the campaign for green travel, Jumia Travel offers several tips on how you can personally champion to win the Green Traveler title.
The Principles of Green Travel
While no one will ask you to show them a stamped list of your values and guiding ethics together with the boarding pass, it’s important to make green travel a lifestyle as opposed to a one-off experience. On top of these tenets include using environmentally friendly products; think cosmetics, tools and techie gadgets. Once you tick check on this one, avoid travelling in multitudes as this will cause greater strain on the environment, do not feed wildlife and refrain from humanizing animals as you try for the most liked selfie; they are not your pets. One last thing, apply and adhere to hiking and camping rules such as keeping to and camping on an established trail or site, keeping off riparian stretches, maintaining sanitation, and take caution with fire.
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Whenever you set out to explore, pack a re-usable water bottle that you can re-fill throughout your excursion. Remember the depressing revelation that humans have released plastic pollution enough to coat the whole earth in a cling foil? The one or two water bottles you throw around will end up making an extra inch on this despicable foil! Take up responsibility and own your escapades; with good intentions to return some day and find the area as attractive as you’ve found it. Other areas of interest include in-room usage of resources including water – keep your showers as short as possible – and sort your trash accordingly to ensure a seamless process through the hotel’s recycling process.
Choose Eco-friendly Lodges
While some hotels merely use the Eco-friendly narrative as a sale’s pitch to woo conservation-conscious travelers, some lodges do walk the talk all through the seasons. Top on the clues to look out for is the hotel’s energy source; do they have solar and other forms of renewable energy. Secondly, ask about their support for the community and also the staffing policy to see if they have adhered to the call to uphold local employment. Once you board, remember to switch off all the electronics when not in use and also ask if you can reuse your towels and beddings for a second day as opposed to changing them every new morning. Good examples of eco-friendly lodges in Kenya include Elsa Kopje in Meru and Distant Relative Ecolodge in Kilifi.
Reduce your Carbon Footprint
This especially applies to your mode of transport. Where possible, book direct flights as planes emit more carbon during takeoff and landing. If renting a car, go for a ‘clean’ car that is well serviced, and try to keep your gas usage as low as possible. Find an economic, well-serviced small car as opposed to a fuel guzzler that will result to more carbon on your trail. Better still and where applicable, hike and bike around, besides taming down your emission, you might discover a new love.
Food is part of the cultural heritage for many communities and countries. Here in East Africa, Uganda is associated with rolex – a popular street food named by CNN as the fastest growing (in fame) African food, Tanzania is popular for its rich culinary of Swahili delicacies while Kenya makes mouth-watering memories just from a taste of the barbecued nyama choma. The best of any food is certainly found in its fresh form, and therefore beats logic for anyone to pack sardines and baked beans while on an off-shore trip. Remember on top of savoring the best of your meal’s nutritional value and exotic taste, you will have saved the world from another unneeded tin or plastic bag, as well as carbon emissions on long-haul transportation of food. You definitely will also be supporting the local economy and therefore engaging in socially responsible and impactful tourism for community conservation.
Want to save on packing space and a resulting extra pennies on the luggage scale? Go slow on the ‘personal effects.’ Unless you are planning a galactic explore; chances are you’ll find a tube of toothpaste in your destination. So, if the hotel will not be providing the same, buy your toiletries from the kiosk on your way. Buying local is not restricted to drinking water and toiletries, rather, it’s aimed at ensuring that a bigger percentage of the money you spend remains within the economy as opposed to ‘country of origin’