The easiest guide to being a sustainable tourist
... when you start travelling again
The pandemic has made us stop, slow down and re-evaluate our priorities – and that includes a bigger conversation on sustainability. From clothes, bags to shoes and food, everything is going the sustainable route to save what is left of this beautiful planet that we call home. As we slowly resume travelling, the one thing to keep in mind (aside from abiding by all safety protocol) is going green, even when you’re on the go. Note down these tips as we talk to people from the industry to tell us how they indulge in sustainable tourism.
One of the easiest things one can do according to Zostel’s (India’s leading hostel chain) Marketing Head, Eshan Joshi is to stop using plastic straws. It is a simple no brainer and steel straws are a great alternative option. On top of this, he also suggests requesting restaurants to refill your bottles while you’re travelling. This will curb your plastic waste consumption and give the restaurant a good name too.
While adhering to the same tip as given by Joshi, Ayandrali Dutta, a reputed travel and food writer also believes that the way to go sustainable is to boost the local economy. She asks people to think, breathe and eat local when they’re travelling. Not only do you get to try new experiences but add value to the lives of the people living in that region. Ayandrali picks up gifts that work on the same lines as well – chocolates, candy, olive oil, spice mixes, or anything locally made.
Next, we asked Shramona Poddar, a travel influencer who is on the road half the year, how she has gone the sustainable way. She simplifies it for us by saying that we shouldn’t opt for amusement or rides that harm animals. It has been a livelihood for many for generations but it’s time we realise the repercussions of it. Another point that Shramona mentions is utilising electricity and water mindfully just like we would do it at home. Just because we’re staying in a hotel that doesn’t mean we’re entitled to the luxuries of wasting electricity for our comfort. Reuse the linens, refrain from doing laundry and keep the lights switched off when not needed – easy ways to actually make a difference.
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Coming back to Eshan, he grabs our attention with an extremely important point. “Now what I have shared above is common knowledge, what will really make a difference is when you start measuring how sustainable you are on your travels. Get yourself a discarded plastic bottle, preferably 1-2 litres and fill it with all the dry waste you generate on your travel. Come back home with the bottle and label it. Do it again on your next trip, this time aim to keep it lower than before, repeat the exercise till your bottle is empty. Then call yourself a legitimate sustainable traveller.” The benefits of doing this are that these bottles can then be used as bricks to make walls or furniture.
Choose transportation such as cycles, public buses that don’t harm the environment, the best solution is to explore a place by foot whenever possible.
Lastly, what really counts is consciously and continuously talking about it with friends, family and everyone else who you interact with. Awareness is key to make sustainability travel commonplace.