Going on holiday with all the comforts of home is fine – as long as you remember to respect the environment and traditions of the destination. Wild Asia’s Deborah Chan gives us some pointers.
Singapore. 25 June 2011. Whether it is time taken to reflect in your own backyard, a trip to the park, or an adventure to some wild country, we are constantly interacting with our environment. So taking a few basic steps to make sure that interaction is mutually beneficial (or at least causing as small a detriment as possible) makes sense for us and this planet Earth.
“It is important that we take time from our busy routine to re-connect with our environment,” says Wild Asia’s program manager Deborah Chan. “After all, we ultimately depend on our environment and natural resources for every aspect of our modern lives”.
So when you go on holiday – and even when you stay at home – here are a few good and easy ways to make a slight difference. And if we all do it, that will make a big difference!
- Eat local food- did you know that buying local foods and produce decreases the CO2 emissions from transport? Locally grown food travels less, reduces CO2 emissions, and is fresher!
- Reduce electricity consumption- turn off the air conditioner as much as you can. This helps cut down on power bills – and reduces global warming.
- Reduce and Reuse- take reusable bags for your trip. This saves on energy used to produce plastic bags and it reduces the amount of toxic plastic materials sent to landfills. And it helps break the cycle of tourist shops automatically giving a bag with every purchase.
- Recycle- take the extra time to separate your rubbish. Even out of the way places (as well as your home) have karung guni men who are glad of plastic bottles and cans to recycle.
- Take home what you brought. Be prepared to squash cans, bottles, paper, and cardboard and take it to the recycling centre nearest to you.
- Conserve Water- Help to conserve water by taking short showers and turning off the tap while you brush your teeth. Every drop counts!
- Read about local cultures. Learn a few words of the local language - travelling with respect earns you respect.
- Support locals. Find out about local conservation or social projects you could visit on your trip, and if/how you can support them.
- Choose wisely. Ask to see the tour operator's policy for responsible tourism.
- Reduce carbon emissions. Take fewer and longer holidays, use trains and public transport not air-con limos!Buy local souvenirs, not imported fluffy toys.
- Hire a local guide. You'll discover local culture and people, and at the same time contribute directly to local income.
- Shop wisely. Never buy products made from endangered species, hard woods or ancient artifacts
- Respect local cultures. Be aware of traditions and holy places - if in doubt ask advice.
- Reduce your impact. Hire a bike or walk when convenient – it is a great way to meet locals and reduce pollution and carbon emissions.
- Refill drink bottles with boiled water. Always going for imported bottled water increases CO2 and promotes litter.
Wild Asia is a social enterprise working with businesses and communities to promote best practices for a sustainable future. For more information:
About Wild Asia, please visit: www.wildasia.org