We’ve been hearing the word ‘sustainability’ a lot lately. For the uninitiated, it is a concept of ‘being green’ to conserve nature. For those who have started embracing habits like separating trash, driving electric cars, growing your own garden, great! But did you know you can practise sustainable travel, too?
What is Sustainable Travel?
Sustainable travel is more than recycling and using metal straws. Two things we can look into are conserving the environment as well as supporting the destination’s heritage and cultural projects.
So, how can we change our travelling style to be more sustainable?
1. Stay at Eco-Friendly Accommodations
While planning your trip, look for stay-ins with green certificates. Features like solar power, energy-efficient lighting and recycling are among the things you should consider before booking a room. When it comes to housekeeping, you don’t exactly need to change towels or bedsheets every day (pretty sure not everyone does this at home, too) because it contributes to energy and water wastage. Just put on the ‘do not disturb’ sign.
2. Leave Only Footprints, Not Trash
This may sound obvious but it’s the most basic thing to do. If you’re out on the beach or hiking up a mountain, pack all your rubbish and dispose of it properly later. Not only this is important to keep the environment clean, but also minimises harm to wildlife. There have been one too many cases where animals die from eating trash such plastic and sharp man-made objects like cans.
3. Be Cautious of Wildlife Tours, Don’t Take Animal Rides
If you’re interested in joining wildlife tours, run a quick search on Google or TripAdvisor on the tour operators. Unless you’re at the zoo or animal sanctuaries that rescue and rehabilitate injured, orphaned or displaced animals – feeding, touching and any altering of natural behaviour should never take place. When it comes to tracking marine life like dolphins and whales, luring the animals near the boat with food is highly irresponsible. Good practice would be the captain and crew looking out for them. Animal rides, from elephant to horse-drawn carriage, are a big NO-NO. There have been enough graphic news and photographs proving how cruel operators are towards animals just so they can squeeze money from tourists.
4. Snorkel, Scuba Dive Responsibly
Sure, exploring the world underwater spells an amazing adventure. But always remember not to touch or tread on corals, or feed the fish. Simply touching corals to see what they feel like can cause the death of an entire colony. Oils from your skin can disturb the delicate mucous membranes which protect the animals from disease. For divers, set ego aside and evaluate your skills before jumping underwater so you won’t ‘accidentally’ kick or trawl the reef. It’s an open secret some diving operators aren’t strict when it comes to giving out diving licence to people. If you’re not ready, keep practising.
5. Getting Around: Less Petrol, More Electric!
One of the best ways to reduce carbon footprint when travelling is by using the greenest transport you can find. In cities, trains are your best green transport. But if you find yourself in the suburbs or in nature, the best way to get around is by walking or riding bicycles and electric scooters.
6. Check out Cultural Attractions
Exposing yourself to the many cultures of the world can be a rewarding experience. Catch traditional shows, visit ancient towns or join a cooking class – options are aplenty! Your interest will keep the heritage alive so it can be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike for generations to come. To learn more about food cultures through cooking classes around the world, book a slot via cookly.me
7. Buy Local Products
This is the best way to generate income for the community. When it comes to food, for example, find local restaurants, cafes or stalls to cure your hunger pangs. These small businesses usually serve the best home-cooked meals even great chefs draw inspiration from.
Sustainable travel doesn’t just apply to the visitors, but a responsibility shared with governments and everyone involved in the travel industry. What used to be nags about global warming and plastic oceans have today turned into serious issues that could jeopardise the planet. It’s not impossible to change our travelling habits, we just have to start somewhere.
Travel Responsibly Anywhere, Everywhere You Go
To preserve and protect the environment and the local community’s livelihood in Southeast Asia, AirAsia has launched +Me campaign, in support of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Here’s how you can play a part in this movement:
1. Share your sustainable living/travel tips on social media with hashtags #AirAsia and #plusme; or
2. Share this article; or
3. If you’re on WeChat:
- Follow AirAsia and launch chat with Customer Support team
- Type “加我(name)”, e.g. “加我Samuel”
- An e-pledge will be generated easily for your social sharing!
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