It's no secret that our world's oceans are in a serious state of decline. More and more trash, pollution, toxic runoff, and overfishing is taking place every day. The facts are staggering. Take, for instance, the fact that at our current rate plastic trash in our world's oceans will outweigh fish by the year 2050! The statistics are depressing at best, but don't lose hope!!! There is MUCH we (you, me, every person who loves the ocean) can do to help stop this current path we are on and start helping our oceans recover!
One person CAN make a difference and it all lies in adapting everything we do. You can change what you do on the daily with our past article on 10 Ways To Cut Out Plastic. Plus, you can also make big changes on the way you travel as well.
8 Things you can do on your next trip to keep our Oceans clean:
1. Think Eco-travel
When planning your next vacation, try choosing a destination that cares about its people and local resources. A true Ecotravel destination ensures that it's communities receive a fair share of the monies brought in by tourism and that it's not all just going to big hotel chains and the government. Also, ensure that the lodging you choose has sustainable practices like recycling, water conservation, etc.
2. Minimize your "Carbon Footprint"
For those that don't know yet, your "Carbon Footprint" is defined as the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by your activity. There are many ways you can minimize the carbon footprint you leave behind when traveling. First, you can choose to stay local or not travel very far. By not flying you reduce your carbon footprint significantly. The less distance you go the less your footprint. There are also ways you can offset your carbon footprint such as donating the monetary amount of your carbon footprint to a conservation organization trying to clean up our earth, like us! You can calculate that amount by visiting a website called terrapass.com.
3. Choose an Eco-Operator
When you travel, chances are you'll want to do some sort of fun excursion. Make sure you book with an Eco-Operator. They will go a long way to help keep our oceans clean. These operators do things such as only take divers and snorkelers to official Marine Sanctuaries, don't use anchors during boat trips, conserve greenhouse emissions by turning off engines as often as possible, and support their local resources and conservation efforts.
4. Choose your water wisely
It is true that at most international destinations you cannot drink the tap water. This is not a free pass, however, to consume as many plastic water bottles as possible. There are still sustainable ways to get your water intake. Bring a stainless steel water bottle with you from home and, once at your hotel, make a trip to the local grocery store to stock up on gallons of purified water. Then, just refill your stainless steel water bottle as needed. Or, if you want to go a step further, invest in a travel sized personal water purifier. You can then purify as much water as you need straight from your hotel sink and forgo the plastic trash build-up all together!
5. Put on your walking shoes
Instead of increasing your carbon footprint by renting a car or taking a taxi everywhere consider choosing a hotel, if possible, in the heart of your destination so that you can be free to walk where ever you need to go. If that's not entirely possible, consider using the local public transportation offered such as the bus or train. Not only will you save the planet, but being amongst the locals will greatly enhance your trip.
6. Take only photos, leave only footprints
You may have heard this before but it's true and it works. Take as many photos or video of your amazing trip as possible, but leave behind the natural souvenirs, especially the hundreds of dried seashells being sold by the vendor on the side of the road. Chances are those were not caught sustainably.
7. Pack Lightly
The less "stuff" you bring on your trip the lighter and easier you'll be able to travel. With easy to carry luggage you'll be better equipt to take mass public transportation, saving on your carbon footprint (see number 5 above). With lighter luggage, you'll also decrease your carbon footprint on your flight due to your decreased weight demand on the airplane. How do you travel lighter? The rule of thumb here is to pack what you want, and then cut it in half!
8. Start at home
Traveling eco-friendly actually starts before you even leave home. Make sure you unplug all unused electrical devices and set your thermostat to conserve your home's energy while you are gone.
We know you love the ocean, maybe even more than you love the land, so the next time you plan a vacation, keep these eight tips in mind when planning to create a more sustainable and rewarding trip than ever before! We CAN travel and be conservation minded at the same time and it all starts with you. Happy travels!