Via California - March/April 2020 - 35

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: KIKE ARNAIZ / STOCKSY; SAATON / SHUTTERSTOCK; ALEKSANDRA GIGOWSKA / SHUTTERSTOCK;
BOND JP / SHUTTERSTOCK; OPPOSITE: JOSH WHALEN / TANDEM STOCK

Travel can change us,

opening our eyes and minds to
new sights and new ideas. Trouble
is, travel may also be changing
the planet, in some not-somarvelous ways.
On a global scale, tourism is
responsible for 8 percent of yearly
greenhouse gas emissions, five
times the amount generated by
powering all the homes in the
United States. And that number is
likely to grow: In 2030, 1.8 billion
people are expected to travel
internationally, 400 million more
than the record high in 2018.
But the answer isn't to stop
traveling altogether, says Gregory
Miller, executive director of the
Center for Responsible Travel.
Tourism is an essential engine in
local economies all over the
planet, contributing more than
10 percent of the global GDP.
"People shouldn't feel guilty that
they want to travel," says Miller.
"But there are also ways to offset
or reduce [the consequences]."
To scale down the environmental
impact of your next trip, try these
ecofriendly suggestions, sorted
into two broad categories.

Choose your
transportation
wisely
How you get to your destination
and how you get around once
you're there are the most important
choices you can make. After all, a
single flight can emit as much carbon in a few hours as one person
produces in an entire year.
For the journey from home to
wherever you're headed, choose
trains or buses when you can; use a
low- or no-emissions vehicle if you
drive. When you need to fly, go as
directly as you can-planes burn the
most fuel during takeoffs and landings. And, if you have the choice,
opt for airports that are trying to be
carbon neutral. For a list, see
airportcarbonaccreditation.org.
After you've arrived at your destination, use public transportation or
explore on foot, bike, or scooter.
Miller also recommends buying carbon offsets from a reputable nonprofit such as Carbonfund.org or
Cool Effect.

Leave no trace
Once you get to where you're going,
you can make an effort to leave
nothing behind.
Take, for example, plastic bottles.
Humans use 1 million of them per
minute. And in places where water
quality is questionable, they're often
considered the safest way to transport and consume H20.
As an alternative, bring along a
reusable water bottle and refill it at
water dispensers or restaurants.
Worried about the potability of local
drinking water? Use a purification
system such as LifeStraw or SteriPen.

While you're at it, bring along a
reusable shopping bag, a nonplastic
drinking straw, a cloth napkin, and
eating utensils; all help you avoid
single-use products.
When you pack, skip the tiny
travel-size products and decant your
favorites into smaller, reusable TSAapproved containers. Cut down on
paper by opting for digital tickets for
flights, trains, and attractions. Many
museums and cities have apps or
audio tours, so you can skip printed
brochures and maps, too.
Trash isn't the only thing tourists
leave behind. As of 2021, two common sunscreen chemicals that damage coral reefs-oxybenzone and
octinoxate-will be banned in
Hawaii. If you're headed somewhere
beachy, look for sun-protective
clothing and sunscreens that use zinc
oxide or titanium dioxide instead.
If your lodgings have airconditioning, set it to a moderate
temperature when you're in the
room, and turn it off when you aren't.
Use lights and water as sparingly
as you can. Ask housekeepers to
change linens every other day-or,
if you're there for just a couple of
days, not at all.
When you make the effort to
reduce your environmental footprint
as a tourist-and also seek out ways
to support locals financially and
culturally-"travel becomes a force
for good," says Gavin Tollman, CEO
of Trafalgar, which hosts guided
vacations around the world. "If each
of us does our fair share, the cumulative effect of that becomes hugely
impactful." ‚óŹ
mandy ferreira is a contributing
editor for AAA and writes for Sunset.

A A A | VIA

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http://www.airportcarbonaccreditation.org http://www.Carbonfund.org

Via California - March/April 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Via California - March/April 2020

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