With holiday and festival season upon us, many people will be traveling all over the Netherlands and beyond for some summer fun. While traveling should be carefree and easy, it is also important to remember how large your carbon footprint can become when going from place to place. No one wants to arrive at what you expect to be a beautiful, scenic beach, only to find trash and plastic littering the sand and water. Did you know that a single plastic bottle takes between 450 and 1000 years to break down in the ocean? According to a study by the MacArthur Foundation, if we continue polluting at the same rate, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by weight in 2050.
Luckily, our partner agency Sea Going Green has created a fun and accessible Summer Guide for Sustainable Travel! In it, they discuss the importance of sustainability and why everyone should be a sustainable tourist, and even give some packing and travel tips to easily make your next vacation more eco-friendly.
Sustainability is such a hot topic these days, but many people don’t truly understand what it actually means to live sustainably. The guide defines sustainability as “behaving in a way that ensures the potential of meeting present demands without compromising the prospects of future generations being able to fulfill these same needs,” or more simply, “acting in a way that won’t prohibit that same action in the future”. Making conscious decisions to live more sustainably is vital to protecting our environment so that future generations can enjoy the same beautiful beaches, clean air and water, and other landscapes that we do today.
The next question is, why should you be a sustainable tourist? Well, Sea Going Green points out that, “By acting as a sustainable tourist on your next holiday, you can leave an impression on other travelers to follow your lead!” This is so important because often it feels like it is impossible for one person to make an impact on our fight against plastic pollution. However, as Sea Going Green reiterates, “it will take changing the behaviors of tourists and locals on a grand scale to completely conquer this issue,” and we must start somewhere.
It might seem like changing your travel habits would be too costly or take too much effort, but actually, there are many easy ways to travel more sustainably. One way to make a huge difference is to consider taking a train, boat, or bus instead of a plane to your destination. This might involve shifting your travel plans a bit, but often planes don’t even reach the vast majority of a country, so you could discover a hidden gem instead of being in a crowd of other tourists. Another way is to buy your souvenirs from authentic, locally sourced shops instead of generic tourist stores. This not only stimulates the local economy, but you will almost definitely find a more genuine, higher quality product. Lastly, you can easily pack yourself a sustainable travel kit, including a reusable water bottle, foldable shopping bag, ocean safe sunscreen, bamboo toothbrush, and of course some straw straws! This way, you can save money by not having to buy new items on vacation, and you can reduce plastic waste while you’re at it.
If you’d like to read more about traveling sustainably, check out the full Summer Guide for Sustainable Travel below.
Happy Summer and Safe Travels!!