Green trends are gaining ground. We are already used to debates about responsible shopping, ways to save water or reduce plastic. Recently, there has been more and more talk about responsible travel, i.e. the ethical side of tourism and slow travel. Let's take a closer look at this issue.
Green travel for everyday life
While the aim of this article is to introduce you to the eco-friendly version of tourism, the exploration of this topic should start with our everyday journeys - to school or work, university or training. Moving short distances on a macro scale has an impact on the state of the climate. The least favourable means of transport from the point of view of Mother Nature is our own car. It offers considerable comfort and flexibility, but nature pays a high price for our comfort. Every car powered by an internal combustion engine emits CO2 and other harmful gases (nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, aldehydes, etc.). Added to this are noise and traffic congestion. The latter, administered in large doses, translates into frustration for passengers and drivers.
Schoeller Allibert's designers are aware of the costs associated with wheeled transport. With a view to reducing the aforementioned disadvantages, we have introduced folding containers into our range. Their side walls can be folded up for return transport when empty containers are returned to their next loading location. This translates into fewer vehicles on the road and lower environmental costs. For example, a mega truck trailer holds 99 unfolded Magnum Optimum 1208 containers and 363 folded units of the same model.
Back to travel. An alternative to private cars is public transport - buses, trams, trains, trolleybuses. Moving by public transport has lower costs for the environment (lower or zero emissions), as well as for the passengers themselves - season tickets are usually cheaper than fuel bills. The increasing quality of public transport in many Polish cities is evidenced by: changes to electrically powered rolling stock, emerging transfer centres and passenger service applications. All this is intended to encourage people to leave their cars behind. So what causes the streets to keep jamming? The congestion of cars is largely due to our convenience and a specific sense of prestige.
A hybrid solution, combining features of driving and public transport, is carpooling, i.e. people taking similar routes together. An alternative to motorised vehicles is the bicycle. Popularisation of commuting to work and school by bike goes hand in hand with the improvement of the infrastructure of cycle paths, covered parking at workplaces and the possibility to refresh oneself before starting one's duties. In large cities, urban bicycle rentals operate efficiently, so that even people without their own bicycle can use this type of commuting. In the case of bike commuting we face a similar dilemma as in the case of car journeys: do we put our own comfort or Mother Nature's interest above all else?
Ecological transport on long distances
When planning a holiday, it is worth keeping in the back of our minds, that our choices in this respect also translate into the shape of the environment. The most frequently raised issue in this regard is air travel. Cheap airline tickets open the imagination and fuel dreams of foreign travel. When choosing sky-high carriers, it is important to remember that the plane is the most harmful means of transport, and that flying leaves an incomparably larger carbon footprint than travelling by rail or even by coach or car. Airlines are going to great lengths to reduce their environmental costs - they use environmentally friendly fuel, have regeneration programmes (e.g. KLM supports reforestation) and the aviation industry is making ambitious plans for climate neutrality by 2050.
A way to avoid flying is through local destinations. Many interesting and charming regions can be reached by skipping airports. We live in a beautiful, geographically diverse country. Our immediate neighbours also have quite a bit to offer in this regard. Instead of the Maldives, Kenya or Bali, we can successfully explore regional qualities. At this point, it should be added that many typical tourist facilities have been created on the ruins of the natural environment. An example of such a creation aimed at foreign visitors is the Palm Islands in Dubai. This artificial archipelago was created using, among other things, sand imported from Australia (which completely destroyed the microclimate of the places from which the sand was sourced) and requires a huge amount of money to maintain the islands in perfect shape, pleasing to the eyes of visitors.
Ethical tourism - you are human everywhere
Many of us treat holidays as a reward for hard work. This attitude can deactivate thinking and activate the urge to consume. Although very tempting, an all-inclusive wristband does not necessarily deactivate your sense of responsibility. When living in hotels where you have a prepaid stay and everything is allowed to you, don't give up your common sense. Don't litter, don't put more on your plate than you can eat, indulge in an hour-long shower, save energy by turning on the air conditioning when you leave your room. Holidays are a time to savour life, but even then it's important to remember that we are still just guests of Mother Earth.
Give the locals a run for their money
In the most touristy locations, many people live off visitors. Large hotels or fancy attractions are usually owned by corporations, consortia or industry tycoons. Responsible tourism is also about supporting local businesses. When looking for a place to have lunch or dinner, avoid the well-known chain stores - take advantage of local cafés or restaurants. When buying souvenirs, ask for the products of local artisans. They are usually more expensive than wholesale Made in China figurines, but the money will stay in the pockets of the locals.
Responsible shopping, even on holiday
Many of us have good ecological habits in our blood. Why not also use them when travelling? Pack a cotton shopping bag in your suitcase so you don't use plastic bags. Take a reusable bottle (preferably with a water filter) and a coffee mug, as well as a set of bamboo cutlery so you don't use their plastic counterparts. When completing a traveller's luggage, it is a good idea to bet on good quality equipment that will not break down on the next trip. Quality usually goes hand in hand with a higher price (which makes you take more care of the item) and also translates into you generating less waste. What specifically are we talking about? For example, plastic sunglasses that are only bought for the duration of the trip or shoddy flip-flops that won't even last until the end of the holiday.