By Lily Donnelly, Travel Editor
The saying goes that every little helps, and this couldn't ring more true in today's increasingly warm climate. Don't just travel, travel sustainably by following these easy steps.
Awarded the title of European Green Capital in 2015, Bristol is famed for its eco-friendly ethos and environmental efficacies. Over the past 12 years, the Bristol Green Capital Partnership has received pledges from over 900 city-wide organisations, each committing to support the city in its ongoing quest for sustainability. As its residents, we too need to become a deeper shade of green - and even deeper still when it comes to travel.
Sustainable travel is defined by three pillars: the environmental, economic and social. So, in order to sustainably travel, these three pillars should structure your decisions. CO2 emissions can seem to become an inevitable evil, but there are ways of redeeming your travel sins and minimising their harmful effects on the environment. So here are some tips that will help you to be a sustainable traveller, in a time where ignorance is no longer blissful.
Awarded the title of European Green Capital in 2015, Bristol is famed for its eco-friendly ethos and environmental efficacies...As its residents, we too need to become a deeper shade of green
Holidays abroad are ever-so tempting (especially when some return flights to eastern Europe are cheaper than a train to Manchester and back), yet ever-so damaging to our environment. The large amounts of carbon emissions released by planes cannot be easily justified by a three-day long city break – but you don’t have to abandon the idea completely.
Either save up to spend more time away, thus making the flight worthwhile, and truly discover your surroundings over two weeks (months?) rather than one. And most emissions take place during take-off and landing, so take advantage of Bristol’s well connected flight paths when you feel like escaping to avoid unnecessary stop overs. Or, source other means of transport such as the Eurostar, Flix and Megabus, but as Greta Thunberg brutally discovered, private yachts do not a carbon emission save. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Bristol is a city all about independent business, and you should keep your broken chains out of your hand luggage when you next go away. By supporting local communities, tourists can support local economies thus helping the locals themselves to thrive rather than the exploitative hotel and resort chains that overrun many holiday destinations worldwide. And it’s sure to save you money in the process. Buying ingredients at market stalls, dining at a family-run restaurant and panic-buying at an artisanal gift shop? Consider the economic box ticked.
Top tip: over-tourism is becoming increasingly problematic in some of Europe’s biggest cities, so steer clear of Barcelona and Venice and opt for a choice off the beaten track.
Don’t take the wheel
Trusted platforms such as Lift Share are great ways of hopping in a car, offering a space in yours and halving the carbon footprint of your journey. Cheap, cheerful and much less harmful to our planet, carpooling will help you reach both your destination and green goals. If being in a confined space where you’re compelled to talk to strangers doesn’t quite tickle your fancy, hopping on a coach or a train is much better than driving four empty car seats back home for the weekend. But that’s obvious!
Packed lunches are not just for the library - bring your own sandwich or salad to save wasting both time and money at airport. Pack a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush, decant your toiletries into long-lasting & reusable travel bottles and if you’re going to a country where sanitary water isn’t guaranteed, invest in a bottle that has an in-built filter system. Although you probably already have a Chilly’s bottle if you’ve ever stepped foot in the ASS library.
Featured Image: Epigram / Lily Donnelly
Why not go to a Bristol Green Capital event? With a monthly mingle and weekly discussions on offer, continue your environmental awakening in your spare time. Stay in the loop on their website: https://bristolgreencapital.org