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After a year and a half of living under lockdown due to the pandemic, it’s now possible for us to restart some activities that were restricted. With some health security measures and vaccinations, now we can reclaim the pleasure of travelling, meeting new people, enjoying other cultures and ways of life. But knowing what we know now, can we continue to travel the same way we did before?
Before Covid, we barely considered the harm we used to cause to the places we travelled to. With travel suspension due to the border restrictions, we could see by the images on the Internet how some places regenerated without tourists. This made many of us aware of how harmful that kind of tourism can be. So, maybe it’s time for us to bring our attention towards sustainable tourism and focus on reducing our carbon footprint when we travel.
Post pandemic, it's time for us to bring our attention towards sustainable tourism. Sustainable tourism is not just limited to environment but also has an impact on cultural, social and economic aspects. We could think of a way to address and be mindful of all of these while travelling. The first obvious question that arises while planning a trip is which mode of transportation to choose to get to the destination.
When the time to travel comes, what about choosing the form of transport that has less carbon emissions? Train is one of the best options. When we travel by train, 41g of CO2 per Km is emitted, while when we travel by plane this number goes up to around 255g per Km, for one passenger. Beyond the CO2 emissions, the airplanes also release water steam and nitrous oxide, another greenhouse gas. Since the plane burning fuel occurs at high altitudes, the impact is even bigger. That’s why for short distances traveling by train or bus turns out to be a better choice. In some cases, overnight train journey could be a better option both environmentally and economically.
Depending on the distance and on the number of passengers, even traveling by car might have a lower carbon footprint. However, if the plane is the only viable way to reach your destination, choose a non-stop or as little transit as possible flight.
Other simple steps can be considered, beyond the transportation, like picking eco-friendly accommodations, such as hotels that use renewable energy sources, aim zero waste and use environmentally friendly products. It's also important to change the way we stay in the places we travel to: spending more time in the same place, consuming locally and getting to know the culture in a respectful way.
All these simple tips are good for the preservation of the places we travel to, for the environment and consequently for all of us. We just need to do some planning, some research and evaluate the details keeping sustainability in mind. It’s like learning something new!