While traveling, we try to be as efficient and eco-friendly as possible. But what about when we return home?
We’ve come up with simple ways you can practice sustainable travel at home as well as abroad.
While going through the motions of daily life, prioritize sustainability by supporting your local community and its natural resources. From focusing on a minimalist lifestyle to choosing activities with low impact on the environment, it is possible to bring sustainable travel into your daily practice.
Create a Minimalist Closet
When preparing for the road, your focus is on packing lightly and choosing items that are versatile. The idea of minimalism is getting back to basics and trimming the excess. Start with your closet: instead of 75 different clothing items, keep only what you regularly wear or will wear seasonally.
Create a capsule wardrobe with a basic clothing foundation, selected for classic looks and personal style: tank top, blazer, blouse and a little black dress are great examples of staples. Add in small rotations of seasonal and statement pieces that you love. Keep what you truly love and wear, and donate the rest to charity.
Support Brands that Practice Sustainability
Does your spending align with your personal values? When traveling, you’re often more conscious of your resources and budget. Be as conscientious at home with your spending decisions, and choose brands that give back to the community and greater world.
Where possible, choose brands that use sustainable practices to preserve the natural world with low impact, such as jewelry made with eco-conscious processes and sustainable materials. The manufacturing processes should consider the health of local communities and the environment. Look for companies that donate a certain percentage of its proceeds to charity, to support the community and world at large. Apps like Good On You app can help you to find local stores that practice what you preach.
Protect the Places You Love
Travelers who’ve globe-trotted know the importance of community and natural refuges. From a struggling bookstore to green spaces, the places that offer refuge for body, mind and soul, as well as our precious animals and natural resources, must be preserved.
What about bookstore has been open for four decades and faces being shut down due to major developments in the area and higher rent? What about greenways and local parks that face budget cuts or lack of care? These are gathering spaces for the community and vital natural areas that must be fought for.
Encourage the use of and gathering at these spaces. Spend your money at the local bookstore or coffee shop. Host a family meet up and trash pickup at one of the green spaces, finishing with door prizes and a barbeque. Protect the places that nurture you.
Travel Sensibly and Sustainably
On adventures to various sites, you’ve likely experienced a wide variety of travel modes. Across the world there are areas you must hike to, take a single ferry at precise times, or ride on a packed bus for several hours with strangers. You may already have mixed feelings about owning a car, because while it’s convenient, it’s not really necessary and costs you extra money—depending on where you live of course!
Think seriously, sensibly and sustainably about your true travel needs. How could you travel more sustainably in your area? Could you trade in a gas guzzler for a eco-friendlier car, carpool, ride a bike, walk or take public transport? Perhaps you could work from home at times or use other modes of sustainable travel on specific days of the week.
Focus on Low-Impact Activities
Does your idea of entertainment hurt the environment? When traveling in a new area, we tend to view ourselves as honored guests in that environment, and choose to leave it as we found it. Back home, make an active decision to not indulge in activities that have a high impact on the environment.
Don’t support zoos that lock animals up and treat them poorly. Instead, visit a refuge where you watch the animals roam their natural space from afar, and choose activities, such as joining a bird-watching club, that focus on education rather than oppression.
Support restaurants that source their ingredients from local farmers, and who use ethical and sustainable practices. Bring your own to-go container and take thoughtful sips of your drink, instead of using a straw.
Sustainable travel practices aren’t only for when you travel. The smallest of acts have big impacts on sustainability over time, and many of these may be practiced in the flow of everyday life.
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us.
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