Why Sustainable Travel Practices Are More Important Than Ever

Oren Lyons of Omondaga Nation spoke “When you sit in the council for the welfare of the people, you must not think of yourself or your family, not even of your generation. Make the decisions on behalf of the seven generations coming, so that they may enjoy what you have today”. 

The seventh generation principle is based on an ancient philosophy that the decisions we make in the present should result in a sustainable world seven generations into the future. Their ancient teachings emphasize the importance of living as eco-friendly as possible, to ensure future generations can enjoy the beauties of the earth as we know it. 

Practicing sustainability allows us to show respect for the generations that came before us as well as the generations that will come after us. It’s our responsibility as humans to preserve the earth as best we can. By practicing sustainability, we can take steps to ease the damage we’ve created and help boost a better life for future generations.
What is sustainable travel and why is it important?
Sustainable travel, also known as eco-tourism or eco-travel, is the concept of minimizing our negative impact while traveling. The World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as “Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities' '. 

It’s important because as we know, we are currently heading towards a climate disaster. Climate change has become increasingly more prevalent and according to the Nature Climate Change journal, traveling accounts for up to 8% of global emissions. The tourism industry continues to grow in size each year, so we must make changes in our travel habits to preserve the earth while we can. We can all, as individuals, take small steps in our travel habits to promote the principles of the seventh generation.

How to practice sustainable travel
Luckily, there are many ways that we as individuals can make a difference in the travel industry! For starters, it’s important to reduce your carbon footprint. There are many ways as a traveler that you can do this. While flying is the most convenient and fastest way to travel, driving or taking a train significantly reduces your carbon footprint. If you’re visiting somewhere that you must fly to, try taking direct flights instead of layovers. If we all get on board with this idea, we can reduce emissions that damage our earth. 

There are multiple airlines that have pledged their efforts towards more sustainable flying such as EasyJet, Virgin Atlantic, Air Canada, and more. Try to book your flight with companies like these to do your part in keeping our earth inhabitable. Not only can you support airlines that promote sustainability, you can also support locations and destinations that offer eco-friendly products, services, and more. One great example of a sustainable travel location is Costa Rica. They are known for promoting sustainability and being one of the most eco-friendly locations in the world. 

Research is important! When you’re planning your next getaway, do research on locations and destinations that promote sustainability. Utilizing travel sustainability resources such as bookdifferent.com will help you find the most sustainable ways to travel. Not every location you visit will promote sustainability, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still do your part as a traveler. Some ways to promote sustainability as a traveler include: shopping at local markets, eating at local restaurants, volunteering, and packing light. 

Once you’ve made it to your destination, try to limit car travel as much as possible. Walk, bike, or take public transportation to get around the area. Not only will this help save the environment, but you will also become more immersed in your surroundings! Another great way to sustainably travel is to allow yourself to actually rest and recharge during your getaway. Most of us experience burnout, stress, and fatigue from our busy lives, and we owe it to ourselves to genuinely relax. 

All in all, each and everyone of us has the ability to make a positive difference in the ways we travel. By pledging our commitment to sustainable travel, we help ensure that future generations to come can enjoy the beauties of the earth as we know them. Keep these concepts in mind the next time you go on a trip, and the earth will thank you!