Vacation Carbon Footprint - Sailors for the Sea

Vacation Carbon Footprint

While preparing for or on vacation, there are many choices you can make to reduce your carbon footprint and impact on the environment.

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When you’re deciding where to go on your vacation, chances are that you choose a destination partly due to the beautiful environment. Tourism is dependent on intact ecosystems. Tropical beaches, vibrant coral reefs, beautiful vistas and other natural elements are key motivators for vacation choices. What would happen if something negatively impacted your favorite location? What if there were things you could do to keep our precious environments pristine?

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Here is a list of simple things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint and help protect the place you are visiting:

Reduce Travel Emissions. Use public transportation, and if you need to rent a vehicle, choose a hybrid car. For shorter distances you could rent a bicycle or simply walk; you will be surprised at how much more you will notice along your route.

Buy Local. A good way you get to know the local culture, enjoy new experiences and even save money is to buy and use local products and frequent local establishments. It’s often a rewarding choice, not only in terms of financial and carbon savings, but because of the unforgettable experiences you gain. If it’s locally grown, it didn’t have to travel that far, whereas imported products are a huge contributor to global carbon emissions.

Pay Attention to Packaging. Purchase products with minimal packaging and take reusable bags for carrying your goods. For example, you may chose to buy the loose mangos, rather than boxed or plastic-wrapped ones.

Ditch Bottled Water. Bottled water has a huge carbon footprint. Rely on a reusable water bottle and when you visit restaurants and bars, ask for their own filtered water rather than bottled water (unless water quality issues are a concern),

Reduce Your Water Consumption: In many tropical countries, water is as precious as gold, and its supply is limited. You can make a huge difference by taking shorter showers and turning off the water when brushing your teeth.

Engage in Low-impact Recreation: While enjoying the outdoors, consider walking and biking instead of renting a scooter. Enjoy the water by sailing, kayaking, snorkeling or surfing instead of speed boating or jet-skiing. These small changes can greatly reduce your emissions.

Conserve Electricity: Unplug appliances that you don’t use frequently. Turn down your air-conditioning (if using), use curtains to keep a room cool, and be sure to turn off the lights when leaving a room.

Leave It Better than You Found It: Pick up trash as you go, volunteer for a beach clean-up day or make a donation to a local environmental organization. Support local efforts to improve the environment and leave your vacation feeling good about your experience.

Check the ingredients in your sunscreen: Avoid products that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, and look for ones that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (micro, not nanoparticles), as these are less toxic to your health and the marine environment.

Did you know?

  • If you are flying to your destination, you can offset the carbon footprint of your airplane travel. Check out The Ocean Foundation’s Seagrass Grow, which plants seagrass to offset your carbon emissions.