2020 started in a very negative note with the fires from Australia, which I hope, made us all understand that there is no Planet B and that we need to make a change. Leaving aside the theories that the fires were started on purpose, the rising temperatures are a clear sign of climate change. With all of these being said, is it still a good idea to be a traveler in 2020?
For many of us, the “traveler” life is a bohemian one, that brings us joy and many of us believe that we are not doing any harm. Yet it is also this life, that makes us travel thousands of miles in planes or cars, that are known to have one of the worst impacts on the environment. Therefore, the dilemma that many of us face, should we stop traveling, can we live a life where we can reduce the waste so that we can make up for what we do when traveling? And the best of the best, is there a way around this?
I like to think that when it comes to waste I am doing my best to reduce it, I have reusable bags and even when I forget to take those with me, I only buy biodegradable ones or reusable ones. I try not to buy more than I need when it comes to food, I try to avoid brands such as H&M or fast fashion brands that are known for underpaying employees and creating a lot us waste by overproducing. I like to buy vintage/pre-loved or second hand when possible. I volunteer and try to do good deeds for people in need. Never been a heavy meat eater and I try to replace it as much as possible. Also, I try to cook at home during the weekend and always eat at home in the morning and in the evening. I avoid driving to work and replace this with walking or taking the bus. Those are only a few and I try to constantly add more items to this list, but even with all of those, one trip to the US and all the effort is for nothing, everything that I mentioned doesn’t make up for half of the emissions caused by the plane, so how do we change that?
There are discussions about electric planes, yet those are still in testing. Not to mention that it can be the same as it is for the electric cars, creating the battery and they get rid of it, will cause more pollution than using a regular gas fulled car. We are back to square zero in that area as well. In a world filled with conspiracy, whom should we believe and how should we proceed?
Perhaps encouraged by a large number of travelers that our generation has, many companies are fighting to get more costumers, and tickets are now extremely cheap. Everyone affords traveling, so there are more and more routs. Only to have a look over the flight view and you will be surprised to see just how many they are. If in the past years, this would have made me extremely happy, now that we can all afford something that only the rich were able to do, I am wondering if this is a good thing after all. I cannot help to make the comparison to everyone affording a car. In many countries because of the high number of cars, the traffic became impossible, and to accommodate the huge number of people, laws that would make having a car very expensive forced people to chose an alternative, Eco-friendly solution, bikes. Today those cities have clear air and healthy people. Furthermore, they are very proud of their lifestyle and no longer want a car. Can we assume that it should be the same for travel?
Usually, before a big change, things get to a certain point where measures need to be taken immediately. Perhaps in the area of travel, we haven’t reached that point yet, but it’s safe to assume that we will and very soon. Intercontinental flights for 350 euros can be a blessing and a curse, pretty much the same as eating a very tasty fast-food snack, we are pleased with the immediate response of the body, but suffer the consequences in the long term.
Whether we like to accept this or not, the future of the traveler is not looking good with all the climate changes that are happening around us. As with many areas from our lives, the decision to cut back and reduce the miles spent in the air, or by car, will have to be taken by most of us. There is still the matter of the trains, that might be an eco-friendly option, but this is only for shorter distances and many of the exotic places will become out of reach.
2020 is for me a year when I want to re-evaluate my lifestyle and to try to become as Eco-friendly as possible giving the circumstances. Unfortunately, my biggest passion is also the biggest problem when it comes to pollution, so I am forced to rethink that area as well and at least for the time being the decision to cut back when possible, seems to be the smartest. I am wondering if I am alone in this or are there others struggling with this and if there is such thing as eco-friendly travelers?