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Responsible Traveler at Home

People travel for many reasons – adventure, culture, education, wilderness. We do a bit of all these things, but focus our biggest trips on earth’s treasures. This produces a conflict – we thrill to explore natural places and be in the presence of wild creatures, but the trips themselves cause damage to these same environments.

How do we justify traveling to distant places while being environmentalists?

  1. The tourism business, though not without its faults, is often a top determiner on protecting a place or a species. Without the tourist income, many areas would be lost to development, poaching, or decay. 
  2. Tourism allows people to become citizens of the world. It’s difficult to understand a people or feel attachment to a place if you’ve never traveled. The worldwide sorrow at the fire at Notre Dame in Paris, and the subsequent contributions to the repair, show how this Cathedral is beloved by all who have visited. We hope those who are unable to visit great destinations, can share a bit of that feeling through our photos and our stories.

Thus the discrepancy – tourism is an essential industry, yet travel is ecologically ‘expensive’ in terms of carbon footprint, and can be damaging to the destinations we visit.

Ultimately, in our family, we travel because we love it. We have dreamt of places like the Serengeti and the Nile since we were children. Now retired, with our children grown, we are dipping into our savings to live our dreams. We follow sustainable travel practices on our trips. And we are doing all we can to offset our travels with home-grown environmentalism – sustainable, green living.

We’ve changed our travel planning, packing, and activities to be more responsible. Read Sustainable Travel: how to be a responsible tourist.

Offset your travel with a sustainable lifestyle:

Some things can be done today, and some should wait until you have the need (and the funds). It is NOT environmentally friendly to buy new things when your current ones work. Do what you can to save energy with what you have.

Reduce energy consumption in your home



Become Water-Wise



Go Single-Use Plastic Free

SIMPLE STEPS (they’re pretty much all simple steps…)

Eat Green(s)

From Scientific American “the production, processing and distribution of meat requires huge outlays of pesticides, fertilizer, fuel, feed and water while releasing greenhouse gases, manure and a range of toxic chemicals into our air and water. A lifecycle analysis conducted by EWG that took into account the production and distribution of 20 common agricultural products found that red meat such as beef and lamb is responsible for 10 to 40 times as many greenhouse gas emissions as common vegetables and grains.”




Say No to Fast Fashion

Wear what you have now, but before purchasing a new item, ask yourself:

Avoid synthetics and fleeces that shed microplastics when washed. Wash those items you have in lingerie bags to reduce the friction between fabrics which leads to the shedding.

Offset Energy through Volunteering or Investment



Changes we’ve made-

We’ve always tried to live responsibly – avoiding single-use plastic, doing litter patrols, and volunteering-  but when we decided to make travel a priority, we made some big changes. We sold our big house, moved into an energy efficient condo (within walking distance of the library, bank, and restaurants!), and traded our SUV for a hybrid. We still have a long way to go to truly offset our trips, but we’re trying!!

Have you made changes in your lifestyle to compensate for your love of travel??

Coming soon: Sustainable Travel: a globetrotter’s guide to being a responsible tourist

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