What can I do?
While Corona is keeping us homebound and travelling anywhere seems to be out of our reach for the time being, you do have some time to plan your next holiday carefully. The current travelling trend worldwide is for people to make lots of small trips, as far away as possible. This trend is undoubtedly devastating for the environment. While we are away from home, we want to go off the beaten track (maybe even literally go off road), shop for unique souvenirs and collect life-changing experiences, often linked with animals. While enjoying ourselves, we are at a high risk of damaging the biodiversity on our travelling route. Here’s some tips to avoid such damage!
Destination and mode of transport
We have to turn the trend around: travel less often, choose destinations closer to home and stay longer rather than shorter. The further you travel, the longer you should stay so you can make it count. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we all know by now that travelling by plane is bad for the environment. Therefore, the first and possibly most important tip is to pick a destination that you can reach by train, bus or car. How to organize this? Read our article on sustainable travelling.
For decades, it has been highly popular to add some sort of animal experience to our vacations: riding on elephants, swimming with dolphins, cuddling with tiger cubs, you name it. In recent years however, it has been shown that many kinds of animal activities are harming the welfare of these animals and their species as a whole. If you can get close to the animal, approach it and touch it, something is wrong, and you might unknowingly and unwillingly be contributing to its suffering. If you want to see beautiful animals during your trip, try to search for them in their natural environment, and bring your binoculars so you can keep your distance and leave them be. And stay away from souvenirs made from skin, fur, bone, shell, beak or hooves of an endangered species. Confused? If you doubt it, do not buy it.
Invest in nature
Although hard to swallow for those of use with a high believe in the intrinsic value of nature, nature conservation becomes a lot easier when an economic value is added. Tourism can contribute to biodiversity when it becomes a reason to conserve nature and when revenue is being used for the maintenance of natural areas. So do not hesitate to pay generously for entry tickets to natural parks or other nature activities, as long as you know that the money is well spend.
Can’t see the forest for the trees?
We agree, doing the right thing while travelling can be a puzzle. I know you really cannot see the forest for the trees. You could call in the help of some professionals! Look for sustainable-travel brand marks such as TraveLife, GreenKey and Blauwe Vlag. These are reliable certifications that show you whether your accommodation or trip is environmental friendly and supporting the local community.
Read more (all in Dutch):
- Coronacrisis houdt toerisme een spiegel voor (Volkskrant/WUR)
- Put your journey to the test: Wat is de klimaatimpact van jouw vakantie (MilieuCentraal)
- Read the vacation special of Milieucentraal.
- Love the reef, use coral-proof sunscreen, watch this video (Source: WUR)
- Read through the tips of the Think Again campaign of Stichting Aap, World Animal Protection en Stichting SPOTS
- Making a trip with your dog, read these tips of Utrechts Landschap
- Watch the lecture of René van der Duim by Studium Generale