“Never lose hope, dear heart, miracles dwell in the invisible”
We are blessed – as individuals, as a couple, as a species even, for we were endowed with the soft earth to walk on, the wind in our hair, and the sky as our eternal protector. Over the years, as our fading oblivion turned to awareness, we thought it essential to give back in our own capacity, “saving the world” in the little ways we could.
Here is our two-cents on trying to lower our carbon footprint on Earth, i.e the amount of carbon products unleashed into environment, for especially when we travel (since it all began at home anyway!):
Picking eco-friendly getaways
Learning about and choosing to stay in environmentally-conscious accommodations (otherwise, hotels are huge consumers of energy) was an informed decision we made, again, when and where possible because of the costs involved in booking such dwellings and/or its scarcity in number. But there was always an added bonus – luxury. What better way to help restore the environment than while bathing under low-flow showerheads! We have, actively, resided in properties that promote rainwater harvesting, sustainable waste management, solar electricity for power, the use of recycled construction materials etc.
Wiser use of modes of transport
It is no secret that greenhouse gas emissions like CO2 and ozone are plaguing the planet, and in most ways, our bodies too. Leaving international flights aside, we proposed to cut down on airplane travel when feasible and increase our journeys by road to cover distances. Having said that, four-wheelers (read rentals or personal cars) are not ideal either, which is why we resorted to carpooling with friends, on occasion. Also, taking public transport and utilizing the facilities of buses and trains is an idea we have incorporated into our itineraries. But what tops our list of favorite methods of local commute? Non-motorized bikes, bicycles, and walking shoes! It’s also the best way to explore the hidden pockets, the nooks and crannies of cities and towns.
Abiding by room etiquette
This is probably one of the most important things we practice when travelling – waste not, want not. It’s a shame and, really, inconsiderate to have rolls of toilet paper and wads of tissue flushed down drains (not disregarding hygiene, obviously), once-used towels and bed linen sent in for a wash and change, taps carelessly kept open, televisions blaring all night, lights left on before leaving the room or during the day, or littering your room. Over the years, we extended our duties to the other aspects too like segregating waste, unplugging power cables of electronics from sockets except when they are charging devices, switching off thermostats when exiting the room, showering for short durations and efficiently so as to minimise water consumption, reporting and getting leaks fixed and such. To travel green, our mantra translates to: do-everywhere-that-you-would-at-home. It’s that simple!
Buying local products
Although mostly vegetarian, we’re not advocates of these diets or of completely cutting out animal-based food because the joy of relishing different cuisines is matchless, on-the-go. The best bet for us, has been, buying local, organic, non-GMO produce from farmer’s markets or the locally sourced section of supermarkets, if the former is unavailable. We found that this is one sure-shot way of protecting the environment and reducing our ecological footprint.
It definitely is a challenge to travel without some form of plastic. But we decided, if plastic then recyclable only. The amount of natural gas and landfills that contribute to the making of a polythene bag is unsustainable. Small alterations in our lifestyle could change things in a big way – carrying our own, reusable bottles that we fill up in drinking water fountains or restaurants, cloth or recyclable bags when we’re shopping, paper and cardboard boxes for takeout and stainless steel or biodegradable cutlery (ditching the plastic and styrofoam altogether).
Simply preaching a reduce-reuse-recycle is not us, in contrast, we are hoping to inspire the uninspired with these teeny-to-be-large steps we have taken. We’re giving this world all we’ve got because the travelling is never going to stop and neither should preserving the place we call home!