The term sustainability is no longer a buzzword among the travelling community; it is gradually turning into a fundamental way of exploring new places. From supporting local vendors, to eating indigenous, home-grown food, to avoiding single-use plastic products, here are a few ways one can consciously and ethically opt for travelling sustainably.
Use electric vehicles
Today’s travellers are extremely aware of the impact that tourism can have on popular destinations like Goa. When you think of sustainability it involves not just the environment but also people and communities.
Samarth Kholkar, CEO, BLive says, “We promote electric vehicles across India. Whether it is through our electric bike experiences in Goa, which have been experienced by over 30,000 guests or helping hospitality companies move to sustainable mobility, we have been playing a part in making travel free of carbon emissions. We would love to see the Rent-A-Bike operators also shift to EVs.”
Supporting locals should be the key
Exploring a new place can be overwhelming, but what makes the experience happy is eating and supporting locals. Community inclusion in tourism directly benefits the local economy and generates livelihoods.
Chef Avinash Martins of Cavatina is vocal about his use of local ingredients in his restaurant. From freshly-sourced mud crabs to moggem (muskmelon) to rice grass risotto with ukde rice, Chef Avinash is taking local cuisine to the world.
Flexcia D’Souza, a travel content creator, too prefers local eateries to experience the unique character of each destination. “I opt for local homestays and eateries when I travel. A lot of them use sustainable means and supporting locals goes a long way,” says Flexcia.
Did you know that airplanes generate a higher carbon footprint as compared to trains and road vehicles? Jigyasaa Malhotra, an off-beat traveller, prefers to travel to one place and explore it, instead of clubbing many places in one holiday.
“I believe in the beauty of slow travel, embracing the journey over the destination. I prefer to stay in eco-friendly homestays whenever possible, promoting responsible tourism. It’s not just about exploring new places but fostering sustainability by minimizing my ecological footprint,” says Jigyasaa.
Have you heard of the term Flygskam? Derived from Sweden, it means Flight Shame. This term was coined in 2018 and the environmental impact aviation has on carbon emission.
Carry your own water bottle/straws and cutlery
Starting off with small changes is always appreciated. Items like metal straws, forks and spoons can be carried along, so that you don’t add to the garbage that is already waiting to be collected.
Flexcia says, “Carrying a water bottle helps a lot. You can just refill it at the hotel you’re staying in instead of buying disposable bottles. I usually refuse disposable straws and just prefer sipping my drink from the glass, even while not travelling.”
She adds, “I have been re-using my travel jackets, luggage and backpacks, for years now. It’s always about re-using as much as possible and reducing buying stuff.”
Join in a local clean up drive
Being a tourist and contributing to a clean-up drive will lead you to making more friends and experiencing the true essence of the destination. Goa’s famous spots like waterfalls, quarries are filled with heaps of garbage ranging from plastic cutlery, empty glass and plastic bottles and more. Digital content creators like Jigyasaa, organise waterfall drives which are attended by many tourists.
“I also enjoy organizing waterfall cleanups in Goa, aiming to raise awareness about the pressing garbage issues in popular travel spots, urging a collective responsibility for our environment,” says Jigyasaa.
Becoming a mindful traveller
Varun Hegde, founder of Soul Travelling believes that experiences create lasting memories from gaining valuable lessons to discovering a profound connection with oneself and the world.
“We are determined about the preservation of heritage and culture – tangible and intangible. Some of our experiences (mud baths, village and hinterland tours and more) are designed with elements like indigenous dance performances, craft making and heritage visits. We only act like a medium that connects them both. Showcasing their own culture encourages communities to preserve the culture and traditions that otherwise get lost in modernity. It helps travellers understand a place better,” he says.
Making conscious efforts to reduce carbon footprints has become a norm among the new age travellers. Traveling sustainably is not just a fad, but it’s a progression to enrich our lives and make an impact on those living around.