By now, most of us will be aware that air pollution has dropped as a result of the pandemic. Imposed travel bans and reduced traffic means that the world is on track to see the largest ever annual fall in CO2 emissions. Despite this, there’s still a lot more to be done for us to avoid catastrophic global warming. You might find yourself thinking ‘what can I do?’, but rest assured, there are some easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint over summer.
Choose staycations instead of going abroad
If there’s one thing the drop in emissions over the last couple of months has shown us, it’s that flying abroad is harmful to the environment. Studies show that the average citizen exceeds climate change recommendations by a staggering 7.8 tonnes each year. Limiting international trips is a great way to lower our overall carbon footprint. Staycations are an excellent choice for environmentally-conscious holidaymakers looking to see their country in a new light and contribute to their local economy, too.
Buy local produce and sustainable products
Whether on a staycation or travelling abroad, choosing to buy locally produced food and drinks will reduce the overall carbon emissions from transporting ingredients across the world. It’s also best to limit your meat intake both at home and abroad as that requires a large amount of energy for production and impacts deforestation. Buying from local suppliers also encourages independent businesses who often produce a far lower carbon footprint than big brands.
Recycle and use renewable energy
Wherever you visit, make sure that you know what the local recycling options are and use them whenever you can. If you know that you’re staying somewhere with limited options, try to open and discard packaging before you set off and bring your own reusable drinking bottles and shopping bags. If you can, you should try and prioritize hotels with renewable energy sources and keep appliances off when they’re not in use.
Walk or cycle to and from attractions
Although it can be environmentally friendly to carpool or use electric taxis, it’s always best to walk or cycle to local attractions if you can. Keep an eye out for local bike hire services and be sure to walk with a friend if travelling late at night. If you do need to travel somewhere by public transport, try to choose a sustainable option and carry out a portion of the journey on foot. Some destinations should also offer electric vehicles to rent, which can be a good option for families.
Buy eco-friendly toiletries and clothing
Most people stock up on toiletries and clothing items in preparation for going away. If you can, try to choose eco-friendly alternatives to reduce your overall carbon footprint. For example, some sunscreens contain microbeads which don’t decompose and some shampoos are sold in non-recyclable plastic bottles. Try to buy recyclable products with eco-friendly ingredients and clothing items that you won’t throw away after wearing once.
Before you leave for your holiday, make sure that all appliances are turned off in your home to avoid your carbon footprint climbing up and only leave lights on if it’s essential for security. There may be a lot of planning involved but prioritizing the environment whenever you can is always the right thing to do.
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Author: Emily Garner
Emily is a content writer and researcher that holds an MA in English Literature.