Living according to the lifestyle of the so-called “developed world” needs the resources of about three worlds to sustain. While our daily routines have a significant impact on the environment, our holidays impact the scarce resources of this world even more. How can we plan holidays with a smaller carbon footprint?
- Travel shorter distances to nearby holiday destinations.
In contrast: traveling to destinations that are far away uses much more jet fuel or petrol, which depletes the limited oil reserves and pollutes the environment.
- Choose small, rural accommodations such as private farms or cottages, which might be utilizing more natural sustainable resources.
In contrast: visiting large holiday resorts or hotels might sound attractive, but these enterprises use huge amounts of energy for building materials, food, water and electricity.
- Cycle or walk during the holidays, which will have great health benefits and will have negligible environmental impact.
In contrast: driving around in vehicles increases the carbon footprint, even when in nature parks. Rather choose a nature park where one can move around without a vehicle.
- Eat fresh fruit and veggies from the local market or a farm stand.
In contrast: consuming large amounts of meat impacts scarce food reserves since meat requires about six times the amount of resources to produce compared to the grain.
- Use energy sparingly: when traveling in cold weather, wear more protective clothing, and when planning activities, try to schedule them during the day.
In contrast: increased heating and lighting at night uses more fossil fuels.
- Spend quality time with friends to relax and deepen relationships.
In contrast: going on shopping sprees is not only expensive, but increases the carbon footprint through consumerism.
- Appreciate natural beauty by being outdoors, which will also increase your desire to help preserve the natural environment.
In contrast: by only using packages offered by the entertainment industry, more resources that impact the environment are used.
These 7 steps can help make the holidays more cost effective, as well as help invest in a better environment for future generations. The “holiday carbon footprint calculator” at http://www.carbonica.org/holiday-calculator.aspx can provide an indication of the carbon footprint of the traveling component of the holidays.
Changes in lifestyle choices about personal holidays can impact the overall global society a number of decades into the future. The International Futures (IFs) model can be used to see the scope of the impact of such lifestyle interventions on the various global systems. The Global Futures course, one of the modules in the Regent University Strategic Foresight program, teaches how to apply this model. An overview of IFs is available at http://www.ifs.du.edu/introduction/index.aspx for helping those who desire to impact and transform the world by making better informed choices about the future.