In 2016, Go Green, Eco -Friendly and Carbon Footprint have become part of our vocabulary. Billion dollar companies tout it in their tag line. We hear it-but do we understand it? Saving our planet is the single most important crisis we will face in our lifetime. But, it’s a crisis we may not believe or understand until years down the road.
So, what does this have to do with travel? Everything. We explore, and we travel to open our hearts, our minds and experience this magnificent living planet. If we want the beauty of this world to continue, not just for us, but for generations to come, for the grandchildren who aren’t even born yet, we must educate ourselves.
Easy alternatives exist. If every citizen participated, we would have endless travel days left.
1. Walk, ride or share- Biking, walking, public transportation or carpooling- even twice a week can be huge savings in your pocket and reduce your carbon footprint. Keep this in mind when traveling, using public transportation is a great way to understand the local people. Twice a week can result in $10 a week depending on your distance. Resulting in a conservative guess of $500 a year.
2. Turn up, Turn down. Set your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer to save on heating and cooling costs. Do you have a programmable thermostat? If not, get one – it will instantly save you money. Turn your water heater down by at least 20 degrees and wash your clothes in cold water. A water heater being turned down can shave off $10 to $ $20 a month on your electric bill. Thermostat adjustment and cold water wash can save as well. Potential travel money – $500 a year.
3. Plant a tree- Go to Arbor Day foundation and join for ten dollars and receive ten free trees. Plant a tree in an unshaded area of your house and reduce your bill. Trees help stop climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen. Trees help urban pollution. Shade can reduce your cooling bill by at least 5%. Potential travel money – $120 a year (plus free trees).
4. Change, Change, Change- Changing half your lights to energy-efficient light bulbs – can be enormous savings plus reduce your carbon footprint. Potential travel money -$100- $200 a year.
5. Plug in and turn off- Putting all your plugged-in appliances and electronics on energy strips and turning all power off when you leave your house can reduce your monthly electric bill, and reduce your carbon footprint. Depending on your residence and items you leave on, this tactic of reducing vampire power could be significant. Try it for one month and see the difference. Potential travel money- $20 a month resulting in $240 a year.
6. Reuse- Try using skoy cloths instead of paper towels for a year. Using a skoy cloth is equivalent to 15 rolls of paper towels. They are compostable, multi-use, biodegradable, GMO-free. If a roll of paper towels cost $2, your travel savings can be significant. Potential travel money- $200-$300 a year.
7. Recycle-Clean out your closet and sell to a consignment store. Attempt to do this four times a year. Potential travel money-$250 for the travel budget.
8. Refresh and Refuel- No more bottle waters or to-go coffee cups. Use a travel mug to buy refill coffee five days a week – Potential travel money-$240 a year. Use a reusable bottle water to refresh and refuel. The cost of a 12-ounce bottle of water vs. purified or 5-gallon water for a family of four is exorbitant. When you travel, bring you own reusable water bottle. The majority of airports now offer a purified water system. Potential travel money-$500 a year.
9. Take your lunch to work and buy local. Use a lunch box with reusable containers instead of paper and plastic. Eating in will save you money and bringing home the containers will help protect the environment. Even if you do this one or two times a week, expect a savings of $20 a week. Estimate $900 a year.
10. Eat less meat- Yes according to a report by The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, they estimate that the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emission. Stating it’s more than the entire transportation sector. Meat consumption has accelerated over the last 50 years and if everyone tried to reduce meat intake we could reduce our carbon footprint. And guess what meat is more expensive than vegetables, pasta or beans. Pack on the savings have a meatless Monday. Potential travel money -$10 a week resulting in $520 a year.
Think you will have enough money to go on a vacation by implementing some of the above strategies for going green?
Being very conservative, if you tried the above going green tips for one year, you would have saved somewhere in the ballpark of $3000-$4000 for the year. That’s multiple Rocky Point vacations!
So, before you think “I want to vacation, but I don’t have the money!” think about the going green tips above. It’s free money that takes a little planning and results in a greener world and a few fabulous vacations.
To determine your carbon footprint and other energy saving tips go to nature.org (carbon calculator) and earthday.org.