This week, guest writer Kate Watts from Away Resorts shares her tips on reducing your carbon footprint.
You could be forgiven for not knowing what your carbon footprint is, but with more people than ever becoming environmentally conscious, the shift towards making all areas of our life ‘greener’ is in full effect. With a growing number of Brits looking to cut their carbon emissions from their holiday plans too.
A carbon footprint can be explained as “the total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide.”
For example, taking a flight abroad can make a huge impact on your carbon footprint as the burning of the fuel, much like when you drive a car, creates a certain amount of CO2, depending on its fuel consumption and the driving distance.
But this footprint isn’t just linked to physical travel, it also takes into consideration when you heat your house with oil, gas or coal or if you heat your house with electricity, the generation of the electrical power may also have emitted a certain amount of CO2.
Not to mention when you buy food and goods, the production of the food and goods also emitted some quantities of CO2, such as the airmiles the food took to be imported to the UK, the chemicals involved in producing the packaging or products.
Your carbon footprint is essentially the total sum of emissions of CO2, which were created or induced by your activities in a given time frame, usually the period of a year.
The average carbon footprint of a person is 6.5 tonnes (UK) and 11 tonnes per person in other industrialised countries.
So, how can we address this? Reducing your carbon footprint should be high on everyone’s agendas and this is still just as important during your holiday as it is the rest of the time. We have a few suggestions to help you achieve this in ways that won’t seem like a sacrifice.
1. Using public Transport
How will you reach your destination? Can you take public transport to get to your holiday location? There are some fantastic parts of the country that you just won’t see from the depths of a motorway and being able to start your holiday that bit sooner by enjoying the journey too, means that you can kick back knowing you’re going to arrive at your destination relaxed. A beautiful ferry ride to a holiday park, such as Away Resorts, on the Isle of Wight is a lovely way to start a trip.
There are plenty of beautiful scenic routes through the British Isles, making the journey the best part of your trip! Why not look into planning a holiday around the wonderful public transport you can use? For example, the train journey from Falmouth to Truro in Cornwall is famed for its coastal views and taking you over a viaduct.
Once you’re at your holiday destination, you can also use public transport to get around, lots of places run great links, by bus, train and ferry. It will possibly slow the pace of your trip a little but that’s all part of the fun.
2. Make your accommodation eco-friendly
Being able to see that the accommodation you’re staying in is going the extra mile is also of great comfort. For example, the accommodation may be supplied with plastic free packaging toiletries, provide eco-friendly cleaning products, they may also suggest you conserve water by taking shorter showers or washing towels less frequently, or turning off the lights or heating? Small changes for the traveller but huge impacts for your carbon footprint in the long run.
Having a wood burning stove for heating, or even better ground source or solar powered energy. Free bicycles to help you get around using zero emissions are another lovely added extra, meaning you can take off into the town or countryside and really see what’s around you.
3. Eat Local
Shopping and eating locally often means you end up eating seasonally too and food produced this way is not only better tasting and better for the environment, it also helps you to reduce your carbon footprint by cutting out the import journey. It also counts as another way you can not only help support the area you’re visiting financially.
Find out if there are any local farmers markets you can visit where you are staying, ask around at local bars and restaurants to see where the food is sourced from.
There are usually excellent butchers, delis, bakeries and shops that will mean you can purchase locally made foods and cook them at home yourself.
If you’re a vegetarian then you’re already contributing less CO2 to the environment than your omnivorous counterparts, but as it’s a holiday maybe you can convince a few friends to go meat free a few days and save even more for themselves! Meat eaters produce twice as much in carbon footprint as vegetarians, so making Mondays meat free is a good way to offset some of the holiday. 7