The environmental cost of travel
Guest Blog by Dan Lloyd, SVP, Operations
Last month I had the pleasure of inviting Andrew Tausz Business Owner at Ecolimpet to our Arlington VA headquarters. The purpose of this visit was to sit down and discuss the continued steps we can make as an organization to ensure we continue to travel with personal sustainable eco focus.
Together we discussed our personal objectives and how they align with our mutual respect for the planet and our love for travel and discovery. Slow travel is the mindfulness of travel, focused on taking your time and experiencing the moment. Utilizing slower modes of transportation, relishing local foods, and supporting local stores. These types of trips are centered around connecting with the place you are traveling to and immersing yourself in the culture of the area. This is not just a way to travel, but a way to truly experience. Although it sounds like a luxury, experienced in a different far off culture, we realized that many of the values Ecolimpet stress are the same and can be done from anywhere. The principal is to limit your footprint in a specific area. Some ways to do this are to travel locally using ‘green’ methods of transport (commuter vehicles, bicycle, walking), purchasing locally made food and commodities, and being conscious of the items you bring with you and the potential waste they leave behind. Take memories and photos. Leave only footprints.
With every travel adventure comes the exhilaration of leaving home. Maybe you are traveling to someplace new or someplace familiar. Maybe you are going to be with family and friends or to be by yourself. Maybe you are travelling for work. Maybe you are traveling to find yourself or find love in someone else. Regardless of the circumstances, each trip you take has a sense of personal connection and an experience waiting for you. The journey often holds just as much excitement as the destination. What interesting people will I see along the way? What new types of cuisine will I hopefully stumble across? What will the new scenery look like, smell like? With today’s social media, information exchange, and online marketplaces for activities and traveling, the modern traveler has access to a bespoke experience with every trip taken.
However, every trip taken also has associated costs. As individuals who love to travel, we know this all too well that when we budget out for a month’s trips and see those bills rack up. There are other less-known costs as well – vehicle emissions, waste left behind, and consumption of an area’s resources for example. Each of these costs can be extremely vague and it’s often difficult to recognize impacts, but they are very real and very important. Roughly 8% of the world’s carbon footprint comes from tourism. A figure that we initially found disheartening, but then we remembered that today’s travelers are empowered to make a difference in a way that previous generations were not. Together we are committed to research ways we can be better and came across the phrase, ‘slow travel.’ For those of you who hate traffic jams, hate congested airport lounges and endless queues, thankfully slow travel offers something completely different.
Ecolimpet already lead by example as they travel they rely on reusable cutlery, don’t go anywhere without reusable water bottles and biodegradable soaps. We discussed what steps we could take when traveling on business, I recently purchased the only backpack I will ever need! - Alchemy Goods based in Seattle, Washington produce backpacks that uses a recycled bicycle inner tube and upcycled excess denim jean scraps and is so perfect for carrying everything on business and pleasure. Small changes lead to big impacts.
I very much enjoyed debating and sharing ideas with Andrew, and I am thrilled to work together with his council to encourage new initiatives to implement into our Arlington HQ. I look forward to welcoming Andrew and his team to our office on April 22nd (Earth Day) to continue our commitment to Eco responsible sustainable travel.