Are you wondering how you can be climate positive without giving up your dream to travel the world, experience new cultures, and deepen your yoga practice while on retreat?
As human beings, by simply existing on planet earth, we leave an unavoidable carbon footprint. Balancing our desire to preserve the beauty of this planet we get to live on with our hunger to explore more of it is challenging. Traveling, especially by plane, is a luxury that has detrimental effects on the environment. We contribute to the production of carbon emissions each time we fly on a plane. But does that mean we should stop?
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, one in 10 people are employed in the travel and tourism industry. This represents more than 10 percent of the global economy. In many countries, tourism is a top foreign exchange earner that keeps local people employed so that they can provide for their families. When local communities benefit from tourism, they become partners in saving the planet. So while traveling does ultimately cause some stress on the environment, it also creates opportunities for other communities and helps them become climate positive.
Responsible Tourism is about making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit. As conscious human beings, it is our responsibility to understand the effects we have on the places that we travel to and do our best to make those effects be positive.
Here’s how you can help!
Pack light when traveling on retreat
Every kilo counts when flying! The more a plane weighs, the more carbon emissions it produces. Pack only what you really need for the week. Keep in mind that most of our retreat centers offer laundry service and let’s be honest, you’ll want some room in your suitcase to bring home locally made goods!
Bring a reusable water bottle
Plastic bottles account for a lot of waste. Bring your own reusable bottle and fill it as you go. This is so simple, but makes a huge difference!
Use a mobile boarding pass instead of paper
A mobile boarding pass works just like a paper ticket. Save yourself the time and the paper and check in on your phone instead!
Learn about the culture before you depart
The foremost guideline of the World Tourism Organization (WTO)’s “Global Code of Ethics For Tourism” is to open your mind. “It will transform your experience, you will earn respect and be more readily welcomed by local people,” the organization advises. “Be tolerant and respect diversity – observe social and cultural traditions and practices.”
The first step to being a responsible tourist is being a respectful tourist! Take some time to educate yourself on the local customs before you go. Learning how to say “hello” and “thank you” in the local language will go a long way.
Bring home locally made goods
You can directly support the local communities that you visit by purchasing products from the people who make them! Opt for locally made handicrafts instead of mass-produced items. When bartering for goods, consider fair pricing rather than just getting a “good deal."
Purchase carbon offsets for your flights
Carbon offsetting is a practical and effective way to address climate change and encourage the growth of renewable energy. By purchasing carbon offsets you can counteract your personal carbon emissions and reduce your carbon footprint while contributing to a more sustainable future. A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere. If you are taking a flight from San Francisco to Thailand, for example, you can purchase a carbon offset to account for that specific environmental impact. That money supports a project that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and your carbon footprint!
Head to International Yoga’s Carbonfree® partner page to calculate and purchase offsets for your flights! With your participation, we can help conserve the areas that we have the privilege of visiting. We thank you for your contribution and look forward to traveling with you soon!