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Ethical Considerations on the Environmental Impact of Travel

Travel Forums General Talk Ethical Considerations on the Environmental Impact of Travel

1. Posted by lost again (Budding Member 66 posts) 9y

Certainly a thing we all have in common is a love for travel; many of us will be the first to attest to its life changing impact and worthwhile value. But traveling is not an activity that doesn’t escape ethical considerations. Among many of the ethical topics that arise with travel is the important topic of environmental impact.

When considering how to get from A to B, how often do we consider the environmental costs as opposed to just choosing the cheapest or fastest option? How often we do decide to stay only in local regions to reduce the carbon emissions from flying from one distant major city to another? What should we be using as a guideline for how to decide when our travel plans may border on unethical travel behavior? We obviously would feel we are disrespecting a culture if we were to leave trash lying on the streets of another country (even though it is common in some third world countries), then why don’t we feel bad for polluting their air?

There is no easy answer for a solution to this problem. It will always be a tension for the environmentally conscious traveler. As much as I would like to think I am concerned about the environment, perhaps, in fact, I am a complete hypocrite due to my current extended travel. Two websites I recently found that have some interesting advice about these topics are and

Lets Dialogue.

How can we attempt to travel to the great mysterious places of the world while leaving minimal impact? What are tensions you have with this topic? Is this something you have been considering on your travels? What can due to encourage travelers to be more environmentally conscious?

2. Posted by Peter (Admin 5790 posts) 9y

I definitely am torn. On the one hand, travelling is a passion and something that would not be easy to give up. On the other hand though, I'm convinced we all need to take steps to minimise our environmental impact and it's hard to go past one of the largest single contributions we make privately, which is recreational travel.

My personal response is to do all I can to minimise my impact and then at the end of the year offset the impact I have had by purchasing offsetting credits. There's a great Australian non-profit called Greenfleet that I am happy to support in that area. At home, I've made sure to purchase green electricity, drive a car that consumes the bare minimum of fuel, try to ride my bicycle to the office, and a host of other things. On our RTW this year we ensured we caught the train as much as possible, which was a lot of fun anyway and a great way to see a lot of Europe. However, just the fact that we went on a RTW is not ideal in the slightest. It's one of the downsides of having family and friends scattered across the world and being somewhat addicted to the experience of travel.

What can Travellerspoint do? We're open to suggestions. Sales from our calendar this year will go to an environmental/development cause, Green Wifi, which should help indicate that it is something we care about. Our office runs on Green Power and incorporates as many environmentally friendly policies as possible. We also actually have an idea for a new feature on the site in this area, but I'd rather not give away too much there before things are a little more ironed out ;)

If you are keen to offset your trips, you will find a category in our links directory with Carbon Offsetting organisations. In the meanwhile, please let us know if you have any ideas on what we could be doing better :)

3. Posted by carosterns (Respected Member 159 posts) 9y

The environmental impact of my lifestyle is always in my thoughts which is why I have been very postive about the discussions of introducing a green tax on aircraft travel. I think / hope it make people think about it a little more. If you NEED to fly then cop the tax. If you don't want to pay, find an alternative. There will be times when some people will just have to fly but at least this sort of tax will make some people at least think - hopefully.
I find most full on travellers are reasonalby consciencous of their impact on the world around them. I genenerally find it is the one trip a year tourists who don't care. They will have their photos taken with "wild" animals kept in horrid conditions encouraging the trade to continue, they want the luxury at any cost, they won't think twice about leaving lights on, how many towels they use/wash and how much land is cleared to build their resorts.

Being from a very dry area in Australia, water conservation is my big beef. I go out of my way to turn off taps, report broken pipes and ask other to be a little more considerate in their water useage. While people generally look at me like I have two heads, I like to think if I raise the issue with enough people once in a while I will get the message through.

While we can't change the world in a day, I think if each of us makes an effort to do as much as we can, and encourage those around us to do likewise, slowly we will make an impact. Fingers crossed

4. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

Hello Lost Again

I try to be environmenally as possible, in my life, without sacrificing.
I recycle just about everything and use as little water and heat in my house, as i comfortable possible. I also use as many product, which are not tested on animals, as possible. And of course I never litter anyplace, with garbage. And i dont own a car or motorbike. I always take public transport.
However, for us who love to travel, it would be a huge sacrifice, to reduce flying. I think we should take as much care in with the environment, as we can, without giving up the things we really really love, and mean a lot to us.