“It’s about having loads of fun and experiencing life in experimental new ways. Sustainability doesn’t need to be a drag, it can be part of your amazing journey!” - Claire O'Neill, Co-founder, 'A Greener Festival', talking to the BBC's Travel Show:
Summer is the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine. With the summer holidays fast approaching and the festival season in full swing, it’s time to start planning for your summer adventures. While going on holiday or attending a festival can involve some stress: booking flights, finding accommodation, sorting out visas and packing. There are lots of ways we can minimise our environmental impact and make sure we have a great time while doing so! Whether you’re planning a holiday, or simply want to head to your fave festival, there are lots of ways you can make your summer adventures more sustainable.
Here are a few simple ways you can help protect the planet this summer:
When it comes to plastic pollution, the problem is not isolated to landfills and the ocean, it's even in the air! According to a study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the world's most common type of plastic — polyethylene terephthalate (PET) — has been found in high concentrations in urban areas throughout Europe. And while PET is considered less harmful than other plastics, it still releases toxic chemicals into our air as it degrades over time.
So what's causing this problem? It all comes down to one main thing: single-use plastics like straws and cutlery. These items have become so popular that they're now used for just minutes before being thrown away — and they never really go away. They can take up to 1,000 years to break down! So instead of buying single-use plastics like straws and cutlery, opt for reusable items like stainless steel water bottles or cups, and bamboo utensils instead. This way you can avoid unnecessary waste and reduce your carbon footprint while on your summer holiday!
When travelling abroad, opt for local produce where possible to support local businesses and reduce transport emissions. Buying locally grown fruit and vegetables will help support local farmers and reduce food miles, which reduces the amount of fuel used to transport food around the world. It’s also a great opportunity to try new food and drink.
By choosing local you’ll also be supporting local communities and artists. Local artists are a vital part of the cultural lifeblood of our cities and towns. They bring colour and vibrancy to the streets and make our communities more interesting places to live. Although there’s nothing wrong with buying from big brands, support local artists by visiting their exhibitions, buying their artwork and supporting them on social media.
Put it simply: Don’t Fly. If possible, try not to fly during your holiday or festival trip – especially if you have the choice between flying or driving. Flying produces high levels of CO2 per passenger mile compared to other modes of transport. By “taking the road less travelled”, you’ll not only be cutting your carbon emissions, but you’ll also be taking the time to appreciate your journey. Which will open lots of possibilities for exciting adventures.
Check out hiring a motor home, taking a ferry, or going by train across lands for the best sceneries. While some recommend low-carbon modes of transport to your fave festivals include cycling, taking the festival coach, or carpooling.
Another way to reduce your emissions, as well as waste, is packing light. Invest in durable equipment that will serve you for life, and make sure you pack everything you bring back with you. So you’ll leave the space how you’ve found it. The easiest way to do it is by making sure you’re taking only the things you need. When it comes to packing your clothes - our guide to building your capsule wardrobe will be useful.
Speak to organizers of the festivals or the places where you’ll be staying - are they making sure they’re separating and/or minimizing their waste? Have they banned single-use plastic? If they’re providing toiletry - is it eco-friendly? Do they serve vegan or vegetarian food? …. As the businesses they run are organized for you, there are many things you could encourage hosts or festival organisers to do.
For us here in Psylo, sustainability is not an aim, but a journey, a process in which we learn and improve every day. That's why it's important to us to hear and learn from you. Comment below to share your sustainable travel tips with our community and add your voice:
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