I am a travel-lover, and make a living from encouraging people to explore the world. I also believe in science and acknowledge that climate change is real.
Yes, I know there's some irony here.
On the one hand, I know that tourism contributes roughly 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and that I personally have a larger carbon footprint than the average person. But on the other hand, I wholeheartedly believe in the power of travel to turn people into more mindful, tolerant, compassionate, and overall better humans.
I agree with this Mark Twain quote: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
More people are traveling the world now than ever before; in 2017 alone, the airline industry carried more than 4 billion passengers. To simply tell all those people they shouldn't (or worse, *can't*) travel is not realistic. Now that more people have the means and desire to see the world, they're going to do so no matter what I say.
So instead of focusing on the negatives or attempting to gatekeep certain destinations, I want to focus instead on promoting responsible, sustainable tourism as much as I can.
This means writing more about issues like sustainable travel and overtourism, but also taking steps personally to make sure I'm leaving behind less of a negative impact when I travel.
My sustainable travel pledges
As a travel blogger and business owner, I want to make sure I'm taking responsibility for my travel-filled lifestyle. I can't single-handedly change the world, and I'm also not ready to give up this career I've carved out for myself.
But I can definitely do better.
Here are all the things I and my company Round Door Media are pledging to do from here on out:
- I pledge to be mindful of my carbon footprint. This means I will do my best to fly less, and use alternate forms of transportation whenever possible. I will combine trips and work projects to reduce the number of long-haul flights I take every year, and will carbon offset the flights that I do take.
- I pledge to promote sustainable tourism. This means not only writing about ways to travel more responsibly, but also doing my best to support travel brands and destinations that also prioritize sustainable tourism. (There's a reason I work so closely with companies like Intrepid Travel, which in 2020 will actually be a climate positive company.)
- I pledge to reduce my use of single-use plastics. I'm already traveling with my own reusable water bottle, straw, and utensils. I'll continue to reduce single plastic use as much as I can, and be mindful of the waste I'm leaving behind.
- I pledge to contribute to local economies. Sustainable tourism is about more than just being eco-friendly. It also means leaving a positive economic impact behind. I do my best to spend my money in ways that support local businesses and reduce leakages.
- I pledge to donate wisely. Whether it's carbon offsetting or donating to other sustainable initiatives, I promise to do so thoughtfully. In 2020, Round Door Media will be donating 1% of all paid marketing campaign profits to projects that are working to fight climate change around the world (more info below).
- I pledge to vote. Lastly, you can argue that travel and politics “shouldn't mix” until you're blue in the face, but the reality is that the two are inexorably linked. And I know it's my duty as a responsible world citizen to continue using my right to vote to vote for people and programs that will ultimately help the planet. We can only do so much as individuals; the big changes that will really matter will have to come from corporations and governments.
Some companies I'll be donating to in 2020 include:
- Offset Earth – A carbon offsetting program that invests your monthly donations in reforesting and other Gold Standard-certified projects around the world. (Want to sign up for a subscription? Here's a link that will plant extra trees!)
- South Pole – An organization that helps both businesses and individuals offset their omissions with donations to various certified projects around the world. I'll be donating 1% of all project fees to South Pole projects this year.
Sustainable travel content
Read more of my sustainable travel content:
Some easy things every traveler can realistically do.
Here's how to ditch the single-use plastics when you travel!
Explaining the three pillars of sustainable tourism and why they matter.
Have any questions for me about this pledge? Feel free to shoot me an email at adangerousbusiness[at]gmail[dot]com.