Eco-Friendly Travel and Holidays Information

Eco-Friendly Travel and Holidays Information

Are you looking for eco-friendly travel opportunities? Are you worried about the current environmental climate and wondering how harmful travel is and what impact international organisations have? This is a great concern for eco-friendly travelers and one of the things poeple now think about before booking holidays and trips abroad. 

One World 365 features hundreds of ec-friendly travel and tour operators who offer meaningful and responsible trips worldwide, the hard part is choosing where to visit and weighing up if it is harming the environment and other issues. One of our guest writers Laura Marzaroli has written an article which you migh be interested in reading - "How We Live Today: A Modest Proposal for the Prevention of the End of the World as we Know it Today."

The question currently in everyone’s minds is ‘how long until the polar ice caps melt?’ We do not have the answer. All we do know is that we are speeding toward this eventuality at an alarming rate. Supposedly green parties such as Greenpeace are of course being extremely helpful. I say this with as much sarcasm as I can possibly muster on paper.

Did you know that during one particular prestige oil spill in the Atlantic Ocean, just North of Spain, Greenpeace did more harm than good? They turned up in their van, burning gallons of fuel, bringing with them a ridiculous amount of unnecessary equipment and a large amount of plastic bags. They filmed themselves putting the oil in to these plastic bags, (the very same ones they preach to the supermarkets about) wearing breathing equipment and heavy duty protective clothing much to the amusement of the actual oil spill response company.

Once they had their footage, public admiration intact, they dumped the plastic bags full of oil on the beach and drove off in their fossil fuel burning van. Oil is a natural substance. Very rarely is a spill an ecological disaster. Oil spill response companies exist in order to protect the local people. If oil is covering a beach, tourists will not travel there meaning no income for the locals who rely on this trade. Without giving a single thought to the environment, only themselves, Greenpeace jumped in making things a whole lot worse.

Why is everyone jumping on the green bandwagon anyway? It’s almost as though we have been brainwashed and have lost the ability to think for ourselves – just another government publicity stunt. We are coming out of an ice age. The Earth is going to warm up and by trying to prevent it, we are going against what is natural. We have been through this transition before and have come out of it a respectable, high standing group in society. Ok, scrap that last point but we have evolved and are now living in the developed world. We can either stop the natural process of global warming, leaving us stuck in limbo, continuing to believe the government’s money making lies or let nature run its course and who knows what we will do next – isn’t that the meaning of life? To reproduce in order to ‘see what happens next,’ to better ourselves?

Who am I to raise these points though? I don’t have a title; I just live in the real world. Let’s get on this bandwagon and see what all the fuss is about. We will begin at the Matterhorn, Switzerland. In July 2003, two mountain climbers reached the Solvay bivouac hut on the Matterhorn's Hornli ridge when an avalanche began hurtling down the east face. ‘In the end more than 70 climbers had to be hauled from the slopes of the Matterhorn that day - one of the biggest mass rescues in mountaineering history.’ The ice that holds mountain slopes and rock faces together is simply disappearing. Mountains are beautiful, there’s no doubt about it. The argument this particular article provides us with however, is the effect the disappearance of the mountains is having on mankind. Taking this argument, surely the loss of mountains is beneficial. Think about it. Without the mountains, there will be no avalanches, the Tour de France will be an awful lot easier resulting in less life threatening injuries, helicopters will not be needed for mountain rescue meaning no noise pollution and no burning of fuels and tonnes of plastic will not be required in order to make skis and snowboards. Is this what we want?

Let us now travel to the Arctic Circle, the home of the Polar bear. Their survival is in jeopardy because of climate change. ‘The warming trend has already resulted in a three percent decrease per decade in the extent of sea ice since the 1970’s and an increase in the number of melt days each summer’ Polar bears depend on the ice sheets to hunt seals, rest and breed. ‘Many polar bears now suffer from malnutrition and others face starvation, especially females with cubs.’ The Polar bear is the first animal to become endangered because of global warming. It is not just global warming that is threatening the existence of the polar bears. Harmful chemicals that man is releasing in to the environment are also having a drastic effect.

Mercury has been found in polar bears bodies. ‘Mercury is ingested by the bears through other animals. It can simply start out as a small fish, and then as it goes through the food chain, it becomes more and more concentrated.’ By the time the mercury reaches the polar bear, it could be at lethal concentration levels. This process is known as bio magnification. ‘It is stated in a private letter from Cadiz, that after the late hurricane, the Triumph’s boats picked up near seven hundred boxes of quicksilver which… were stowed in the storerooms and the hold.’ The heat on board caused the cases to crack and the liquid mercury spilled out all over the decks and in to the ocean. Although not recent, it is a prime example of how the human race is driven by wealth and how this negatively impacts other species.

Today, consumerism is even worse. Mercury is contained within thermometers, electrical switches and float valves to name but a few. Even though we have a strong understanding of the damaging effects, we continue to use it, both shipping it around the world and even using it on the ships themselves. It seems as though we are determined to kill the polar bears off. Is this really such a bad thing?

If the dinosaurs were still around, humans wouldn’t be. We would not have a fighting chance at survival against them. If polar bears were not around, which species would evolve next? It could be a species that knew the answers to many of life’s seemingly unanswerable questions. We need to progress. It seems to me, somewhat ignorant to prevent progression. 

We have travelled from Switzerland to the Arctic Circle. For the final section of the argument, let us consider means of travel.

Cruises have become hugely popular over the last ten years or so. This has meant more cruise liners burning vast quantities of fuel, polluting not only the skies but also the oceans. Even more disturbing is the popularity of the Arctic cruise. Imagine the damage the ships are causing as they weave their way round the icebergs. We may as well cover the ice sheets in atom bombs and blow the whole lot up. 

In addition to sea levels rising, weather can become more extreme. ‘This means more intense major storms, more rain followed by longer and drier droughts... changes in the ranges in which plants and animals can live, and loss of water supplies that have historically come from glaciers.'

Jonathan Swift was an Irish author who wrote in the Eighteenth Century. In 1729, he wrote A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People from being a Burden to their Parents or Country and for making them Beneficial to the Public. He begins by outlining the problems faced by those who ‘work for their honest livelihood.’ These problems involve mothers begging for sustenance for themselves and their children on the streets. The proposal provides a solution to this. Swift suggests that the poor sell their children as dishes for ‘stewing, roasting, baking or boiling.’ - ‘A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends, and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish.’. This work was formulated based on the troubles Ireland was experiencing under England’s rule.

Below, I have outlined my own modest proposal for the prevention of the end of the world as we know it today informing society on how to slow down the rate of global warming whilst continuing to enjoy their modern lives.

Consider this; a standard cruise ship carries twenty life boats. Not only is this taking up extra space, it is making the ship considerably heavier. This burns more fuel, using up more fossil fuels and contributing further to the infamous greenhouse effect. The obvious answer is to get rid of the lifeboats making the ships smaller and considerably lighter. This seems like the perfect solution until the unfortunate event of sinking comes in to play. How do you tell holiday makers that there are no lifeboats as they are clinging on to the decks, desperately trying to stay out of the water in much the same way the polar bears cling on to the melting ice sheets? The answer is helium.

It cannot be a coincidence that helium is one of the so called noble gases. ‘Of all the elements, helium is the most stable; it will not burn or react with other elements.’ It is odourless, tasteless and non-toxic as well as being the second lightest and the second most abundant element in the observable universe. This means that it can be breathed in causing no harm to the consumer whilst making them light enough to float on water. The fact that there is so much of it in the atmosphere means that there will be plenty to go around the hundreds of holiday makers and crew on board. 

The proposal suggests that all lifeboats be taken off ships and replaced with balloons of helium. This proposal has been brought about because of the obvious ecological benefits helium has over lifeboats. The first is space. It may be possible to fit two lifeboats in to a standard sized room if they were stacked. Can you imagine how many helium balloons you could fit in to that one room? The answer is hundreds concluding that cruise liners can be smaller, using less fuel. This leads nicely on to weight. The average lifeboat weighs approximately thirty five tonnes. A litre of helium on the other hand weighs just 0.18 grams. This means that you would need one hundred and ninety four million, four hundred and forty four thousand, four hundred and forty four litres of helium just to create the same weight as one lifeboat. Multiply this by twenty, and you get in to even more ridiculous figures. Think of the thousands of litres of fuel a cruise ship would save in its lifetime if it carried helium instead of lifeboats.

Finally, not only will this provide the polar bear with a healthier lifestyle, the indigenous people of Lake Titikaka with the means to survive and the ice caps with longer winter seasons, it will provide the people on board a sinking ship with a reason to smile. Think of the panicked state you would be in climbing aboard a lifeboat. Everyone is rushing around in opposite directions; families are split up in to different lifeboats and why, after seeing one boat go down, would you willingly get on another? If, however, each person was allocated a number of helium balloons, they could leave the ship from any point, ensuring that they remain with their families. The holiday maker/ crew member can then entertain themselves all the way back to shore simply by talking as their voice takes on a range known only by the female mouse.

There are literally hundreds of thousands of vessels that use the oceans not only above but also below the surface. If we could more than halve the weight of the cruise liners and ferries, think how far we would be going in saving our planet.

‘I think it is agreed by all parties that this prodigious number of [ships]…, is in the present deplorable state of the [planet], a very great additional grievance; and therefore whoever could find out a fair, cheap and easy method of making these [ships environmentally friendly] would deserve so well of the public as to [be held in high regard by their professors when being judged!]

By Laura Marzaroli

If you would like to search our range of eco-friendly holidays we recommend you search our travel ideas or if you are looking to do something meaningful view our volunteer abroad directory and search inspirational projects and organisations who you can help.