Over the past few months, quarantine did more than just reduce the spread of Coronavirus, it allowed the natural world to thrive. Global air pollution levels have decreased, water pollution began to clear, and wildlife came out of hiding. Of course this is wonderful, but we have to remember that as life slowly goes back to normal, so does this progress. What can we do to stop this from happening? There must be ways we can learn from this, right? RIGHT. We have to reflect on these last few months and use them as learning lessons. Let's go over what we've learned, see (shocking) before and after pictures around the world, and list out the top 10 steps for the eco-friendly traveler. Let's get into it:
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So class, what was our biggest takeaway? Put your hands down. I'll answer for you. We've learnt that our footprint really does make a difference - a huge difference. Every one of us made small changes throughout isolation, such as:
- We stopped making unnecessary Target runs.
- We stopped spending money at restaurants when we knew darn well that we had food in the fridge.
Yes, quarantine was difficult, but the effects it had on Mother Earth was incredible! Below are pictures from around the world, both before and after isolation. See the difference you made:
New Delhi, India
New Delhi, India
April 2020 (after a 21-day nationwide lockdown)
Isn't that incredible? These dramatic changes prove that we DO effect climate change and that we CAN make a difference in the health of our environment, the health of ourselves, and the health of our future great grandbabies. But now the question is, can we keep this up once our isolation period is over?
1. Bring Your Own Water Bottle
50 billion plastic water bottles were purchased in the USA alone last year and only about 23% were recycled. We can do better. Bring your own reusable water bottle from now on.
2. Support Local
Most of the money spent on tourism (sometimes up to 90%) leak out of the actual travel destination. Instead, they make their way back to big global, corporate tourism operators.
(TIP: Use your Online Welcome Book to guide you to the best local surroundings)
3. Support Eco Friendly Tour Companies
4. Stay With The Right People
Research before you book a hotel or furnished apartment. Does this company have sustainability standards themselves? Start building relationships with suppliers that have aligning values when it comes to bettering the environment. Here are some sustainability measures we have at Compass:
- Solar panels in our Quincy office
- NEST energy conscious thermostats in our apartments
- Biodegradable cleaning products
- Recycling bins in all apartments and offices
- Donating old furniture to those in need
- Hybrid Compass Vehicles
- Online Welcome Books (no more wasteful print outs)
6. Carbon Offset Programs
If 1.2 billion people travel each year (many of which are flying), that means there's countless of those poor quality, plastic airplane earphones and drinking cups that end up getting thrown in the trash and then dumped into our oceans. Remember to bring your headphones and water bottles when you fly!
8. Fly With Renewable Biofuel Airlines
10. Check Sustainability Certifications
Ask providers for their green certification and check whether that certifier has been approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). The GSTC provides a set of minimum requirements in order to be approved. Some examples being:
- protecting and sustaining natural and cultural resources
- maximizing social and economic benefits for the local community
- encouraging cultural heritage
We have the ability to make a powerful difference in the world. Hopefully Mother Earth's transformation during our isolation period acted as a positive lesson for future sustainability practices. If all of us can implement small, eco-friendly habits into our normal routines, we'll not only be able to maintain a thriving environment for future generations, but we, ourselves, will be able to live longer, healthier, more enjoyable lives.
CALLING ALL BUSINESS TRAVLERS: READ OUR FULL SUSTAINABLE CORPORATE TRAVEL GUIDE
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hey, guys! It's Maddy, the Content Creator at Compass. This year made everyone rethink their travel routine, but make sure you're also thinking about eco-friendly travel measures, too. Find me here on LinkedIn and we'll connect!