Conscious Travel takes a holistic, integral approach to tourism development designed to maximise net positive benefits and ensure guests, employees, businesses and places flourish.
Our learning programs grow Conscious Hosts who will act as positive agents of change in their community and embed conscious business principles within the tourism sector
We’re growing a network of “Places that Care” – destinations where Conscious Hosts take responsibility for ensuring tourism is a true force for good
Whom do we serve?
Conscious Travel is a social enterprise formed to serve and support three communities through education, consulting, and coaching services
SUPPLIERS OF TRAVEL & HOSPITALITY RELATED SERVICES
Owner-managers of micro – medium sized enterprises of all kinds providing travel and hospitality-related services who want their efforts to contribute a positive net benefits to their community and a sustainable livelihood for themselves and their descendants. We prefer to call these suppliers hosts. Our mission is to help them realise their full potential as leaders of flourishing enterprises contributing to prosperous, healthy communities.
We also serve those permanent inhabitants of a destination who care about the place they live in; want to steward the land; nurture the unique cultures they and their ancestors have evolved over time; and who deserve to live with dignity and be treated with respect. They are often promised many benefits from tourism but receive few. It is rare that they are given a chance to determine the kind, pace and scope of tourism that takes place in their homes and can have such a direct impact on their lives.
We support hosts in modelling to their guests a responsible way to travel and enjoy places while minimising negative impacts and maximising benefits. The two major market segments are currently Millennials and Boomers. The former consider travel both a right and a rite of passage. Boomers are more inclined to see it as a reward or a privilege. Both want to contribute to making the world a better place. Conscious Travel works directly with hosts to help them create the conditions for their guests to enjoy meaningful, transformative experiences that inspire raves, referrals and returns.
What Is the Most Eco-Friendly Way to Travel?
Over the past few years, the topic of climate change has become more and more popular, raising concerns about the future of our planet and eco system. And there’s a valid reason for that. As our everyday lives become more automated and mobile, our carbon footprint continues to increase leading to serious consequences for the environment and the health of our planet. Therefore, it’s more important now than ever before to understand what is causing our personal carbon footprint to grow and what we can do to reduce it.
What is carbon footprint?
Carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, consisting mainly of carbon dioxide, that an individual or an organization releases into the atmosphere through their actions.
Why is it important?
Carbon dioxide emissions have profound effects on the environment. Because of them, the temperature of our planet increases, causing the melting of ice caps and leading to the rise of sea levels. As a result, entire ecosystems and coastal cities could be completely submerged and irreversibly destroyed.
It also causes great changes in temperature norms that could negatively affect the habitats of various wildlife, as well as the lives of millions of people around the world who rely on their food crops for sustenance.
In addition, the continuous warming of the planet’s oceans could lead to striking climate anomalies that threaten to destroy and wipe off entire communities. Most recently, a series of hurricanes of never-before-seen magnitudes swept through the southern United States and the Caribbean with deadly consequences. Unless we put a conscious effort to reduce the emissions of carbon of dioxide released into the atmosphere, these natural disasters will continue to become bigger and more frequent.
How can I reduce my carbon footprint?
You might not realize it but your personal carbon footprint is determined by a variety of everyday habits and activities such as your electricity usage, the amount of waste you generate, and even your diet. However, one of the most prominent (and obvious) factors that affect your influence on the environment is the way you travel.
Your travel habits and preferences are among the key elements that dictate your carbon footprint. In fact, you can drastically reduce (or increase) the amount of carbon dioxide emissions you’re responsible for by choosing a particular form of transportation over another.
What are the most sustainable modes of transportation?
If you’re determined to reduce your carbon footprint, you should be aware of the direct effects that every mode of transportation has on the environment. To help you figure that out, we examined the fuel efficiency and the average amount of CO2 emissions of the four most popular ways that people travel – bus, train, car, and airplane:
|186.2 passenger miles/gallon
|189.7 passenger miles/gallon
|113 passenger miles/gallon
|53.6 passenger miles/gallon
Average CO2 Emissions
|0.17 lbs/passenger mile
|0.41 lbs/passenger mile
|1.17 lbs/passenger mile
|1.83 lbs/passenger mile
Passenger mile = one mile traveled by one passenger, as a unit of traffic.
As you can see, traveling by bus or train is a lot more efficient and environmentally friendly than either driving or flying. Both buses and trains not only use a significant amount of fuel less, but they also release much lower amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In fact, traveling by bus rather than flying could decrease your carbon footprint by up to 13 times.
Another extremely important thing to keep in mind about different types of transportation is their capacity:
Average Maximum Capacity of Vehicles
Bus capacity: based on the maximum capacity of an average Greyhound bus (https://www.greyhound.com/en/discover-greyhound/our-bus-fleet)
Train capacity: based on information provided by Amtrak; train sizes and capacity vary in different regions.
Car capacity: https://truecostblog.com/2010/05/27/fuel-efficiency-modes-of-transportation-ranked-by-mpg/
Airplane capacity: Based on avg. capacity of Airbus A320 and Boeing 727 (https://www.ponderweasel.com/how-many-people-can-fit-on-a-plane/)
An average inter-city bus can fit up to 55 people on board, while the average personal car can carry up to five passengers at a time. Unfortunately, it’s not very often that cars are filled to capacity. In fact, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the average car carries only between one and two passengers. Therefore, one bus can take as many as 55 cars off the road!
While trains might be a little less efficient than buses, they are still light years ahead in terms of their carbon footprint compared to cars and airplanes. The average Amtrak train can carry more people than the average domestic jet plane and its carbon dioxide emissions are more than four times lower.
How would my carbon footprint differ on actual routes?
As we established above, choosing to travel by bus or train over flying or driving can have long-lasting positive effects on the environment. While you will probably still opt to fly if you’re going somewhere really far than sit on a bus or train for 12+ hours, you should definitely consider ground transportation for short-distance trips and spare our planet the extra fuel exhausts. Not only will Mother Nature be really thankful, but also your bank account will be happy as well, as bus and train travel is usually just a fraction of the cost of flying or driving.
To demonstrate the magnitude of the overall environmental benefits of traveling by ground using public transportation, we picked five popular short-distance routes from across the country and calculated what the carbon footprint of one traveler would be if they traveled by bus, train, car, or airplane.
We used CarbonFund.org’s calculator to determine a single traveler’s carbon footprint for a one-way trip for each of the popular routes below. Car stats are based on the fuel efficiency of 2016 Honda Accord, 26 MPG, 3.5 L 6 Cyl. with an automatic transmission.
For flights, we have included the amount of CO2 emissions when you take into consideration radiative forcing. According to CarbonFund.org, at high altitudes, the effect of greenhouse gases is considerably different than on the ground level. Aircrafts emit water vapor during flights which can cause the formation of ice clouds, called contrails, which can then lead to a net warming factor estimated to be 2.7 times the normal effect.
How to Be More Environmentally Conscious
Over the last twenty years, the push for people to be more environmentally conscious has continued to grow, with many businesses making it easier for people to be environmentally friendly. While there is still a large number of the population who are not aware of the importance of taking care of the world, most people do know the buzzwords of “going green,” and being “environmentally friendly.”
One of the issues with the lack of participation is that many businesses, communities, and individual people who have a small interest in going green but don’t necessarily know what to do to make a difference.
Conserving our resources is crucial and taking a little bit of time to research different ways to participate is a great way to get started.
What Does It Mean to Be Environmentally Conscious?
Being environmentally conscious can mean something different to each person because it is a broad term that describes many different behaviors, guidelines, and laws that exist to reduce or minimize environmental harm. Some of the most common terms include:
- Green, going green, and living green.
- Nature-friendly and natural.
- Eco-friendly and eco-conscious; and,
- Environmentally friendly or environmentally cautious.
According to Merriam-Webster online, the term eco-conscious was first used in 1972 and is a broad term that means “marked by or showing concern for the environment.” There are many different ways people can make changes to conserve their environment, and the term environmentally conscious is a fundamental belief system that inspires action.
Being eco-friendly on a personal level can mean changing your cleaners, and eating habits, but it can also mean supporting businesses who are making strides to help the environment. Making changes begins on the personal level but then affects companies, and eventually communities as a whole.
Why It Is Important to Be Eco-Friendly
There have been many times when the practices of a large corporation have come under scrutinization because their harmful choices have affected or even killed people or animals. In those moments, when the news and social media are heavily reporting on a dangerous business, people become interested in ways they can make changes in their daily practices.
Eventually, the news moves onto other stories, and people’s attention shifts to other things. The challenge is to get more people to see the significant impact of the companies who are harming people and animals through their careless businesses.
Even though there are plenty of businesses who need to change their policies, it would not be fair to blame all environmental issues on business owners. We are all in this together, and the only way to make a huge difference is to join together with our communities and businesses and find ways to work together.
The reason it is vital for people to embrace an environmental friendliness is that our world will not be a resource if we continue ruining our methods for sustainability. We are making mistakes that are causing animals and habitats to go extinct, and people to get sick.
If you are looking for ways to be more environmentally, here are fifteen things you can do to be more environmentally conscious.
1. Increase Your Awareness
The best way to start making change happen is to begin being aware of your daily habits. Observe your daily actions and think of different things you can do to be a little eco-friendlier. When you are ready to start transforming your efforts, being aware of what you do and why is a great place to start.
2. Wash Your Clothes on Warm or Cold
Many people believe their clothes won’t be clean unless they wash certain things on hot; however, the reality is that clothes will be sanitized through the laundry process, no matter what temperature you choose. Using hot water for anything other than oil-based stains is unnecessary and will save a lot of energy.
3. Ditch the Paper Calendars
There are a lot of people who depend on post-it notes and paper to-do lists. If possible, utilize the calendar on your phone and download a to-do list app. Reducing the amount of paper you use helps significantly.
4. Practice Conserving
Whether it is making a conscious effort to turn off a light in another room, using cloth napkins, or picking out energy efficient appliances, there are many different ways you can practice your new understanding and awareness of being eco-friendly.
5. Reuse Bottles
Disposable bottles of water are very wasteful. Reports estimate that around 80 percent of water bottles are not recycled. The production process of water bottles takes three times the amount of water that is actually in the bottle to get one bottle done.
6. Carpool When You Can
Most people think of carpooling as something that is reserved for people who need to get to work. While splitting carpooling duties between a few coworkers is environmentally friendly and also saves on gas costs, carpooling can be used for nights out with friends, business travel, getting kids to school, and so much more.
7. Shop Local as Much as Possible
One great way to help others and to be environmentally friendly is to shop locally. Products that are shipped cost more money, time, and resources. If you buy locally, you are supporting the farmers who live in your community and encouraging others to do the same.
8. Be Conscious Of Water Usage
Not only are different parts of the world experiencing water crises, but it also takes a lot of energy to get water from nearby water sources into your house. Some of the ways you can reduce water usage include upgrading to an energy efficient washer, reducing the time you spend in the shower or bath, making sure all of your pipes are working optimally without leaks, and setting up a rain barrel to collect rainwater for different things like watering your lawn.
9. Compost Your Food
Compost piles are made up of the biodegradable products you use, typically food scraps from fruits and vegetables. Having a compost pile will eventually give you nutrient-rich soil if you garden, and most importantly, it means less trash for the landfill. There are issues with dumps because they pollute the air, and also because they fill up and require new locations.
10. Recycle as Much as You Can
Many grocery stores have recycling centers that give you a small amount of money for recycling bottles. While most people don’t do it for the money, it does accrue, and you can save it for something fun. Recycling is more than just collecting your cans and bottles. You can also recycle by paying attention to the products you buy. When grocery shopping, you can encourage recycling by purchasing products that have been recycled.
11. Plant Trees
Trees have been destroyed rapidly because of housing and city growth, but trees are vital to our survival. They help clean the air, give us oxygen, provide homes to wildlife, provide us with food, and contribute to the prevention of soil erosion. More than that, planting trees around your house can help reduce energy consumption because they provide shade during warm weather and can cool your home down, so you need less air conditioning or fans.
12. Help Prevent Littering
Littering is a big problem in some places, and you can make a difference. Whether you make a pact to not litter, or you carry a bag with you to pick up trash you see along the way; you can make a difference.
13. Ditch Plastic as Much as Possible
Whether you make a decision to use canvas bags for your groceries or you stop using sandwich baggies for your lunches, finding ways to reduce the use of harmful plastic is a great way to be environmentally conscious.
An added perk to using your own grocery shopping bags is that some companies like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have small rewards, like weekly raffles, for people who bring their own bags.
14. Replace Harmful Chemicals When You Can
Harmful chemicals like oil, ammonia, and paint cause air pollution and when not disposed of properly, seep into groundwater. Many people who want to be eco-friendly, replace harmful chemicals with natural cleaners like vinegar and baking soda.
If you do need to use chemicals, like paint, you can reduce pollution and groundwater contamination by keeping it adequately covered when not in use and finding local sites for dropping off toxic waste. Those sites will dispose of it safely.
15. Help Protect Wildlife
Animals are becoming extinct or endangered because of human behavior. Whether you want to actively help stand together to protect animal habitats or you want to donate to companies who do it, being an active participant in protecting wildlife is essential.
Being environmentally conscious is an ever growing and learning process. The best thing you can do for the environment is to educate yourself about all of the different ways human behavior is negatively affecting the earth and find ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
The harmful effects of reckless human behavior are becoming more evident over time. Being aware of the problem and helping to educate others are the best ways to be an environmentally friendly person.