So, a recent study found that global tourism is responsible for 8% of our greenhouse emissions.
Don’t make me feel guilty about flying – I’m about to go on holiday to Mallorca.
I’m not trying to make you guilty, just make you aware of the consequences of your actions.
Is there a difference between those two?
Are you telling me I should take the train to Mallorca? Because that’s tricky.
Strangely enough, flying didn’t come out as the most harmful activity (although they may have underestimated the impact of air travel, as it’s not just about CO2 emissions.) It’s more about the things you do when you’re there.
You’re telling me I shouldn’t have burnt all those old tyres?
The biggest causes identified were things like food, hotels and other forms of transport when you’re there – all those steaks, daily towel changes and 4WD jeep trips in the desert add up, apparently.
I hear concrete is bad, too.
Incredibly, and you need a lot of it to construct the average tourist resort.
Good thing my beach villa is made from 100% virgin forest tree- oh, right.
So, which country had the highest emissions overall?
In terms of people going on holiday from the country, the US.
Was anyone surprised by this?
I’d rather not comment on that.
What about the countries people go to?
The ‘winners’ – countries with the most emissions per visitor – were smaller islands that tend to have more luxury services, like the Maldives and the Seychelles.
Those damned rich folks.
You want to go to the Maldives now, don’t you.
A little bit. So, is there anything I can do to limit my tourist footprint?
Yes, travel closer to home-
Apart from not flying to hot places.
If you’re going to fly – and there are plenty of options for not flying to your holiday – make sure you don’t do it too far too often, and offset the carbon with a reputable scheme like Climate Stewards.
And when I get there?
Don’t choose purpose-made resorts, take local transport as much as you can, buy souvenirs that don’t involve mining for metals, and eat local food, as unprocessed as possible. Oh, and don’t stay in fancy hotels.
But I like staying in-
If you stay in hotels, ask for your linen to be changed only when needed. Laundry is an energy beast.
Well, that’s all the joy taken out of my next holiday – crippled by flying guilt, eating nothing but seeds and berries and sleeping in a dirty bed.
That’s not really- ah, you might find you enjoy getting off the beaten track. Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints, all that jazz.