Planning an eco-friendly Caribbean holiday
The representative to the UN from the Maldives recently spoke at COP26, highlighting the impact climate change is having on small island nations particularly. Rising sea levels are putting nations like the Caribbean and Maldives at greater risk of erosion and population displacement. As a visitor to the Caribbean there are many ways you can limit the environmental footprint of your stay by making your activities greener
Travel in the Caribbean is becoming more and more sustainable as many islands work to improve public transport and cycling infrastructure. Indeed, many cities have had bike share programs in place for nearly a decade. A number of companies have sprung up alongside these government efforts, offering bike and even ebike rentals. Tourists making use of these systems can tour the islands knowing they do so without contributing to pollution. Tourism is responsible for 8% of the world’s carbon emissions, of which travel plays a significant part. While it is a practice more common to large corporations, carbon offsetting is increasingly being utilized by individuals looking to mitigate their impact on the environment.
Tourists can make use of these schemes and or contribute to local charities and sustainability projects. Reducing air travel emissions is one of the biggest challenges facing the tourism industry. Until commercial electric flight becomes a reality this is unlikely to be resolved. In the meantime there are ways travelers can reduce the emissions produced by their journeys by making a few eco-friendly changes. While first and business class are great luxuries, they come at the cost of significant space and weight. Packing light and choosing to travel economy rather than business or first class will greatly reduce the fuel cost associated with your travel.
The Caribbean’s tourism industry is currently dominated by all-inclusive resorts and hotels. Unfortunately these large businesses are a significant driver for pollution and waste on the islands. Tourism of the future will have to put the emphasis on supporting small, local businesses. Where possible opt for small guesthouses and hotels rather than resorts. Even better are the local cooperative-run lodges which put an emphasis on community and sustainability.
This opens up a world of variety in the kinds of places you can stay, from secluded beaches to mountains and rainforests meaning you can find the perfect spot to holiday. Recent years have brought a push towards food security and sustainability on the islands. While the majority of the Caribbean’s produce is imported, there has been a push towards greater food security through agricultural efforts. Going out of your way to experience local cuisine and culture is the best way you can support these efforts towards more sustainable tourism.
The natural beauty of these islands is the reason tourists are attracted to them. At the same time, tourism is a driving force behind climate change and environmental damage through pollution. However, your holiday needn’t be a burden on the environment. By changing your travel habits and utilizing schemes like carbon offsetting you can greatly reduce the carbon footprint of your holidays.