How much does it cost to travel from Brussels to Greece?
With about €400, you would be set. You just have to take the plane, and in 4 hours, you can enjoy the breath-taking crystal-clear waters. But this trip would also produce 0.89 t. of carbon dioxide. This represents an unbelievable high amount of pollution, especially considering the few days you are going to spend there.
This is the amount of pollution that Adae Charlier (Belgian schoolgirl climate activist) wanted to decrease for her senior trip. However, the Belgian student still wanted to travel to Greece and be with her classmates. She then came up with a solution: she decided to take trains and a boat. The amount of pollution produced by those means of transport is way inferior to the one produced by planes. It would take her longer to arrive, but she would enjoy the European landscape along the way and have the satisfaction to know that she didn't pollute too much while doing what she wanted to.
Change doesn't only depend on her or on Greta Thunberg (Swedish schoolgirl climate activist.) It depends on all of us. Every day, there are a lot of little acts that can help reduce waste. This is also the case while travelling.
Here is how you can avoid producing waste while travelling:
Use a reusable bottle: Every year, 89 billion plastic bottles are made. This has a negative impact on the environment and could easily be prevented. A reusable bottle would not only be ecological but also economical. Tap water is free and available almost everywhere. There are a lot of different designs you can find and different formats too! If you are afraid of the water to turn warm while travelling South, you can even find an Inox bottle that keeps your water cold.
Transportation: while travelling a long distance, it is always better for the environment to take ground transportation instead of a plane. But if you are visiting a city, you could also try the bike. Not only is it good for the environment, but it is also good for your health. In most countries, you can find bike sharing systems in all major cities. This will allow you to be flexible, as you won't depend on the timetable of buses and trains (and their delays). You could also walk from place to place; it will permit you to discover hidden spots you would miss if you were taking the bus.
Food: Eat local. Part of travelling is discovering new cultures. Most of the time, the place you are visiting has meals to offer that you never tasted before, or that you could never find anywhere else (not this good anyway). Eating local has many advantages. First, it will permit you to discover new things, to taste new food and maybe, to come back home with new recipes. Secondly, it will help the local economy. In touristic countries, most people live thanks to tourism and their businesses. Eating at their restaurants instead of eating in fast food chains could make a big difference for them. And lastly, you would do a lot for the environment. Most of the time, local businesses use local and fresh products. This means your food doesn't have to travel from the other side of the world to arrive at your plate, which makes a big difference.
Say no to plastic: : Everywhere you go, you can find plastic. Most of the time, it will be single-use plastic items. This is a waste you can easily avoid: just say no. You are tempted all day long for single-use items: straws, plastic cups, plastic bags, etc. At the end of the day, this results in a huge amount of waste you could have avoided. Instead, you could just say no to straws, bring your own reusable cup (just like your bottle of water) and bring your own shopping bag. If you're travelling in a group, you could also share a shampoo bottle, shower gel, etc. This doesn't only save the world from additional plastic, but it's also less weight to carry around this way!
Respect the places you are visiting: This is another tip you need to use in your everyday life. Throw your waste in the rubbish bins, don't leave anything behind. There is nothing worse than a beautiful landscape full of rubbish, you don't want to see that where you go, and know that others don't want that either. Learn about the recycling habits of the countries you are visiting (they often differ from one place to another) and respect their ways.
All these ideas are very easy to follow. It only takes a couple of seconds every day, and it makes a huge difference on the planet. Don't forget that a clean landscape is always better looking, and together we make sure it stays that way.