Ecotourism and green travel involve travelling with the objectives of avoiding any environmental or social impact both to the areas visited and to the global environment.

"We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost's familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road — the one less traveled by — offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth." – Rachel Carson, from Silent Spring


Protecting this planet we live on is everybody's responsibility. Future travellers should be able to enjoy it as much as today's travellers. Many of the things that can be done to reduce environmental impact are the same at home as they are when travelling.


You can save considerable power by turning off electricity before you go. If you are going away for an extended vacation, reduce your supplies of refrigerated and frozen food, this will enable you to ensure no food is wasted when you leave home, and may also save you money on refrigeration costs.

Get in

As a rule: don't fly, if you don't really, really need to. In most cases, flying is the least environmentally-friendly way of getting to wherever. Also, just flying from A to B is the surest way to miss every interesting thing between A and B.

And do you really need to get that far away to experience something new? Exploring the places close to home can be quite interesting, too.

Get around






Flora and fauna

Did you know?

In the Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa dung beetles have right of way. If you see one crossing the road in front of you, you are required to stop and wait for them to pass.


Economic issues

By employing local people whenever possible and paying fair wages, ecotourism seeks to prevent exploitation. This benefits the local economy by preventing leakages of the revenue acquired through tourism.

Paying a fair price for services can boost the local economy. However, in some cases it can distort the local economic market, with tourists paying many times what the locals could afford or what the person would earn in his normal professional role.

Back home

CO2 emissions

Traveling, or transport in general, is one of the biggest sources of global carbon emissions (26% of global CO2 in 2004), the cause of climate change.

Fuel consumption per 100 km/person
Coach 1.0 liter
Train 2.0 liter
Automobile 6.4 liter
Airplane 9.1 liter
Source: WWF and Deutsche Bahn. Emissions vary greatly depending on details of the travel.

By choosing a different mode of transport, you can alter your CO2 contribution significantly. According to a Union of Concerned Scientists analysis, buses and trains are almost always less environmentally damaging than planes or cars. The amount of greenhouse gases emitted depends on how great a distance is travelled and how many people are travelling in the same vehicle, as well as the fuel used with the way electricity is generated — an important factor for electric vehicles.

The Union of Concerned Scientists developed a set of tips for travelers in the United States based on their analysis.

Of course this study fails to mention Amtrak, which is comparable in efficiency to buses on most routes. On other continents there are different low-emission options available, like extensive rail links, coastal ferries, etc.

Other pollution

Besides energy consumption and CO2 emission, transport results in other pollutants. Here is an overview:

Amount of emitted pollutants per person per 1000 km travelled
Coach 28 kg
Train 33 kg
Passenger car with catalytic converter 183 kg
Airplane 201 kg

See also

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, December 20, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.