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Dirty Green Honeymoons – Small Ways to Reduce Your Impact on the Planet
No matter what shade of green you are, chances are you’ve given a lot of thought to your wedding and honeymoon and keeping them both in line with your values as a couple. With the specter of global warming, rising sea levels and man-made environmental disasters in the daily news, we feel guilty about doing nothing at all, let alone planning big weddings and vacations.
Therefore, the greenest honeymoon would be to stay local and with a little imagination, create a beautiful, fun and magical honeymoon that is also kind to the planet. The stops are all the rage and get the weather right, you can have an inexpensive vacation and family in your own country.
However, some of us (especially those who live in colder climates) long to see a sunny beach in some exotic country. But we’re reluctant to call ourselves “environmentally conscious” while at the same time traveling half way across the planet and (let’s face it) contributing a pretty nasty carbon footprint.
It is a moral dilemma. So what’s an eco girl to do to balance these two desires?
Let’s face it. There are some will travel on flights around the world for our honeymoons and it is not necessary to spend the whole time feeling guilty. My own honeymoon took the UK, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia, and now in our jobs as Honeymooners, we travel around the world for six months. This certainly appeals to my environmental conscience but I still, perhaps in thinking, think of myself as someone who cares about the future of our planet.
I know I’m not the only one with this moral problem. Our generation wants to be global citizens, but no one wants to create more damage to the planet than necessary. Instead of being a hypocrite and telling you to stay home, we’ve been gathering tips to share with other honeymooners with itchy feet.
In any way, these actions do not cancel your world-trotting altogether, but here are some small and simple tips that you can do to reduce your impact without spending every minute worrying about it.
Choose your vacation wisely
Start with the limit in mind and support limits that use renewable energy, have local programs and implement appropriate environmental regulations (not affect one by reusing your bath towels). This includes water use, waste disposal and building materials.
Most importantly look for places that are creating jobs and wealth in their communities with the distribution of clean water and sanitation for local people. Do workers get paid fairly, or do they rely on tips to earn a living? Does your resort benefit the community or is it a source of wealth and opportunity within the left?
Holidays that involve animals should have ethical conservation policies and respect for preserving areas for animals to live in the forest. We’ve heard horror stories about dolphins being kept as pets in swimming pools (and killing themselves), tourists being offered photo opportunities with toothed tigers and chains, and elephants being killed. in training with violence and chaos. Don’t give these sites your money and contribute to the problem. Travel can be profitable and beneficial so spread the word about incentive companies.
Every hotel and resort I’ve been to cranks the air-conditioning to jaw-dropping levels, making the difference to the outside even more unbearable. Make sure you turn it off whenever you leave the room, and check back after breakfast to make sure the housekeeper hasn’t turned it back on all day.
If you have good mosquitoes, consider not using the AC all night and open the window instead. On our honeymoon in Indonesia, we stayed in a tent on stilts in the water and the hot air blew in our air conditioner.
In many developing countries bottled water is still a necessity, and you can get very sick from drinking tap water. In these cases find the most local brand, buy the biggest bottles so you don’t go through hundreds of smaller ones and dispose of them properly. Ask your hotel if they recycle.
What is better, glass or plastic? In many countries, glass is easily recycled and is more likely to be found littering beaches and landfills.
If the chances of getting sick are slim, filter and boil your own water using tablets, special drinking straws and filtered water bottles.
Many countries like Singapore and Mauritius have excellent tap water to drink so always ask and don’t be paranoid, but use the filtration options mentioned if you are concerned. Fill reusable water bottles in the morning to use throughout the day.
A great alternative to bottled drinks are fresh green coconuts straight from the tree. Coconut water is so good for you, it’s delicious and it’s nature’s version of sugary energy drinks. Coconut shells are biodegradable and in some countries are used as a source of fuel. It is also money that goes directly back into the local economy, as they are grown wild and not owned by a global bottling company that offers a pittance profit margin.
Food and drink
Going meat-free on your honeymoon gives you the best chance of avoiding food poisoning or illness. Many countries have low standards around battery farms or humane killing practices, so if you’re not vegan or vegetarian, consider doing it for your honeymoon.
Take the opportunity to try local wines and spirits where possible, and talk to the chef about where and how the fish and vegetables are sourced.
Tropical countries have a lot of fresh fruit, so take advantage of supporting the local economy and as long as you have the peel (pineapple, mango, passion fruit, bananas etc.) then it is almost always safe to eat.
Find your own off-set
There are definitely debates around flight cancellation plans, so find one that feels right for you. You may want to support a local regeneration program, an international organization that plants trees or an animal conservation charity instead.
Consider doing some charity work with the local economy, donating time, money or materials such as space and books to local schools.
You can ask your wedding guests to donate to the community in lieu of a wedding gift, or give you vouchers for low-impact activities such as bike tours or massages.
Spend your money responsibly and avoid illegal DVDs (they can support crime), do not take shells or corals, do not buy products made with plastic, dangerous or rare materials and buy materials locally made, produced souvenirs such as beaded jewelry or woven handicrafts.
Of course, there are many other small actions that you can do that will probably be second nature to you. Always take out your trash (but I know you do it anyway!), turn off the lights, don’t charge electronics unnecessarily and reuse your beach and bath towels.
You can spend the entire honeymoon debating the relative merits and demerits of each activity, but you are there to enjoy yourself and live this wonderful time together according to your values and principles. Do what you can and try to benefit each site in some way.
Finally, traveling the earth and meeting other cultures is a wonderful and life-giving thing, and wouldn’t it be great if our children could do it (relatively) without guilt? There will be better ways to travel in the future if we ask for it, using renewable sources of energy to power our planes (hey, maybe even teleportation) so always support organizations that it makes it unacceptable (and unprofitable) for the holiday industry to exploit the natural resources of our beautiful planet.
Just being aware of your daily activities will give you many ideas that you can share with others too. Enjoy your honeymoon as much as possible, and spread love as you go – for each other and for the planet.
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