Holidays are the perfect time to follow through on your eco-friendly resolutions. It’s also a unique opportunity to pass them onto your family and friends. So here’s your little holiday workbook on ecology!
Holiday + nature = ecology
Whether at the seaside, in the countryside or in the mountains, being close to nature and its wonders naturally makes you want to take care of it. Even if you’re not a disrespectful tourist who leaves their cigarette butts in the sand or litter in the forest after a picnic, irresponsible attitudes such as these will make you realise even more how urgent it is to change these behaviours. Take advantage of your holiday to embrace respectful habits and protective ones, every day, and share them with those around you.
Holiday in your own country (in our case France) = holiday without air travel
Picking a destination that you can get to without air travel is important to avoid contributing towards the carbon footprint, and therefore global warming. Even a long car journey will never be a match for a flight, even a short one, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. So for holidays, head to your own country’s beauty spots. From Brittany to Paris, the Jura and Vendée areas, the South and Corsica, France has treasures just waiting to be discovered!
Sorting your rubbish in your holiday accommodation
We know that recycling cannot work miracles, and that the real solution is still zero-waste consumer behaviour to the maximum extent possible. But nevertheless, we’ll seek out sorting bays and instructions on holiday. Those used to their 3 bins will travel a few kilometres to find the recycling bins. Campsite guests will go to the trouble of venturing off the site to dispose of their rubbish correctly if there’s no sorting on site. And those holidaying in a hotel will ask at the reception desk what the arrangements are.
Going for locally-sourced options on holiday
Now’s the time to drop the (bad) habit of nipping to the supermarket, and favour instead neighbourhood shops, small organic shops, markets and local producers, who sometimes sell straight from the farm or via short supply chains. Enquire at the tourist information office and avoid big chains, unless imperative needs leave you with no choice.
Go with a more plant-based diet on holiday
Livestock farming for meat, particularly factory farming, is one of the major culprits driving up greenhouse gas emissions. It also takes significant volumes of water to grow the cereal crops intended for animal feed. Besides, too much meat, not least red meat, is not recommended if you want to stay in good health. Fishing, which is also mainly done on an industrial scale, uses techniques that pose a hazard to the sea and the fish that live in it. By no means skip the barbecue and grill platters, but do favour big salads, pulses and recipes that are clean and healthy for the whole family and the planet.
At the seaside, in the countryside or in the mountains: litter pick-up
It’s THE real eco-friendly initiative to start on holiday! Kit yourself out with gloves and paper bags, get your tentmates, friends and family together, mark out an area to tackle and get to it! Pick up everything lying on the ground, taking care to sort it whenever possible. A good idea: take before and after photos, or a photo of the result, and post it all on social media to encourage other holidaymakers to do the same… Or to stop littering the natural environment with bottles, cans and cigarette butts.
Eco-friendly holidays with children: introducing them to biodiversity
Being close to nature and having free time make it possible to organise fun activities with children to foster their awareness of ecology through the prism of biodiversity. Make a compost heap in granny and grandpa’s garden to learn about the fundamental roles of earthworms and microorganisms. Plant bee-friendly flower seeds, and look at the crucial role of bees in plant reproduction, flower and fruit formation. Learn to identify bird or tree species through observation. All of which are ideas for learning about the food chain too: in nature, everyone has their place!
Holidays: challenge time!
Two weeks without carbonated drinks? OK, challenge accepted! Or a week without meat, without generating waste or making any purchases… Now’s the time to get yourself motivated with your family and friends, to stretch your limits and acquire new habits as consumers (or non-consumers!). Habits that you’ll keep up all year round!
These days, these “little eco-friendly habits” are known as “micro-ecology”. They go beyond the hummingbird concept whereby everyone does their bit, however insignificant it may seem. These days, we know that consumer habits are the top way of applying pressure to corporations. For example, they would rather offer loose items to consumers than lose any of their market share at all… So, are you ready for an eco-friendly summer?