This post was inspired by the Eco-Guide to Responsible Drinking. We always try to make environmental choices, which can be surprisingly difficult and frustrating when traveling and eating and drinking out. There are a number of ways alcohol tourism adversely affects our planet, and ways you can mitigate them.
Flying is generally fairly bad for the environment. A large amount of carbon dioxide is produced in all steps of the flying process. However, it is more efficient, from a carbon-footprint-point-of-view, than driving long distances. And it’s the only practical way for us to get to Oceania. In general, reduce the amount that you fly. Some companies also allow you to buy offsets for your flight- I remember Delta doing this, but I haven’t seen it recently. If you do fly a lot, and you’re bothered by the environmental impact of that, you may consider donating to environmental organizations and/or investing in alternative energy research efforts.
Everyone knows driving creates carbon dioxide and other pollutants. There are many sites dedicated to helping you be more efficient, called hypermiling. Some of the easiest tips we use daily: take stuff out of your car (less weight), be easy on acceleration, leave plenty of space, and go by the maxim: if you have to brake, you made a mistake (coast as much as possible). Driving a fuel efficient car like our Honda Civic Hybrid also helps.
Beer Production & Transport
Drink draft beer produced by a local brewery. Simple, done! Making bottles and cans takes more energy than kegs. Shipping beer any distance also requires energy. Getting pints at the brewery itself is the best way to minimize your beer-carbon-footprint. Again, we keep growlers in our car so we can bring beer back from the brewery without needing bottles or cans. It doesn’t last as long as bottles or cans do, but it’s another small step that may add up.
Hopefully you already know you don’t need turndown service daily. We only get maid service when we are staying somewhere for several weeks, and then we do it once a week, mostly to clear out the garbage. If you’re staying for just a few days, put the Do Not Disturb sign on your door. Save on cleaning, new towels, etc. etc. If you need more coffee, ask for it at the front desk. We try to mitigate this by filling our reusable coffee cup at the coffee station most hotels have in the lobby. This cuts down on the packaging waste of making it in your room.
Obviously travel requires energy from the planet and degrades the environment. Ideally, no one would travel for leisure or work. We get a lot of satisfaction from traveling, though, but as we do so we understand we are slowly destroying the planet. Hopefully in the future technology will be better so we don’t cause so much environmental degradation. In the meantime, we try to mitigate our impact and encourage you to do so, as well.