Is Sustainable Travel Possible?
Hello and Happy New Year beautiful people! I’ve missed you! Before the holidays we took a trip to Argentina for my husband’s birthday. Today I write about how we reconcile our passion for travel with our sustainable-living goals.
I’ve learned that traveling by airplane is devastatingly unsustainable… Especially if it is not the only heavy-footprint activity in a given year… And especially if the trip is as far away as Bali (read more about what I learned in Bali, my favorite place), or Argentina.
In addition to being devastatingly unsustainable, traveling is one of the activities that my husband and I value most in our lives. It has introduced us to catalysts for substantial growth, repeatedly… dare I say every time?!!!! Many of my most vivid instances of “remembering” and reconnection with nature happen abroad. Traveling is an activity we are always sacrificing for, and identifying with. What would it mean to give it up? I did consider doing that…
Many sustainable-living experts have done the math, identifying precise consumption parameters. I’ve read arguments that sustainable-living means:
- Living off approximately $5,000-10,000/year/person, in North America
- Growing our own food and bartering for the items our households are missing
- Eating a low impact diet (vegan or vegetarian… I argue that omnivore is possible… read more)
- Not using a car for transportation, nor airplane for travel
- Having one or fewer children per household
However convincing, these arguments elicit a response, in me, that I call “The Yikes Factor” (refer to picture above for an accurate visual). I feel overwhelmed. I feel that this change is inaccessible to me, given the financial and emotional demands of every day life. I feel terrified. This response is certainly not universal, as many have courageously followed a similar recipe for sustainable-living. To them, I give my utmost respect and awe. For the remaining pupils in sustainable-living curriculum, I fear that the “The Yikes Factor” may cause a complete system shut-down. My worst fear is that many will not even begin the process of sustainable-living transition, anticipating that the goal is far too daunting. In my first speech for Biocadence, I identified 5 key principles for sustainable living adjustment. 1: Behavioral sustainability. 2: Baby steps. 3: ID Model (Impact/Disturbance). 4: Give up the guilt, and 5: Find joy in the process.
The over-consumption recovery movement is focused on increasing quality of life through the sustainable-living process. It incorporates ecological sustainability as one of the many factors in lifestyle-design. We believe that we can shape our experience through positive thinking, devoted working, and conscious playing. In an effort to facilitate recollection of humanity in harmony with nature, we implement environmental sustainability as one measure of deliberate decision-making. Taking baby-steps, and incorporating additional challenges only when we’ve mastered the last, helps to ensure that our sustainable-living transition is behaviorally sustainable.
Amongst the many sustainable-living adjustments available to us, our household has prioritized those that are most accessible on the Biocadence ID Model scale – those that are both high impact and low disturbance. Sacrificing travel would be a MASSIVE-impact/MASSIVE-disturbance adjustment for us. Will we ever make this sacrifice? I do not think so. When I dig deep, intent on honest reflection, I see us sacrificing everything else ahead of travel. We will ensure that this highly consumptive activity is as saturated with intention as possible, by maximizing our time, sharing our experience, and learning about how distinct cultures relate to environmental sustainability. We will not travel eyes-and-hearts closed, ignoring our impact. To the contrary, we will practice conscious understanding of the “what” and the “why” of our travel. It will fuel our motivation to derive value from every single moment.
Thanks for reading! We would love to hear about how you relate to travel re: your own sustainable-living transition!
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