Climate change: there is no doubt it is happening. As a traveler you may have had chances to confront its effects in more than one part of the world.
What can you do about climate change? What should you do?
There’s no shortage fo advice about practical ideas, which may or may not fit your circumstances.
What about the ideas that will help you choose among these many choices? Ideas that will guide you in integrating the ever shifting news and ideas about climate change into your travel, and perhaps other areas of your life?
I’ve been thinking about this a good bit, most recently as I watched the walk and heard the haunting music that accompanied the ten metre/nealry 33 foot tall puppet called Storm as she made her way through the streets of Glasgow.
She is made entirely of recycled materials, and her walk was the beginning of Coastal Connections Day at the Celtic Connections Festival, one of the early events in Scotland’s year long celebration of coasts and waters.
For part of her walk, the streets were almost empty, few folk going about their Saturday morning at the shops, and now and then one of the shop keepers, who clearly knew to expect Storm’s walk, stepping out to see if she’d turned the corner up the street. Then, she did — and many who were in the midst of their morning errands were surprised, some shocked, some intrigued, even those who had anticipated her arrival finding things not quite what they had expected.
All of which struck me as filled with metaphor for approaches to climate change in wide context.
As travelers, we are on aware side of climate change, often seeing its effects in different parts of the world. It is happening.
Here are three practical suggestions for day to day changes, and three ideas for thinking about travel and climate which may help guide decisions large and small which you make about your decisions on travel and perhaps, other areas of life as well.
The practical ideas:
Consider your food and drink choices. Plant based diets are more climate friendly than meat based ones. Eating food that is produced near where you are helps, if it is food that is in season. Eating locally and seasonally, and exploring the world of vegetables, fruits and grains, are thing you can do for one meal a month, a week, or a day, or as a larger change.
Rest. Rest may seem an outlier in having anything to with addressing climate change. It does, though: you’ll know yourself that you make better decisions when you are well rested. Addressing climate change is about choice, about problem solving, about dealing with changing situations, and taking in loads of information, some of it conflicting. It is also about paying attention. At home or on the road, you handle all these best with the clarity that comes with being rested.
Support. You may already know of people and organizations who are doing work about climate which resonate with you. Perhaps it’s a farmer who uses sustainable practices. Maybe it’s the work of a photographer who illuminates humanity across the globe. Could be it’s an organization that works to assure clean water resources to underserved areas . Maybe it’s a scholar who puts climate change in historical context. Perhaps it’s your neighbor who encourages you to recycle. Maybe it is something else, someone else. How could you support their work? Perhaps by telling others about their work and ideas, and why you like them? Maybe by donating finances, or time, or skills? What other creative ways?
Three guidance ideas: long term ways to think about climate change and travel which will help guide your day to day decisions
Travel with intention. You are reading an article about climate change in a publication called Perceptive Travel, so it is likely you already travel with intention. Take a moment to refresh those intentions; perhaps make a plan to do so on a regular basis. Whether your reasons for travel include work, family, recreation, or some combinations of these, or something else entirely, part of your work and your pleasure as a traveler is to understand and to be understood, to bring connection. It is an open ended situation, to be sure. Add to it the open ended question of how your intentional travel connects with our shared understanding of changes in climate.
Which leads to…
Learn. Educate yourself about the challenges of climate change. Read widely. Among the wealth of information available on line, in print, through film and broadcast, also read specifically.
Choose a subject or a country, a region, an issue to focus your explorations, to learn about in depth. One good place to begin is the book There Is No Planet B. It’s a book with framed in brief questions and answers which conveys loads of information in non jargon ways. The author is professor at Lancaster University’s Lancaster Environment Centre, in the UK who studies the future. Another resource is Goodnet, which as its mission stement says, is meant to connect people with opportunities for doing good.
Savour. One of the great things about travel is that you are always learning, even when you are not that aware of it. Make plans to savour and reflect on what you have learned, and what you are learning. This is one planet, and we are all on it together.
How many ways can you use your learning, experience, and love of travel to work with the issues of climate change?
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