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Dear Captain Planet Generation…we are failing

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Captain Planet….if you grew up in the 90’s you would remember him and the Planeteers (Kwame, Wheeler, Linka, Gi & Ma-Ti anybody?). These guys were the reason six year old me understood environmental disasters & devastating destruction long before I ever learnt it in school! We were the generation they were after, they were talking to us – we were going to be the ones to turn it all around.

Except…Did you know that since 1993, we have lost an area of ‘unspoilt’ places twice the size of Alaska? Or that humans have destroyed a tenth of Earth’s remaining wilderness in the last 25 years?

With ecosystems being lost there is no ability to reverse the damage and although there is still approximately 30m sq. km of wilderness across the globe, that only equates to 23% of the world’s land mass. In saying that a large portion of this is Australia’s deserts and western woodlands.

For those of us in Australia, our environmental movement really hit its peak in the eighties and the Australian Labor Party began capitalising on national conservation and soil conservation.

We are incredibly fortunate in that Australia has over 6000 Landcare and Coastcare groups nationwide. We are respectful of climate change, sustainability, animal protection and of course environmental care as a whole.

As we continue to experience the effects of the damage we have caused to our beautiful planet, a sustainable economy is more important than ever. We need to live within our means and try to use natural assets rather than depleting them and work to bring pollution to a level that our environment can actually handle, rather than damage it beyond repair.

Sadly, Australia is surprisingly one of the lease sustainable countries in the world. The AEGN confirmed that we as a nation have an ecological footprint which is 2.8 times the work average & our carbon emissions are four times the world average.

So how do we, as Generation Y try to give back to the environment which is home? How do we respect and care for all of the beautiful places which has given us land, rain, clean water, incredible ecosystems, animals, fresh air and healthy oceans (AEGN, 2018)?

Our oceans have the highest marine biodiversity in the world and our native plants and animals are found only here, in Australia. Along without carbon footprint and carbon emissions we have the highest rate of animal extinction and our extreme and dangerous weather events are increasing each year. Whilst there is natural attrition, we humans are responsible for almost all of the damage.

The AEGN is working hard to provide marine sanctuaries, to stop large-scale land clearing, to set up wind and solar farms and provide education around climate change, to protect biodiversity and restore land and to advocate for the proper use and protection of our fresh water supplies. We rely on grants and groups to get this done. So how can you help? Well, have a look at the following tips which I either follow or will begin following and see how you go. I would also love to hear what you do, let’s be the generation Captain Planet thought we would be and step up to the challenge of protecting Earth for the next generation.

  • Walk & bike to local destinations, rather than taking your car
  • Use a refillable water bottle and avoid buying/using plastic water bottles. Did you know that there are 370 million bottles going to waste every year & that these will take over 400 years to break down (ProAcqua, 2014). Australia’s use of bottled water generates 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year!
  • Dry your clothes using a clothes-horse or clothesline instead of using your dryer (these bad boys are one of the biggest energy-sucking appliances in your home).
  • Use a keep-cup for your coffee (it is estimated that Australians use 1 billion disposable coffee cups each year. That’s 2.7 million paper cups thrown out every day! (University of Melbourne, 2018).
  • Use reusable bags when you do your groceries (Greenpeace found that Australians use over 9.7 billion single-use plastic bags annually) (Greenpeace, 2017).
  • Use cold water for your washing machine
  • Unplug your electronics at night to stop them using electricity
  • Use digital documents and avoid print-outs
  • RECYCLE, recycle, recycle (the average Australian produces 1.5 tonnes of waste per year and much of this is avoidable!) (Greenpeace, 2014).
  • Buy products with the Energy Rating which is high, this is a mandatory scheme for most appliances and the higher the star-rating the better the appliance (Australian Government, 2013).
  • Adopt a water conservation strategy (fix your taps, use a water-saving shower head, keep your tap water in a bottle in the fridge, use your washing machine when you have a full load and on cold, install a water tank, don’t overwater your lawn etc.,) (Nature Australia, 2018).

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post. I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

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Australia

My tips for eco-Friendly travel in 2018

In 2018, it would be near-impossible to act as though you were unawares of the environmental damage we all cause from not only every day life, but in travel. Travel has so many wonderful rewards not only for yourself, but for the world. It increased tourism, throws money into the economy and teaches us the important of awareness and social action around the world.

pexels-photo-346885.jpegOn the other hands, we are all leaving our carbon footprint, the cost of planes, hotels, plastics and packaging, and the equivalent of human wear + tear, wherever we go. We have a lot to be responsible for. There are some people out there who have decided to no longer travel by plane, unfortunately this just is not an option for those of us in Australia. We are simply too far away from anything to not use planes.

Thankfully there are eco-friendly travel practices in place, some of which we can use in everyday life. TripAdvisor conducted a survey where it was found that nearly tw-thirds of travellers do intent to make more environmentally sound choices moving forward.

There are the more simple items, which (hopefully) we have all been practicing for some time. You can turn lights/fans/air conditioners off whenever you are not using them. Re-use your linen and towels, recycle where you can etc., What else can we do? How can we make a bigger impact? Here are my best tips.IMG_9876

Strap on those walking shoes. 

Where possible, explore your destination on foot. Not only will you discover other places, but you will be keeping yourself fit and helping the environment. Rather than taking taxis’, try the public transport system to get around. Every little bit helps, seriously.

Plastics & Papers

Did you know that there is not a single piece of plastic which has ever been made (ever, n history) which has decomposed as yet? Rather than buying and using several bottles a day – buy a reusable water and refill it where you can. Not all countries have drinkable water, so this is not always an option, but where you can, give it a shot!

pexels-photo-580871.jpegDon’t be a litter-bug

Look, I am sure you don’t litter. However, some people do and we can’t really change the minds of people who already disrespect our beautiful earth. We can however, make sure that we take nothing which was there before we got there, and leave nothing which came with us. If you can’t find a bin – that doesn’t mean Mother Earth should have tp cop your garbage. Take it with you until you can find a bin. While you’re at it – pick up any rubbish you see lying around. Every little thing you do for the environment helps!

Low-carbon activities

My favourite travel activity is photography, thankfully it leaves very little of an environmental impact. Activities set in nature and wich are low-carbon are not only good for you,  but good for the Earth!

IMG_4659Be Culturally aware

It is so important to just throw yourself into the social norms and customs of where you go. Live like the locals do and enjoy every minute!

Choosing places to stay

You can research places which are environmentally conscious. Pick a place which is locally owned, hires local people, have a recycling program? Does it encourage the reuse of towels and sheets? Are there energy efficient lighting or alternative energy sources? Make sure you play your part in conserving energy. Treat it like your own home. I know sometimes it is easy to get swept up in the “it’s not my place, so I am not paying for it” with “it” being air conditioning and electricity. Well, no – technically you are not paying for it, but our environment is!

If we all play our part and try to be as green as we can, we can all positively impact our  the environment around us.

IMG_6037If you would like to see how ‘green’ you are, Go Green and Travel Green .com have a quiz here Shades of Green Travel. (I was a Greener/Kelly Green traveler!).

Do you have any travel tips?

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see!

Please note, I am not paid any sponsorships at all, I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

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