We all know that air travel isn’t great for the environment, but a new study has found that tourism is four times worse for the environment than previously thought. The alarming research conducted by University of Sydney researchers and published in the journal Nature Climate Change found that the tourism industry (including direct sources like flights and indirect sources such as souvenir manufacturing) is responsible for eight percent of global greenhouse emissions, which is four times higher than scientists had previously estimated.
The United States, China, and India have the three largest carbon footprints, but smaller, remote nations with large tourism industries (Maldives, Mauritius, Cypress, and the Seychelles) also make a big impact.
You’re not likely to stop traveling to save the world, but there are some things that you can do to reduce your effect on the environment when traveling:
- Opt for train travel over flying whenever possible
- Utilize public transportation (or walk) instead of a private taxi or car ride
- Make a conscious effort to use less plastic by carrying your own reusable bag and water bottle, as well as refusing plastic straws
- Eating locally grown food
- Use your airline’s carbon offset program, or make your own donation to offset your flight