Smaller Footprints, Greater Adventures

Smaller Footprints, Greater Adventures

July 13, 2020

Smaller Footprints, Greater Adventures

I think it’s safe to say this year has shaken up our daily lives, woken our passions, brought us closer together again (despite social distancing) and is re-shaping the way we are thinking about our future. (It’s also made us value our healthcare system and made us wonder who decided it was a good idea to have children…?!) A year ago, environmentalists were calling for drastic change – a shut-down of sorts – and we said “it’s impossible” but in the space of 6 months Mother Nature has shown who’s boss and shut us down herself. 

Hiking boots on cliff top

We may all have heard the story about the man walking along the beach, picking up starfish carried up the shore by the waves, and carefully flinging them back into the ocean. A passer-by asked the man what he was doing… and the man explained that he was throwing the stranded starfish back into the ocean before they dried up in the sun while the tide was out. The man replied, “But sir, with hundreds of starfish over miles of beach - you’ll never save them all – what difference will you make?” … the man smiled, bent down and gently picked up another starfish, looked at it and flung it into the frothy waves… “It made a difference to that one” he said. 

And that my friends – is the point. Whether it be social service, kindness… or taking out the trash. Every little bit matters, and every effort counts. 

We see the news on the masses of waste the world continues to create and dump. The shocking numbers and statistics blow our minds… We shake our heads in anger and disbelief - at the images of animals dying in plastic, and of the slums in India built on the world’s refuse. And then we order our coffees and carry on with our lives, because surely we’ve earned a break and the little waste we create on holiday isn’t earth-shattering? Just one take-away coffee cup… Said 6.5 billion people… 

So what’s the deal? Well… we definitely want to enjoy our holidays and forget the worries of the world while on vacation. But don’t we also want a holiday destination to remain the pristine, idyllic location we came to see? There’s no point in having holiday time but having to spend it in trashed locations where the ocean regurgitates the plastic left behind by previous holidaymakers. Where landfills are spewing smelly remnants of last Christmas, and where the fish market has had to shut down. 

Luckily this doesn’t mean your holidays are forever ruined. Change can be simple – it’s not just a war on plastic – there are all sorts of things you can do to fight back, and still enjoy a relaxing holiday! Promise we’ll keep the cocktails coming – just promise you’ll eat the fruit too! 

According to the United Nations Environment Program, an estimated 4.8 million tonnes (which makes up 14% of all solid waste) is produced solely by tourists in the world every year. To put that into perspective… that’s equivalent to the weight of 24 thousand blue whales or more than 1,2 million elephants tipped into the world’s landfills and oceans by the tourism sector alone… (We don’t even HAVE 1,2 million elephants on our entire planet!)

So… if you’ve always considered yourself a 1st Class Citizen and you fancy a challenge to go a step further: Here are 10 Ways you can be a 1st Class “Green” Tourist (we’ll even want you back!) 

Beach clean at Polkerris Beach

1. Buy local.

Support local artisans and boutique shops if you’re thinking of taking home a souvenir – they sure would appreciate and benefit from your custom! (So… uuuh… sir… please put down that “Made in China” magnet… You can do better than that! This way please…) 

2. Eat Green.

From Cornwall’s Hevva Cake, Cream Tea and those (extra) buttery Fairings, your Cornish pasty or fresh-out-the-ocean pilchards’ lunch, to your crackers and “Yarg”, all washed down with a healthy serving of Mead or Blackberry Wine… eating green never tasted better! Not only will eating local benefit the local environment – eating green means eating fresh – which is healthier and will save on waste too. It’s a win-win all around for sure! 

3. Stay local.

If you have the pleasure of staying the night in our little piece of heaven – consider one of our carefully selected accommodation options for a quaint and cosy stay after a day’s exploring, and support the Cornish to ensure large hotel chains don’t spoil the beautiful landscape. 

4. Support local.

From our tours, to boutique shops and local excursions – if it’s not us, choose another local company that employs local Cornish people for the best opportunity to experience real Cornwall and to ensure your contribution serves the local community. 

5. Take responsibility for your waste.

Use the correct bins to ensure your trash is recycled wherever possible. If you do it at home because you love your home, please continue to do it on holiday – because we love our home! 

6. Slow down, smell the roses.

The way you travel has a huge environmental impact – and although you may not be flying into Cornwall – you would contribute less to the greenhouse gas emissions if you travelled by train rather than driving. The bonus of this is you would get to sit back and take in the scenery – and having us collect you from the station means you don’t even have parking or taxis to worry about. 

7. Think before booking.

Does the activity have a positive impact on the environment? Does it involve unfair treatment of animals? Does it interfere with the local wildlife? Is it sustainable (will it uphold a positive impact or leave a negative mark?) Does the tour operator employ locals or give back to the community in some way? Is there perhaps a more eco-friendly alternative? 

8. Drink responsibly.

And we’re not just talking quantity here (we’re not counting *wink-wink*). But we will be counting the plastic bottles and soda cans you leave behind if you don’t pay attention to what your drink comes in. Choose paper cups for picnics and order drinks in a glass straight out the keg – you’re on holiday – sit down, relax, and enjoy our Cornish vibe! 

9. Waste not. Want not.

Order sensibly and with intention. If you’re trying something you’re not sure you’ll like – order kids size or share a portion first (we’ll make sure there’s seconds to be had!) so as not to waste food. The equivalent of 1.3 billion meals are wasted every year through edible (unspoiled) food waste in the UK every year. To put that number in perspective… that would feed every single human alive on the entire continent of Africa one meal… Yep, you may have to re-read this a few times to let it sink in! 

10. Leave only footprints.

Aha – those awful heart-with-arrow-and-initials etched into the sides of trees, cliffs and historical buildings is SO not cool (was it ever??) And although they have stood the test of time – the beauty and essence of the location has been marred forever. Leave your footprints – maybe even your heart – but please, take your trash …and your photographs with you. 

Until the next time...

Liesel Verster 
Social Impact Influencer 
“The Anti-Average Life Podcast”

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