As the pages fall from the calendar and time spins inexorably on, it is amazing to think just how close we are to the month of June. Genuinely, it seems like time speeds up the longer it goes on – although the reason for this is more to do with us having lived longer, so each day will seem comparatively shorter as we move along our own personal time lines. Regardless of this, though, the closeness of June means that we are moving steadily towards the time for summer holidays. Every year the summer months see people in their droves heading for some far off destination for a little bit of rest and recreation. But for the environmentalists among us, is there a danger that the conflict between our desire to have fun and our desire to stay true to our morals could spoil it all for us?
Looking at it another way, are we as people doing enough to protect the planet that we have, particularly when it comes to traveling to another part of it? Holidays are important. We work all the year around to feed and clothe ourselves and our families, and in order to be able to do it all over again we need that release which only a holiday can bring. Balancing this holiday with our environmentalist concerns, though, is never the easiest task. The reasons for this are more complex than just wanting to jump on a ‘plane and feeling that we cannot – although, of course, that does play a part for many of us.
Holidaying serves a necessary purpose – allowing us to relax. For many, this gets in the way of having a truly green holiday. In order to really let go of the stresses and strains of a working life, some of us need to put as much distance between ourselves and our place of work. This will, naturally, impact upon the environment more than a cycling holiday in a neighbouring state. How can we not feel guilty about that? It’s easy to say “just don’t fly”. But how realistic is it?
Once we get to the point where we are putting ourselves under immense pressure and personal guilt for having a natural impulse, we are not helping ourselves. Taking a more realistic, even compromised, position so that you get the holiday you want without doing excessive damage to the environment does not make you a monster. There is a lot you can do to offset environmental damage, all the more so if you look at greener airlines who will allow you to fly where you want to go while still doing what you can to lessen the environmental impact.
Many airlines these days are practising more realistic policies on fuel use by changing the way they fly, and performing better and more maintenance on the aircraft to stop emissions as well as making the flight more efficient. Changing where you go on holiday is something you can do to help the environment, but looking at where else you can make compromises is something that enables you to have some more freedom of choice.
To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Thegreenlivingblog.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on May 29, 2009.