It's not easy being green when you're traveling to exotic scuba diving locations. But here are some tips to help you reduce your carbon footprint on your next dive vacation.
1. Choose an eco-friendly sunscreen. Before you hit the beach you slather on the sunscreen, right? Well, not just any sunscreen. A new study finds that the chemicals found in sunscreen are also killing off coral reefs worldwide by contributing to coral bleaching.
The study, published in the U.S. journal Environmental Health Perspectives, estimates up to 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen wash off ocean-goers each year. And, up to 10 percent of reefs are threatened by sunscreen-induced bleaching. The popular brands of sunscreen tested included four common ingredients: paraben, cinnamate, benzophenone and a camphor derivative.
What can you do? Although we know we need to address looming conservation problems threatening coral reefs, including pollution, overfishing and sedimentation, there are simple things that you can do as well.
There are many sunscreen options on the market now to choose from that are natural, organic, chemical-free and biodegradable. If you don't see one in your local market, a simple online search will reveal many top brands. Even if chemical sunscreens aren't banned at your favorite dive location, choosing a more organic option is one simple thing you can do to reduce your impact on coral.
For more information on what you can do to take action for coral conservation, visit www.projectaware.org.
2. Pack reusable totes. Try not to use plastic bags when traveling. Travel with an eco-friendly shopping bag. Use it in the airport, while shopping at your destination and, at the end of the trip, you can cram a week's worth of laundry into it.
3. Plan one conservation-related activity. Try and volunteer for conservation activities at the destination you will be traveling to. Most destinations have some kind of organization working to protect or conserve the environment and they always need help. This would be especially helpful if made part of group travel arrangements. Give something back to the community while visiting areas of the world.
4. Travel by public transportation or carpool whenever possible. The carbon footprint is smaller, and is split up between all of the passengers. Even better, travel by or bicycle or consider walking, and experience the world at a pace that's more resonant with nature.
5. Save your recyclables. Recycle them when you get home since recycling while on the road isn't usually an option.