Let’s be honest, in the past, I have not been the most conservation savvy person. I recycled sometimes, but not often. I wasn’t the best at saving water or turning the lights off. Sure, I felt a concern for the Earth and its preservation, but conservation just really didn’t really resonate with me. To be honest (and I’m ashamed to admit it), but it sounded hard. Some of my travel experiences really changed my focus and made me realize that conservation doesn’t have to be done in big, grand ways and that there are some super easy ways to conserve more while traveling or at home. Just being aware of climate change, and the impact that we have our on earth and the environment is a great place to start!
I think when we stay in the comfort of our own home and hometown, it’s difficult to gain a global perspective. It can be hard to really see the impact that we humans have on the planet. Which is why we were so excited to partner with The Nature Conservancy. You can learn more about their free downloadable guide, Let’s Talk Climate! Here are a few travel experiences that opened my eyes to conservation and made conservation more of a priority for me.
Experiences in My Travels that Have Taught me I Need to Conserve More
Costa Rica and “Pura Vida”
My family and I visited the Cloud Rainforest in Costa Rica and man, it was spectacular! While I thought the Rainforest was freaking awesome, I failed to realize how the rainforest directly impacted me. Did you know that more the 20 percent of the world’s oxygen comes from the Amazon Rainforest? WHAT? I don’t know about you, but I personally don’t want to run out of oxygen. Hearing that really put things into perspective for me. It’s no coincidence that the popular Costa Rican motto, “Pura Vida” translates to “pure life”.
Maui and My Hero Moment
I had always DREAMED of learning to scuba dive. That dream became a reality for me when we traveled to Maui in 2016. I took an intensive scuba diving course from a scuba expert stationed in Maui. I was instantly hooked! I thought it was the coolest, scariest, yet most relaxing experience. On our third open water dive EVER, our guide took us to a diving spot popular for seeing beautiful coral, colorful fish, sea turtles, and sharks. We saw everything we wanted to see but the thing that really stuck with me was an experience we had with an endangered sea turtle.
When we came closer to the sea turtle, we noticed it was nibbling on a plastic grocery bag that was floating far out in the ocean – yeah I know, NOT COOL. My dive instructor was able to remove the plastic bag before the turtle was able to eat much more of the bag choked and died. I felt like a hero (even though I really just watched the whole thing haha). Long story short, this experience taught me how important it is to be aware of my use of single-use plastics and the proper ways to recycle.
Click to check out our Maui Coloring page!
Africa and The Amazing Animals
Recently, we went on an African safari and boy, it was OUT OF THIS WORLD. Nothing gets the adrenaline going (or makes you want to poop your pants) quite like making eye contact and coming face to face with a full grown male lion. I saw how cool AND how important biology is, especially in the African bush. I really gained an appreciation and respect for how incredible, beautiful, and strong these African animals are. It also humbled me because basically everything in the African bush is capable of killing me. I also learned that poaching poses the biggest threat to animals in Africa. National Geographic estimates that 100,000 elephants were poached in Africa in just three years. We witnessed rhinos being relocated to a different area of the bush in order to avoid poaching.
Click to check out our Safari coloring page!
The Bahamas and The Beautiful Blue Water
When my family and I recently traveled to The Bahamas, we loved it more than we thought we would! It was some of the most beautiful and clear water I have ever seen. My most favorite day was when we went out on a boat excursion. We jumped into the water, snorkeled, and swam about. We saw the lobsters that the Bahamas are so famous for, so many sea turtles, colorful fish, and beautiful coral. We loved spending time in the clear, blue, shallow, warm and pristine water. Being in a place like that made me appreciate the beauty and purity of our planet. Most of all, it made me want to PRESERVE and CONSERVE that beauty and purity!
Click to check out our Bahamas coloring page!
(Click HERE for Spending the Perfect 5 Days in Nassau with Kids)
3 Super Simple Tips to Conserve More while Traveling or at Home that you can Start Doing TODAY!
Here’s the thing that I have learned… I don’t need to travel to Costa Rica, Hawaii, Africa, or The Bahamas to gain a perspective on how important conservation and understanding climate change is; although, we will totally help you out if you want to travel to those destinations! The bottom line is that small and simple changes can make a BIG difference and YOU and I can help make those changes. Here are some super easy ways to conserve more when traveling or at home and some tips on how to start the Climate Change Conversations. All of these tips have come from the fantastic Nature Conservancy!
TIP 1: Leave that “All or Nothing Mindset” Behind.
Let’s face it, neither you or I will probably save thousands elephants or acres of rainforest, but that is okay. We can still do our part. Instead, pick one specific thing you can do be a little more green. Don’t use plastic water bottles; instead, use a refillable one. Turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth, properly dispose of trash, use a metal straw instead of plastic or wear eco-friendly sunscreen to name a few. Get excited about it! Stick with it and don’t be too hard on yourself; you’re learning. The most important thing is that you try to be consistent. Just imagine if every single person changed one behavior – our combined efforts have the power to transform this planet of ours forever!
TIP 2: Be Mindful when Selecting Flights and Where you are Traveling!
Flying smarter is a great way to fight against climate change. Choose a destination closer to home. Plan a staycation and do something in your hometown you’ve never done before. Opt out of an airplane ticket and take a road trip. But I get it, if you are dying to go somewhere across the world, choose to reduce the number of layovers or stops to your destination. Even better, book a non-stop flight. A non-stop flight will save energy, time, effort, AND will help reduce the carbon footprint.
Tip 3: Start a Climate Conversation and Know the Facts
This can be REALLY intimidating and scary but The Nature Conservancy has put together a really great resource on how to start conversations with others on how to spread awareness regarding the climate and the impact that we have on it. What we love about this guide is that it is reasonable and isn’t pushy in any way. Some ideas that are offered are –
● Have the goal to have a conversation on Climate Change, and don’t try to prove your point in an argumentative way. Education and conversation is the best way to start.
● Meet others where they are. We are not the biggest conservationists and are certainly not super climate change savvy individuals. However, that is what makes these guides so fantastic. You don’t have to be an expert! Just being more aware and educated on the facts and on how to start an open dialogue regarding our climate is a fantastic way to spread awareness. We have also noticed that the more we talk about it, the more that we find ourselves trying to do more and make small changes to improve our own carbon footprint.
There are even more simple changes you can make that will have a big impact! Download The Everyday Sustainability Guide and the Let’s Talk Climate guide now! The Nature Conservancy’s guides offer education on how to understand and take easy-to-take-steps that are so good for our planet. We strongly suggest that everyone download these guides and start making simple changes to take better care of the plant. We promise you won’t regret it! Download the guide by entering your name and email to read the tips and get motivated to start now. Take the challenge with us to start improving ourselves — and our planet — before the year is up. We are so excited to do this with you! Let us know what steps you decide to take. Here is to saving the planet TOGETHER.