Green Travel Code
We’ve put together ten simple actions that you could take on your holiday to be a responsible traveller.
1. Travel sustainably. Public transport can be a great way to get around, and of course, exploring on foot or bicycle can be a wonderful way to see a new place. There are plenty of way marked walks and cycle routes to guide you through some of the country’s most scenic areas. Visit www.walkni.com or www.cycleni.com for details. If you’re flying, consider offsetting the carbon emissions of your flight.
2. When you’re packing your suitcase, think about how you can reduce your waste while you’re away from home. For example, bring rechargeable batteries, avoid disposable cameras and carry re-usable bags to avoid picking up more plastic carriers.
3. Take your rubbish with you. As well as being unsightly, litter can be dangerous for birds, farm animals and other wildlife. Plastic items are consistently the most common items collected during annual beach clean event ‘Beachwatch’. Plastic bags can end up in the sea and be accidentally swallowed by marine animals, especially turtles, resulting in starvation, poisoning and fatal stomach blockages.
4. Curb your energy use. It’s easy to reduce the amount of energy we use on holiday. For example, turn off electrical equipment at the switch instead of leaving on standby, switch off lights during the day and while you are out of the room and avoid washing towels and sheets every day.
5. When you’re at the sea side, teach children the seashore code...
a. think before you touch – be gentle and don’t keep something out of the water for too long.
b. don’t take anything home with you apart from your rubbish – an empty shell will make a great new home for a hermit crab
c. leave anything that is firmly attached to the rocks where it is.
6. Watch your step. To limit the effects of erosion, stay on designated trails where possible and walk in single file in the centre of the track. Try to place your footsteps on the least destructive locations such as rocks, gravel and bare ground rather than fragile terrain such as moss, seedlings and flowering plants. Leave gates as you find them (open or closed) and natural objects as they are. On the coast, take care not to walk through sand dunes which in general have fragile vegetation.
7. Respect farm animals and wildlife. Always watch or photograph animals from a distance to avoid startling them or forcing them to flee. Avoid quick movements and direct eye contact which can be interpreted as aggression. Don’t encircle, crowd, or attempt to pick up a wild animal. Do not feed wildlife as this damages animals’ health, alters natural behaviours and exposes them to predators. Notify the local land manager if you find an injured animal or one in trouble. When driving, reduce your speed on rural country roads and be patient with travelling livestock by pulling into the side of the road and stopping to let the animals pass by.
8. Non native species of plants and animals can cause major and irreversible changes to ecosystems by threatening native species over time. Help prevent the spread of invasive species by emptying and cleaning backpacks, tents, boats, fishing equipment, vehicles and other gear after every trip to ensure that you are not transporting flowers, weeds or soil.
9. Protect water sources. Soaps, toothpastes and detergents can affect the water quality of lakes and streams. Reduce the potential impact by minimising the use of soaps etc and washing at least 30 metres from shorelines which allows the soil to act as a filter.
10. Buy local goods. A major cause of carbon emissions worldwide is the transportation of goods around the world. So instead of buying groceries or gifts that may have already travelled thousands of miles, try and find a local farm shop or market to shop in. As well as reducing your carbon foot print and supporting local farmers and craftspeople you will be buying the freshest food and enjoying a truly authentic Northern Ireland experience.
If you are taking part in any outdoor activity in Norther Ireland, please remember to minimise your impact on the environment and follow the principles of Leave No Trace.