I recently came back from a long weekend near Calais, in France.
We hiked in some luscious hills, a beautiful forest full of purple bells and of course, near the coast where the cliffs meet the sea (mirroring quite nicely the famous white cliffs of Dover).
Despite it being quite foggy, making us unable to actually see the English coast (shame), it was quite obvious that we were on the closest point to the UK, with the roads full of the right-hand drivers and the city full of 'english pubs'.
In fact, even in the 'shopping and entertainment' section of the Calais tourism brochure, a trip to 'just spend a few hours in the streets of London' is advertised. And there are multiple choices to cross the channel, with the entrance to the eurotunnel there as well as the many ferries. Many, many ferries. We checked the timetable, and there was at least one ferry per hour, and at peak times even more frequent.
My sustainability mind kicked in, and I was left to wonder: all of these ferries - how are they impacting the environment around?
My friend and travel companion, who happened to be a mechanical engineer, couldn't help but calculating not only the fuel consumed daily but also how often should the engines be maintained or even replaced. The figures he came up with were staggering, I cannot recall exactly, but it was shocking. In my case, as a marine biologist, I couldn't help but thinking of the wildlife. In primis about the pollution they create, all of the fumes and discharges from the engines, but secondly - about all of the noise that they must be making underwater...
Now, you might think that noise is nothing in comparison to pollution, but I would like to explain how much noise can be impacting the marine environment
The other day I found myself looking at the reduced section in the shop and exulting when seeing the ‘seepie’ soap nuts - I was always curious about using them! Yes, they are expensive, but it claims to be such an environmentally friendly way of washing your clothes. I knew very little about them, I somewhat only knew what it claimed to be but the reduced price made it quickly end up in my shopping basket!
'Alarm bells ringing...'
Do you love travelling? Is the idea that you can just hop on a plane on a grey rainy cold day and in a few hours being in a lush green island very alluring ? Join the club!
If like me you love travelling and try to make it as sustainable as possible, then apart from reducing the impact of flying , you should also consider that you don’t travel alone but bring a whole variety of things around without thinking , from bacteria and viruses to larvae and eggs. This means that you can be a vehicle for invasive species to hop on and off between grey rainy countries and luscious green islands (aren’t they lucky to get a free trip !?).
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