Home » 7billiondreams: make your pledge for World Environment Day

7billiondreams: make your pledge for World Environment Day

written by Intrepid Travel June 5, 2015

There’s an old African proverb that goes something like this: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, you’ve never spent the night with a mosquito.”

It’s the thinking behind World Environment Day’s latest initiative, 7billiondreams. Make small incremental changes to your lifestyle – cycling to work, going vegetarian for a week, using tap instead of bottled water – and multiply that effort 7 billion times, once for every man woman and child on the planet. It’s called consuming with care, and when we heard about it we jumped on board right away.

Image Aurimas, Flickr

Image Aurimas, Flickr

Intrepid has always done things a little differently when it comes to travel. Right from the start we said we wanted to be a responsible business, to leave the world in a better state than we found it and give back to the communities visited on our travels. To that end we offset all the carbon emissions from our trips and offices. We signed up to the UN Global Compact, which means our policies and practices align with UN guidelines on things like environmental protection and animal welfare. We also set up our own not-for-profit, The Intrepid Foundation, to support grassroots community projects around the world.

It’s been predicted that if we keep consuming at our current rate, by 2050 we’ll need three planets to sustain us. But there are still things each of us can do to give our planet, the only one we’ve got, a hand. They’re not big, earthshattering, or dramatic, but their effects can be. Here are a few ways you can consume with care.

Go vegetarian once a week

It’s no secret anymore, eating animals isn’t particularly good for the environment. Livestock by-products and their transport account for 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Meat production and grazing now covers over 45% of the earth’s total land, and it takes about 20 times less land to feed someone on a vegetarian diet. Going meatless for just one day every week can make a massive difference. Over a year you’ll cut your carbon emissions by about as much as not driving your car for a month.

Rethink bottled water

Bottled water is between 300 and 2000 times more expensive than tap water. It’s such a ludicrously large discrepancy you have to wonder why anyone buys it at all. Most of the tap water in the developed world is fine to drink, but we persist in drinking the bottled kind, even though the amount of water taken to make one bottle is three times the volume within it. Switch to a re-useable canteen or drink bottle. Your water will stay cooler, and you’ll be making a world of difference. 

Bike to work

When you cycle to work, instead of driving, you’re saving the atmosphere about 250g of carbon per kilometre. That may not sound like much, but when you think that energy trapped by man-made global warming is now equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day 365 days a year, it suddenly seems very worthwhile. 

Cut down on waste

It’s been estimated that, in the western world at least, we waste about 1/5 of the produce we purchase. That’s like heading to the supermarket, buying four bags, then dropping one in the bin on the way home. It sounds crazy, but a huge proportion of what humanity raises and grows each day is just not being eaten. Cut down on waste by only buying what you need, recycling scraps in compost or a worm farm and freezing leftovers. Every meal counts.

Shop with a green bag

The biggest man-made thing in the world isn’t the Great Wall or the Suez Canal or anything like that. It’s an enormous mound of garbage in the Pacific Ocean. It’s about double the size of Texas, and a lot of it is made up of plastic bags. Shopping with a green bag can seem like an annoyance, an afterthought, a small token gesture, but if everyone on the planet turned their backs on plastic tomorrow, we’d live in a very different world.

Make your pledge and register your commitment at World Environment Day’s page here.

Feature image c/o David Denicolo, Flickr. Videos c/o Peg Leg Films and the United Nations Environmental Program

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2 comments

Maria carmen leaver June 5, 2015 - 7:28 pm

Are you really concern with fair trade? I traveled with you in morocco last April and was decepointed to have to eat my lunch in a big carpet shop and have to listen the selling job the owner and his acolytes dispensed on us instead of visiting a handicap association as was indicated in the planning.

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James Shackell June 15, 2015 - 9:00 am

Hi Maria,

We’re sorry you didn’t enjoy your experience with us. Would you mind getting in touch and giving us a few details so we can get to the bottom of it? Just email blog@intrepidtravel.com and we’ll get back to you with some answers.

Cheers
James

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