Lots of us spent time travelling over the Chinese New Year holidays. As an environmentalist, I am aware that I would produce 93.8kg of carbon emissions just by flying from Hong Kong to Taipei, which takes a tree four entire years to work off. Yet I am not going to let that ruin my holiday mood -- because I can compensate for that simply by eating less meat.
You heard me right. The math behind this is: by eating 3.5kg less beef, I will more than make up for my Taipei flight's carbon footprint. In case you haven't yet heard: the No.1 culprit of global warming is not the greenhouse gases coming from our cars, trains or planes. It's the livestock industry that supplies the meat on our dining plates. This is really bad news. But if you look at it with a positive attitude, it means we have the power to make a huge difference to the world just by making an informed choice of what to eat.
Here are a few practical tips to help you to put that into action:
1. Pre-order a veg meal for your flight. Airlines actually offer some of the broadest green dining options, from vegetarian, vegan, Asian veg, Hindu veg, raw vegan, through to fruit meals. You name it.
2. Go for veg gourmet at the airport. Green choices are available in over 40 restaurants. See what bloggers are saying on the Green Monday x Hong Kong International Airport food blog: http://hkia.greenmonday.org/
3. Support the green restaurants in your holiday destination. HappyCow.net is a global restaurant guide for vegetarians and vegans and they even have a mobile phone app! http://www.happycow.net/
Some additional tips that are not related to food:
- Choose an eco-friendly hotel. Search #Eco Hotel and #Green Hotel. If you are travelling to the EU, look for the EU Ecolabel. Eco hotels are not only equipped with advanced renewable energy and recycling systems, but they also promote the sustainable growth of the tourism industry. Most importantly, you will enjoy the immediate benefits of getting organic food in the hotel and a non-toxic bedroom.
- Rent an electric car. This new green tech produces nearly none of the usual pollutants in the exhaust gas coming out from conventional vehicles.