the sustainable athlete how to travel sustainably

Travelling is a large part of any athlete’s life, whether it’s driving to training or flying overseas for races. All athletes need to get around in a quick and convenient manner which, unfortunately, comes at a devastating cost to the environment. Here are some eco-friendly tips and tricks that will enable you to travel in a more sustainable fashion.

Making your commute to training more sustainable

Up to 75% of urban air pollution is caused by motor vehicle fuel combustion and so it is imperative that we all adopt an eco-friendlier means of travelling to training.

Choose to cycle, run or walk

Incorporate physical activity into your journeys and use them as chance to warmup before arriving at the training facility.

Use public transport

If your destination is too far to cycle, run or walk then take the train or the bus. Public transport is a more sustainable means of travel due to its fuel efficiency and ability to transport a large number of people.

Foster carpooling

In instances when an alternative mode of transport is not possible, arrange a car share rota with your training partners. This will go a long way towards getting more cars off the road.

Making your overseas travel more sustainable

From 2000 to 2015, the amount of people travelling the world has almost doubled. Now nearly 1.2billion people a year board an international flight which makes the travel and tourism industry account for 10.2% of the global GDP.

Embrace slow travel

Choosing a slower method of transport, such as a ferry, is far more sustainable than flying overseas.

Invest in carbon offset programs

If flying is unavoidable, another means of reducing your flying footprint is to take advantage of a carbon offset program. By giving passengers the option to invest in carbon reduction projects, the programme helps to neutralise or reduce their carbon footprint caused by travel.

The projects may restore or protect forests, develop renewable energy or increase energy efficiency and some bring social benefits to the local communities involved. The most effective of these projects are those that reduce fossil fuel energy consumption through energy efficiencies, replace fossil-fuel based energy with low- or zero-carbon renewable energy, and reduce fossil and other fuel emissions through cleaner energy production.

Use airlines are working to improve their eco credential

Airfrance-KLM and easy jet are amongst those who are making the effort to moderate their fuel usage and adjust their wingtip design to reduce noise and increase efficiency. Cathay Pacific is especially progressive in its approach which includes fleet modernisation, electric vehicle trials, and managing air traffic to avoid lengthy and fuel intensive antisocial circling.

Fly non-stop

Avoiding changeovers will minimise the excess emissions caused by landing and take-off.

Stay in a sustainable accommodation establishment

Look for certified accommodation providers approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). The GSTC provides a set of minimum requirements that a tourism business must aspire to for approval; including protecting and sustaining natural and cultural resources, maximising social and economic benefits for the local community, and encouraging cultural heritage.

Travelling is an inevitable part of every athlete’s life but that doesn’t mean you can’t make an effort to decrease the impact that your journeys have on the environment. Next time you are booking a flight or are about to turn the key in your car’s ignition, think about the environmental impact that the journey will have on the planet and consider how you can best reduce your carbon footprint.

About the author: Laura Smith is an accomplished athlete and university graduate. She has been a Sundried ambassador since 2017.

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