3 Affordable Ethical Holidays You Can Take This Year To Keep Your Conscience (Kind Of) Clean
The Debrief: You're never going to be able to travel without a carbon footprint but there are things you can do to help
Ethical living (or pretending to live ethically) is back in a big way. Remember when were were in school a fair few years back and everyone started panicking about pollution, that big hole in the ozone layer over Australia, buying things fair trade and using bags for life? Sure, everyone got on board with that, and then we kind of just... stopped. Sure we still recycled, occasionally observed #meatfreemonday and stuck to purchasing free range eggs but for the larger part, ethical living exited the collective conscience of the nation. While brave activists, charities and government lobbyists desparately tried to get us to sit up and notice that our living habits essentially meant we were taking a big old dump all over the world, we went back to consuming food in ever increasing amounts of packaging (Whole Foods and your pre-peeled oranges we're looking at you) and flying all over the world, low-cost airline tickets in hand.
Now though, 'ethical' living has become fashionable (gross word, sorry) again. From 2009 to 2013, the number of vegans in the US doubled to 2.5% of the population and in the UK alone, Google searches for 'veganism' have more than doubled in the past year thanks to celebrity fans like Beyonce and documentaries like Cowspiracy.
The benefits of an ethical holiday
Ethical clothes too have become a buzzword for 'cool'. Last week, ASOS announced that they were launching the ASOS Eco Edit; a selection of over 40 sustainable brands. H&M's Conscious Collection used more sustainable materials than ever before last year.
In terms of the environment, you'll obviously be aware of the introduction of the 5p bag law which has, according to mind-blowing reports, decreased plastic bag use by 80% and, on the 22nd of April this year, 130 countries are expected to sign an agreement that promises, from 2020, to limit temperature increase to 1.5° celsius although there have been concerns that the agreement isn't hardline enough.
Of course, in the long run, ethical living for trend-led reasons isn't enough to change the world and, like most fads, its bubble might soon burst.
However, that doesn't mean you can't take it seriously. And that includes extending it to your holidays. Here's a few ethical-thinking breaks you can go on.
Ethical Holiday destinations
This Croatian island, adopted by the creators of Unknown Festival last year is the first of it's kind. Located 6km off Sibenik (about an hour and a half away from Split), the custodians of this Balkan paradise are 'committed to developing its ethos as a responsible, 21st Century forward-thinking integrated business.' They've invested in the biodiversity of the land and surrounding sea and come up with a 45 year development plan. All food comes from local sources, artwork that draws attention to ecological issues, the accomodation has been designed with local architects and, this year supports The Love Support Unite Volunteer Africa Foundation which helps created sustainable schools and businesses in Malawi.
On the fun side, there's music and DJ sets from big name artists, a wellbeing centre, a cinema, star gazing sessions, workshops and talks... Oh, and you can literally stay there from £58 a night which, if you start looking at hotels elsewhere, is kind of A-OK when you consider that flights to Split can be nabbed for £49 return. Long weekend anyone?
Find out more information here.
Cost: £224 for three days.
Want to spend your holiday volunteering but don't really know where to start? Get yourself to the eco village of Karibuni in Western Kenya and you're golden. The expensive part is flight to Nairobi. Which can be done for £350 return. But, when you're there, if you're volunteering, it's just £15 a night to stay in one of the village's eco mud cottages. There's a restaurant on site, with local and Western dishes, electricity, showers, internet etc. If you're volunteering, you'll be working with Team Kenya, a charity that seeks to empower and educate Kenya women and girls. They currently give support to 3360 local girls through school scholarships, furthering the gender equality discussion and developing susainable economies. Volunteering opportunities involve teaching and labouring on eco projects.
Find out more here.
3. Eco Cottages
There's plenty to choose from if you look hard enough. This one in Brittany in France was on Grand Designs so if you're as nerdy as me you'll remember the eco process it went through when it was built. It's £600-1000 a week depending on time of year but, because it sleeps six, it won't ever be more than £166 per person, per week - all energy comes from solar panels and the toilets are powered by dry Swedish technology (they're basically composting toilets).
This Catalonian eco villa sleeps 7 and is no more than £1203 a week (£171 each, £24 a night).
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