Why I Refuse to Travel to “Insta” Destinations

Featured

Not just because I want to be more environmentally aware / active, but hype for no reason other than a few thousand Retweets and a couple comments suggesting it is “goals” is repelling. For those who know me personally, they will know I have a habit of commenting on most popular trends which have no explanation as to why they have become so widespread. Today, my chosen topic for scrutiny is viral travel destinations.

The admiration social media users have of travel hotspots has actually caused some issues. These problems are not Tweeted about so much…

Swamped Santorini

The prime example of a “Twitter Holiday” (not an official term, but one which fits the point) is Santorini. I was sick of seeing:

“Omg 😍 NEED to go”

“Me + my boo + this sunset = GOALS”

“I guess Heaven does exist…”

Well, something along those lines anyway. Over the past couple years, my timeline has been bombarded by ‘influencers’ who know how to provide a pretty aesthetic. The volume of content which contained videos of the, I must say beautiful, Santorini sunset over the distinct whitewashed buildings was surprisingly high. I say surprising because I found it to be slightly random. Why was everyone obsessing with Santorini all of a sudden?

Overwhelmed

Whatever caused the viral yearn for a week in Santorini, it has caused a huge spike in visitors to the island. From their perspective, it may have been seen as an opportunity to boost the economy. However, is the weight of pros heavier than its binary opposite? It does not seem so.

The small island has not been able to deal with this unexpected surge of tourism. Although it was already one of the most popular destinations in Greece, the number of tourists that visited in 2018 and 2019 was much higher than usual. According to Greek Travel Pages, Santorini saw more than 2 million visitors by the month of November. The island saw 1.7 million after the entirety of 2017. We are talking nearly half a million more visitors than the previous year. As a result of this, the island has put a cap on visitors to the island. Greek City Times picked up a remarkable statistic which tells you all you need to know. They mentioned that on some days, there were up to 18,000 visitors descending from cruise ships alone. There are approximately 15,000 people who live on the island…

Nikos Chrysogelos, a Greek politician and environmentalist, fears that Santorni (and the entirety of Greece) do not have the infrastructure for the fast-growing tourism in the country. No European country has seen this growth of tourism in the past decade (Telegraph, 2018).

Think Before Travelling

It is all well and good seeing the world. We all want to do it. Our planet is a wonderful place with many memorable sights and experiences to be had. Don’t be selfish. ‘Overtourism’ will damage the ecology of our most admired destinations. Are you really serious about the environment if you contribute to the issue? Are you really the caring, rational, considerate millennial you shape your social media to reflect? Are the aesthetics for a good Instagram photo more important than the livelihood of those who live in these exhausted destinations?

Where to Now?

Like most trends, people got over it. I no longer see the views of Santorini every third tweet. Influencers have moved onto the next place…

…Kyoto, Dubrovnik and Venice just to name a few.

Overtourism is an issue not enough people are aware of. It’s not an easy one to get across because travelling is something which the majority wish to do in their lifetime. There is a whole world out there and it’s almost crazy to not want to explore it. But, is it worth damaging the environment and ecology of admired lands for the sake of “living your best life”?

Think about the actual destination before you think about your Instagram.

Make Earth Cool Again…

Featured

You see the wildest, craziest, almost unbelievable science and gadgets on the internet…and they really can be cool AF! You see them used for life hacks, fun in the name of science, even complete random nonsense. But, can fun science and engineering be put to better use? Can we use them to make Earth cool again?

In this article, we will take you through a few modern revolutionary items which could be used to create a much more sustainable environment.

This isn’t just an article as to why it could improve our planet, it’s the direction we must go. The 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) was the biggest step we have taken so far into globally agreeing the actions we must all take to save our planet. There were many challenges discussed and many actions to defeat them, but the most significant agreement to have been made at COP21 is that we must not let the planet temperature rise another 2 degrees Celsius. By informing and engaging less-developed countries, as well as agreeing actions within individual nations (such as bans on petrol and diesel cars in many countries), the leaders, the businesses and the people of their respective nations will be doing their part in saving the planet.

As per my last blog article on the current state of our planet (Earth is Dead), I shifted a lot of blame on those in power; whether they be government or private companies; but COP21 will ensure everyone plays a part in providing and relying on more efficient energy sources.

While the plans and actions have been agreed, there’s only one place where we can exceed those expectations and really give ourselves a boost in the mission to save our planet… Science and Technology! And guess what, they’ve already started! Here are three revolutionary products, created by the art that is engineering, which can change the world and give us a MASSIVE boost!

OohoSkipping Rocks Lab

To be honest, I don’t know how this hasn’t taken over the majority of packaging materials. This is a game changer. I don’t understand how this isn’t talked about. I’ve told a lot of people about this and yet it seems to be the case that I am the only one who was actually aware of this.

Notpa – Ohoo Water Orb

If this is news to you, which I can guarantee it is for the majority reading this, Ohoo is an ‘alternative’ material for packaging. It’s not plastic. It’s not even paper or metal. It’s seaweed!

The product was developed by Skipping Rocks Lab and is sold by Notpla. Notpla plan to lease the machine used to produce Ooho’s to relevant stakeholders and customers. For example, if an events company wishes to use Ooho’s to create little sachet’s of sauce or food, then Notpla will provide this. Ooho’s are 100% biodegradable and take around 4 to 6 weeks to “disappear”. It’s been used to create little orbs of water, in an attempt to remove plastic bottles from shelves. A single orb can hold around 20ml to 150ml worth of product (primarily liquids). Head to Notpla’s website to find out more.

I can’t be the only one who thinks this is amazing? If this can be developed further and produced on a mass scale, it wouldn’t just reduce the production of plastic and its use for packaging, it could completely replace it! Now you know what I mean when I say it’s a game changer. However, maybe Ooho’s are not so talked about generally because of how undeveloped they still are. They can only be used for very small packaging at the moment, but I am certain that they will become hugely significant in the near future. We would really be reaching our targets as a planet if we do have a strong focus on the use of packaging and Ooho’s will be a very strong start to that. Plastic is very harmful when being disposed of, but the production of plastic is where it really causes damage. If you think of where and how plastic is used, you’ll realise how dependant we currently are on plastic and how the need for Ooho is essential.

Tesla SolarTesla

Tesla Solar – Roof Tiles

So simple yet so clever. Many people are already aware of this product. It’s actually taken off amazingly well in America. To put it simply, Tesla have designed roof tiles which have incorporated invisible solar cells. The best part is that it’s actually a cheaper alternative to slate roof tiling. In fact, it offers different materials and slate is one of them!

Tesla’s batteries are already renowned for their efficiency and use of sustainable energy. The solar tiles are integrated with their Powerall home battery which means you are able to rely on your own produced energy and use it as and when you wish to.

Why is this huge? Because it means we wouldn’t have to rely on massive power plants to power our homes with more expensive and less sustainable energy. Tesla have already taken this international, but it’s about adapting this to the existing, rather than just new homes/buildings. It also begs the question of what new ways we are able to share energy.

Tesla Solar is the first major effort, that I have seen, to change the way homeowners/residents use and gain energy. I mean, obviously solar panels already exist and have done for a while, as well as other renewable energy sources, but Tesla Solar is the first time I’ve seen someone push for sustainable energy as a ‘norm’. It makes the current method of energy-use look somewhat ‘old’. It’s kind of like a “get with the programme” statement.

Bamboo

Bamboo is often used for architecture – Bali (shown here) are well-known for this

An overlooked resource. Bamboo is natural, grows quick and easy and can be used for tons of stuff inside and outside a home! It also absorbs greenhouse gases and grows anywhere and everywhere! I think people need to realise how incredibly useful Bamboo can be. It’s a tough material. It’s used for scaffolding in many parts of the world, in particular East Asia. But not only can Bamboo be used for beneficial tools, it can also be used for luxury items, such as decoration, ornaments, etc.

In all honesty, engineers should take this resource and let their imaginations run wild with it. If any professional region is going to turn this highly reliable, hugely sustainable material into something beneficial for everyday life, it’s them.

In Fact…

…It’s our engineers who have accelerated our journey to a sustainable planet as they are the ones who innovated such game-changing products and the ones who have put our natural resources to efficient use.

Our hopes of the future lie in our scientists and our engineers. Developing and growing such ideas like those in this article are what can help the planet achieve our mission from COP21 and can help us ‘Make Earth Cool Again’.

Post via Instagram

Earth is Open to Suggestions

What innovative products/materials should be used at a higher volume, or should have higher funding and focus, to help develop a more sustainable environment? Let us know on Twitter and Instagram!