1. Reduce Single-use plastics
Before leaving the house, we tend to automatically crosscheck that we are carrying the “essentials”; mainly a phone, wallet and keys. But what if this list was incomplete? Single-use plastics have become a global issue that concerns us all, threatening not only marine life and birds but also human health. Curbing these from the planet demands everyone’s effort and determination. This could start with a simple step by carrying a reusable water bottle everywhere you go. In Seychelles, tap water quality varies depending on the island you are visiting and where you are located. To be on the safe side, bring a “water filter bottle” so that you can fill up your bottle with any tap water, wherever you are! The Ocean Project Seychelles together with Val Riche will also soon be introducing a water filling station in town; “Refill, don’t Landfill”!
Seychelles announced exciting news in July 2017: a national ban on plastic bags! Keep a couple of small veggie bags with you as you never know what delicious snacks you might stumble upon during your visits. There are locally made carrier bags that can also turn out to be the perfect gift for family and friends.
A ban on plastic straws was followed soon after: if you are a straw lover, you can bring along a reusable one from home or buy one locally through The Ocean Project Seychelles!
2. Tour wisely and respect our wildlife
Most cars are run on petroleum-based fuels in Seychelles, making it a significant contributor to greenhouse gases. TATA buses are the main mode of public transport and have become part of the Seychelles experience. Choose public transport over car rentals and let yourself enjoy the ride! It is also advisable that you tour animal activities wisely – when visiting the tortoises for instance, it is best not to ride them or stand on them for photo opportunities! Instead, feed them some lettuce or fruit and enjoy their company respectfully.
3. Buy local and meet locals
There are so many reasons to why we should all buy local products, some more obvious than others.
Buying locally usually means fresher and healthier food. The beauty of having such small islands means that local markets contain food originating from crop fields and trees only a few 1000 meters or less away. This means fresh tropical fruits and vegetables at your disposal!
Buying locally leads to lower transport emissions, reducing the product’s carbon footprint.
Buying locally supports less food packaging. All imported food needs to be well conserved, which means that most are wrapped in layers of plastic.
Buying locally means supporting the local economy. This is money that Seychellois are directly benefiting from!
Buying locally invites you to meet more Seychellois and discover the Creole way of life. Showing interest in the culture stimulates cultural preservation, bringing us to the next tip. And you never know, you might find yourself trying home-cooked Creole food that will tickle your taste buds!
4. Discover the Creole Heritage
By visiting cultural sites, money is generated in helping maintaining and preserving them. Even if money is not spent, the act of visiting gives locals the initiative to preserve these sites and to enhance cultural pride.
5. Choose sustainable seafood
Fish supply is the main source of local food in the country. Choosing sustainable seafood means choosing one that was caught from a healthy population, with minimal impacts on the marine environment and in a zone that is effectively and responsibly managed. It is hard to know whether a type of seafood respects that criteria, but it is good to at least know which are the most vulnerable and overfished. In Seychelles, you should avoid tuna, shark, certain groupers (blacksaddled coral grouper, brown-marbled coral grouper, camouflage grouper, roving coral grouper) and parrotfish.
6. Be responsible sea explorers
Coral reefs are one of Seychelles’ most important tourist attractions, but also one of the most vulnerable ecosystems in the world. To become responsible snorkelers and divers, you need to remember never to touch anything underwater so as to not disturb wildlife and stir up sediment that could smother corals. Remember to use reef-friendly sunscreen or cover up with a rash guard! When choosing reef-friendly sunscreen, look out for harmful chemicals such as oxybenzone, Benzophenone-1, Benzophenone-8 and ODPABA.
7. Be Energy Smart
Simple habits can lower your energy consumption and as a result, your carbon footprint:
Make sure to turn off the lights when you are not in the room
Put your A.C on a timer so that it doesn’t run through all night long and switch it off!
Opt for a fan instead of AC to fully enjoy the tropical experience
8. Be Water Smart
One of the ways you can minimise your water consumption when traveling is by:
Letting housekeeping know that you don’t want your towel cleaned and replaced everyday
Cutting back on bathing
Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth
As your hotel if they are rain water harvesting to encourage hotels to make this green step
9. Keep an eye out for sustainable labels
When looking to book hotels, find out whether they are certified with a sustainable label. In Seychelles, 21 are now certified with the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label (SSTL), meaning that they are taking active steps to protect the environment, ensuring their staffs’ wellbeing and creating positive local impact.
But even if your hotel or guesthouse is not certified, it is always good to show interest! Ask hotel staff or the local guesthouse owner about their sustainability commitment and engage in discussions! Many local accommodations take nature close to heart and will love to hear that you do too!
10. Carbon offsetting your flight
Due to its geographical location, Seychelles’ tourism industry has a high carbon footprint in terms of transportation. According to atmosfair, a return flight e.g. from Frankfurt to Seychelles represents 4.172 kg of CO₂ emissions, more than double the average annual emissions of one Indian person (1.600kg) and more than a climate conscious person should be emitting per year (2.300 kg). Most visitors take the plane from a long distance away to visit this archipelago, but there are ways you can help offset these CO₂ emissions:
Stay as long as possible. Try spending your time on the islands as meaningful as possible and try to avoid short trips, to make up for your emissions!
Offset your emissions through a recognised carbon compensation provider, e.g atmosfair or South Pole. They will calculate the cost of your flight-associated CO₂ emissions and invest the climate compensation amount you pay into climate protection projects, e.g. in renewable energy. Whichever provider you choose, make sure the projects are verified according to the CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) and Gold Standard.
Support local tree planting and reforestation programmes. The Terrestrial Restoration Action Society of Seychelles (TRASS) offers you the opportunity to do so during your stay in Seychelles. Get in contact with TRASS (via FB https://www.facebook.com/TerrestrialRestorationActionSocietyofSeychelles/) to learn more about their tree planting programme.