This is the third year we have participated in Blog Action Day and this year’s cause, climate change, is such an urgent issue that no one or any government in the world can afford to ignore it one day longer. Climate change affects us all but the world’s poorest and most vulnerable are already suffering most.
This home exchange blog is all about travel and, in the light of the effects on climate from air travel in particular, it seems very wrong to encourage further travel. However, to be realistic, people who can afford to will continue to travel and it seems far better to promote a responsible attitude than to discourage travel altogether. After all, travel does have many benefits and, when undertaken sensitively (swapping to homes that would otherwise be empty rather than contributing to the destruction of natural resources to build more hotels in tourist ghettos) increases tolerance and understanding of other cultures.
It may be more a direct result of the downturn in the economy worldwide for many rather than a conscious decision to cut down on air travel (although I do believe home exchangers are particularly responsible people), but there has been a definite trend for more Home Base Holidays members to seek home swaps closer to home this year. Long haul destinations may not be quite so much in demand as a few years ago but many home exchangers do still want to travel to far off countries (some to visit family), only now more are planning longer exchanges rather than zipping halfway across the world for a week at a time several times a year. Not everyone can take the time off of course but, for retired members and the many now who can combine work with a holiday wherever there is an Internet connection, this is a practical and sensible choice. With no accommodation costs (and often no car hire or pet care expenses), making the most of a lengthy exchange holiday makes sense both financially and for the environment.
In the run-up to an exchange, think of any improvements you can make to your home to cut down on energy use and general wastage. Do drafty windows or inadequate insulation make you crank up the heat in winter? If you are exchanging with someone from a warmer climate who may feel the cold more than you do, this is a particularly good time to do those jobs to make your home cosier without the need for the central heating to be up high.
When compiling an information folder for your exchange guests, include details of anything that will both keep your bills down and save energy and thus be climate friendly; a few examples:
- how to set the heating to come on for short periods twice a day when they plan to be out all day
- encourage the use of public transport whenever possible even if you agree to swap cars
- leave instructions on how to recycle as much as possible
- give details of markets that sell locally produced food
- offer to lend heavy outdoor clothing and boots to save your guests buying and bringing items they won’t otherwise need
When last checked, 6000+ bloggers had signed up to Blog Action Day. All will be writing on climate change today, from many different perspectives. See ideas for taking action on climate change issues beyond Blog Action Day.