This blog post has been made possible thanks to the sponsorship of France4Naturisme. A group of 6 naturist campsites in France that are living proof that luxury and sustainability can go hand in hand.
Is there anyone who still believes that global warming and climate change are nothing but myths? Summer after summer, the newspapers are filled with reports about wildfires. They seem almost unstoppable. This isn’t something particularly new, but it does seem like the fire departments can’t count anymore on the support of a good rain shower like they used to. And when it does rain, it rains hard. Causing floodings in places where we would’ve never expected it a decade ago.
Those are just the signs that are very much in our faces. Less noticeable but even more disturbing are the increasing temperatures of ocean water, the diminishing or Arctic sea ice, and the changing snow patterns, that will eventually result in even wilder weather. It has become more than obvious that change needs to happen. Right now.
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How to reduce our ecological footprint
Reducing our ecological footprint is not something most of us love thinking about. Because it comes at a cost. Maybe not particularly monetary, but definitely when it comes to comfort. Do we really need such a large car? Shouldn’t we just stop eating steak and get our nutrients from crickets? Has the time come to invest in solar panels and a windmill?
Are we willing to pay more for locally produced products? To earn less if it means working at a less polluting company or a company that doesn’t require us to drive for many kilometres to get there? In the end, we all need to eat, go to places and earn money to finance our lives. But do we really need to go on a holiday? If we would all just stay at home during our free time, wouldn’t that reduce our ecological footprint tremendously?
Of course, this would also mean that we would lose the benefits of having a vacation. And we’re not talking about a nice tan but rather about the relief of stress, loading up our batteries, trying new things and learning about new cultures. It’s hard for us to give you an objective opinion because our whole life is based on travelling. But we don’t think that drastic life changes ever work. It’s like losing weight. By far the quickest way to lose weight is to just stop eating. Day after day, you’ll see the needle drop. But how long can you hold on? When will you say “Screw it, I’m stopping at McDonald’s”? If we all stop travelling, how long will it take before being at home just becomes too much and we jump on the first plane to some exotic resort in the Caribbean?
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How to travel responsibly
Consciousness is the keyword here. Instead of standing still and holding our breath in fear of putting even more dangerous substances in the air, it’s much better to consciously consider our options. Taking planes and driving long distances has become so convenient that we hardly ever consider alternative options. When we choose our next vacation destination, the deciding factors are mostly the weather, the facilities, and the accommodations. How about we add sustainability to that list?
We know, this is not an easy one to measure. “Eco” has become a buzzword lately and many resorts jump on the trend by putting a solar panel on the roof and calling themselves an eco-lodge. How on earth can you figure out where their energy really comes from? How their waste is managed? What happens with their grey and black water? Where their food comes from? and their building materials? How can we possibly know which products they use to keep the pool clean? Oh boy…
Luckily, this isn’t something you have to figure out yourself. More and more organisations are starting to hand out labels that provide an answer to the above questions. The Green Globe label, for example, or the Clef Verte in France, have done all this research for you. The only thing you need to do is look for their tag.
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Travel sustainably, travel naked
We like to make the joke that naturist vacations are more sustainable because at the end of your vacation, you’ll have less laundry to do. But naturism is much more than that. A big part of the philosophy is based on the preservation of nature. Naturist campsite Arnaoutchot, in the French Landes department, collaborates with the French National Forests Office to preserve the pine forests in the region. Bélézy, on the other side of France, uniquely works with green energy. And Bélézy is not a small campsite, this is a huge resort we’re talking about. These are just two examples of an endless list of naturist resorts that invest in the preservation of our planet, each in their very own way.
As a naturist, you are expected to consider the environment, recycle, not waste too much water, save energy, and shop wisely. Lots of small steps in the right direction. But by staying at a naturist resort, you are also contributing to a greater good. You are supporting communal projects that you could never organise on your own. In other words, if everyone would just stop going to Arnaoutchot, the pine forest conservation project would inevitably have to be put on hold.
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Do you travel sustainably?
Aren’t we just trying to justify our nomadic lifestyle here? Maybe. As mentioned before, our opinion is all but objective. Maybe we are just hypocrites who preach about preserving nature while boarding a plane or driving a gasoline-fueled car. We’ll leave that up to you to decide.
But we’re very curious about whether you are taking steps towards travelling in a more sustainable way. Are you going all-in and just stopped going on vacation altogether? Is sustainability a decisive factor when you are planning your vacations? Would you rather pay more to stay in places where your ecological footprint is less? Let us know in the comments!
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9 thoughts on “Travel sustainably, travel naked”
You ask “Is there anyone who still believes that global warming and climate change are nothing but myths?” Unfortunately, here in the United States, and especially in our so-called “red” states, the answer is “Yes. Far too many.”
The United States is huge geographically. France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and a sizable chunk of the old West Germany would all fit within Texas alone. Americans move, and Americans travel. My children were raised in Texas but have dispersed, so we travel to see each other. But we try to do so as sustainably as possible: fuel efficient cars, meals from grocers rather than fast food etc. And with our grandchildren being in Colorado, our travels usually include a few days at Orient Land Trust, https://www.olt.org, whose mission is to “the preservation of Valley View Hot Springs (VVHS) and its viewshed— including natural and biologic resources, agricultural lands, wildlife habitat, open space, and historic and geologic features of the northern San Luis Valley—
for the education and enjoyment of current and future generations” while “Promot[ing] naturism along with social and environmental awareness.” Otherwise, we stick close to our clothing-optional home. We live in a year-round temperate place (but our summers are getting increasingly brutal). Laundry is far less than our textile neighbors, I’m sure. Shopping and work are all within a 5-mile radius. We prefer cooking for ourselves than carrying/eating out. We recycle and reuse. In short, we try.
The most important is being aware of what is happening. As a person, you can’t do everything. There are people who manage to live in a very sustainable way, but those are few. For the majority, it’s just important to take steps in the right direction.
Nick & Lins, your point is well taken. According to a study published in Nature Climate Change (2018), “[t]ourism produces about 8% of the overall CO2 emissions, and the percentage is constantly growing.” (Here’s a link to an article summarizing the study: https://ecobnb.com/blog/2020/12/tourism-contributes-global-warming/)
So, of course, we should all try to do our part to lessen our travel-related carbon footprint. And patronizing geo-friendly destinations is one way to do that.
As naturists, we also do our part by lessening our dependence on clothing — a point you reinforce with your remark about the need for doing less laundry. A recent study by another well-respected research organization (McKinsey, 2018) estimated that the clothing/fashion industry is “responsible for some 2.1 billion metric tons of greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions” per year,” which is “about 4 percent of the global total.” According to McKinsey’s calculations, that’s “about the same quantity of GHGs per year as the entire economies of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom combined.”
A synopsis of the McKinsey study can be found here: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/retail/our-insights/fashion-on-climate
The less we wear clothing, the longer our clothes will last, and the less often they will need to be replaced and laundered. So, by the mere fact of being naturists, we are helping (at least a little) to lessen our collective carbon footprints. Alas, if more people would join the naturist movement, the environmental benefit would be all the greater.
Thanks for so much info Robert!
With clothing, we actually have a double feeling. On one hand, it’s pure logic: Wearing fewer clothes means that you have to buy fewer clothes and that there will be less production. But on the other hand, we know people who turn the heater up just so they can be naked inside in winter as well. So they will use fewer clothes, but more energy.
We think that living sustainably is more about buying smarter than about buying less. For us, the obvious pain point is traveling. We could hugely reduce our ecological footprint if we’d just stop traveling. But that would also mean that we need to stop doing what we do. And we shouldn’t forget that the travel industry is good for 10% of the global economy. That’s millions of jobs. Instead, we should reward the travel companies that are actually taking steps to create a “clean” way of traveling.
I guess I’m fortunate in not having to think much about this…
With a large FKK park and lake at two minutes walk from our apartment here in Central Berlin, we’ve having a nudist staycation this year! 😇
No airport hassles, no CO2 emissions, no traffic jams.
@Nick&Lins: Wanneer komen jullie eindelijk eens naar Berlijn?
Berlin was on our itinerary for this summer, but unfortunately, we had to cancel that part of the plan because of everything that has happened in our lives recently. Nevertheless, we do hope to visit one day!
The environmental benefits of less laundry and less wear and tear of clothes as a result of a naturist way of life are negligible. Definitely when compared with the large environmental impact caused by the pollution of the travel (by plane, or to a lesser extent by car) to a naturist destination. Most often even the environmental benefits of a more sustainable resort cannot balance this out.
Travelling a longer distance to a ‘sustainable’ resort is quite often overall less sustainable than travelling to a more nearby resort that has not gone through some kind of green certification process. Only at equal distances a green certificate might be a differentiator.
This isn’t about “the hottest summer ever” anymore, it’s “the coolest summer we’ll ever have”.
Yes we love to take more time looking for greener places and will spend money to contribute to making this place we call earth a better more green planet. As Naturist we should be concerned with not only the planet but our own health and contributing to these sustainable projects can do us and the earth some greatness.