Traveling the YMCA way

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Last Updated (Wednesday, 07 October 2020 18:24)

"Traveling the YMCA Way" is the GATN campaign to promote responsible and sustainable lifestyle among our youth to combat climate change.

The COVID-19 pandemic gave us something to ponder upon. Under the Covid pandemic we have begun to embrace many life preserving practices - both to protect ourselves as well as to prevent further spreading of the virus. Most commonly promoted good practices are:

  1. Pay attention to personal hygiene
  2. Practice social distancing
  3. Keeping our environment clean
  4. Wearing mask and monitoring your health

These four ways to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19 have become our new Covid survival lifestyle... a lifestyle that we have willing embraced and will probably become our "New Normal" in the future. In Hong Kong, fashionable face masks are beginning to appear in the market as people begin to embrace the facemask lifestyle. And cleanliness and hygiene is the new priority. Portable bottles of hand sanitising gels and sanitising wipes have become permanent personal accessories. Many people reduce their travel and social contacts.

Similarly, what should our new travel lifestyle be in the post-Covid era? What is our "New Normal" for travel?

In the Asia Pacific region, a lot of our YMCA youth empowerment programs involve travel. Each year, hundreds of programmes - workshops, youth exchange, conferences, workcamps, etc. are organised nationally and regionally and over 5000 YMCA members (including adults) for these programs. Traveling by air has very high carbon footprint -- contributing to over 70% of the total carbon footprint of each trip. We need to mitigate for our carbon footprint through our behaviour and the activities that we engage in at the destination.

The APAY, through GATN tries to impact the lives of our young people and teach them to travel responsibly and sustainably. "Traveling the YMCA way" should be our new travel lifestyle.


"Traveling the YMCA way" is to travel responsibly and sustainably. This lifestyle should not be restricted only to the time when we travel. This lifestyle should be practiced constantly and daily wherever we are, in whatever we do. This should be our new normal lifestyle when we travel. When traveling responsibly and sustainably, we need to minimise the negative environmental and social impacts on our destination. Below are some considerations for our new normal lifestyle:

1. Be aware of our consumption habits

  • Reduce our water footprint and carbon footprint.
  • Reduce over consumption of resources, especially water and electricity.
  • Practice minimum waste and wastage
  • Reduce food wastage and use of disposables during travel
  • Support the local economy and generate greater economic benefits for local people

2. Be aware of our impact on the destination

  • Reduce the amount of plastics you will leave behind
  • Participate in low carbon activities and carbon mitigating activities
  • Contribute to the conservation of cultural heritage and traditional values
  • Be culturally sensitive and contribute to intercultural understanding and tolerance

The above are just some suggestions. What does "Traveling the YMCA way" mean to you? Send in your ideas and suggestions to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . We will compile and publish your ideas in future editions of this newsletter.

~Chan Beng Seng, GATN Coordinator