On this site, we have covered quite a few ways to travel more environmentally friendly but I was chatting with a follow on social last week and they didn’t know the basic’s, I took this as a failure of our site that we hadn’t covered the basics and the aim of this is to hopefully do that.
What is Eco Travel
Eco Travel according to the International Ecotourism Society is “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-beings and involves interpretation and education”
Basically, travel the world without causing any damage. There is attitude and saying within the wild camping movement here in the UK which is LNT (Leave No Trace) basically wherever you leave a place it should be the same as you found it.
Leave no rubbish behind, don’t damage the local environmental – basically be responsible explorers. Something I truly believe in.
What is ecotourism and why is it important?
Ecotourism, as covered above, is travelling responsibility and thinking about the environment, but why is it important.
We have one planet to live on and as the world’s population grows we need to make sure we are travelling in a way to reduce our impact on the planet. In fact, the 10 of the warmest years in the UK have been in the last 20 years, which scientists say is a clear sign that climate change is happening.
If we are causing this damage, there is a tipping point where we won’t be able to reverse the damage we have caused.
This site isn’t about stopping you from travelling, if anything its the opposite – its I want you to travel more but just do it in a way the earth isn’t damaged.
How do you travel eco friendly?
There are many ways to travel the world eco-friendly, where possible avoid plane journeys, but if you must use one go direct – take-off and landings are the worst part of the journeys.
Think green when picking a hotel, does it turn off your lights as you leave, whats its policy on shower gels. Does it use solar to power the hotel etc.
How is ecotourism different to normal tourism?
In an ideal world, they would be the same thing, but right now normal tourism doesn’t always put the environment first and sometimes puts profits and other things first.
I understand the importance of profit – after all, without it a business wouldn’t survive, but if we don’t take care of our planets that we all suffer and there isn’t another planet to thrive on.
What are the benefits of eco-tourism?
The key benefits are as you travel the world and experience new cultures and sights you aren’t causing any additional damage to the environment.
The other benefit is that by going eco you are usually supporting local companies and staff which can make a real difference.
Is ecotourism a good thing?
Yes, that’s the short answer. If it’s helping to reduce your impact on the environment that’s a good thing.
In fact, the more you travel the more you start to realise that ecotourism is really starting to grow, even in countries you might not expect.
It might not be the huge things like a hotel going fully green, but a local tour operator only promoting tours which support the local environment and don’t damage them, or a tour hike sticking to the main footpaths and not walking across fields and causing additional damage.
Are there downsides?
Yes, like with everything in life there isn’t anything which is all good.
Sometimes it might mean you can’t do a particular activity or event because its too damaging to the environment or might not be the season.
Also because they have considered the environment and therefore likely to have made changes it can be slightly more expensive.
But we feel, these are worth it, if we can help protect our planet.
How does ecotourism help the locals?
An example I like to give how ecotourism can help locals is, you are visiting a new city/country and want something to eat. You can either choose the national chain where the food is the same all over the country and has usually travelled hundreds of miles by road or air so that it tastes the same or you can use a local restaurant that sources all its ingredients locally.
Sourcing locally as well as reducing the carbon footprint of your meal also helps the local restaurant and its suppliers in the local area – giving back to the community where you are staying. This isn’t always the case but usually the food is of a higher standard and tastes a lot nicer as well.
So you help local businesses survive, you reduce your food carbon footprint as its sourced locally and you get a great meal.
Eco travelling is here to stay and that’s only a good thing especially as more people become aware of the damage we as a species are doing to our home. Yes we have to make a few changes in how we travel but these small sacrifices can lead to a big impact.
What’s your plan to help travel more environmentally friendly?