Sooner or later, we will have to recognise that the Earth has rights, too, to live without pollution. What mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans.
WHO ARE ECO-TOURISTS?
Travelers who choose ecotourism are responsible people interested in the social, economic and environmental sustainability of the places they travel to. Seeking authentic local experiences and opportunities to give back to the communities they visit, many eco-tourists participate in voluntourism activities. Eco-tourists are also looking to minimize the carbon footprint of their travel, traveling with the climate in mind by planning wisely and choosing consciously.
Travel can be much more than simply visiting places, taking pictures and buying souvenirs. When planned properly and with the environment in mind, travel can create cultural awareness, tolerance, and commitment to environmental responsibility. Every single person can make a difference by adopting very simple ways to be a green traveler.
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WHAT IS ECO-TOURISM?
There are a lot of terms like green travel, nature travel, responsible travel, ethical travel, mindful travel, conscious travel etc but in concept all of them point towards eco-tourism. This simply means that the travel industry as a whole should adopt more environmentally friendly practices, protect the natural and cultural heritage of a destination, and support local communities.
HOW CAN YOU ENGAGE IN ECO-TOURISM?
Cut down the plastic
How many time have you seen package water bottles or chip packets strewn all over the place? Even in Ladakh, we saw huge piles of plastic garbage flying around! All this plastic comes from us. Easy ways to cut the trash are keeping a garbage bag on you, carrying full-size toiletries instead of using the hotels and disposing of garbage in a proper manner.
Refill your water
Buy yourself a refillable water bottle before your trip and get it filled wherever you can. I can’t imagine the millions of bottles that are emptied in seconds ever year and then burned into the atmosphere or just carelessly thrown out into our wildlife reserves.
Limit the packaging you bring with you. This will only become waste in your holiday destination. Plus, it means more room for gifts!
Do not litter; instead, carry your garbage back to where you are staying. Cut noise pollution, do not take home flora and fauna from the place. Do not go honking in wildlife reserves or play loud music. After all, the animals also need their peace and quiet.
Walking is the sightseeing king
Aren’t we all so lazy that even for a short distance we take our vehicles? Once you reach your destination, try to walk to nearby destinations to avoid using your vehicle. Vehicle emissions are a big cause for our mountains losing their snow cover!
Skip the Paper Napkins and Toilet Paper
It is estimated that toilet paper contributes to over 15% deforestation in America alone! Every day more than 51,000 trees are cut down to generate America’s paper towels. It’s a cruel thing to do to the environment so please carry your own towels and skip the toilet paper.
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Anything that has been ‘imported’ has traveled a long way to get to you. The local brands might not be quite what you are used to but they do the job. Buying imported things all the time creates a huge carbon footprint as their transportation requires a lot of fuel! I know you always cant buy local but try to make it more often.
Kill the AC
Air conditioners are really bad for the environment but a necessity for us as well. When you are traveling, use the AC only when needed. When you are driving through the mountains, or during pleasant weather, try to switch off the AC and enjoy the fresh air.
Some Myths About Eco-Tourism
Myth: Eco-friendly accommodations are not that good
Reality: Many homestays, hotels, and B&Bs have very high standards of quality and luxury. They bring nature and culture within your reach, while still assuring your level of comfort.
Myth: Isn’t it expensive?
Reality: In fact, if the travel industry starts adopting more eco-friendly measures, a lot of their costs can come down drastically!
Myth: Does this mean traveling to jungles?
Reality: Ecotourism does bring images of forest stays in mind. But the reality is that ecotourism opportunities can be found in a wide range of destinations, and ecotourism accommodations and tour packages exist on every continent.
Myth: It’s for backpackers.
Reality: Being nature-friendly isn’t restricted to one kind of traveler and all of us can contribute towards it. All you got to do is follow some of the tips we mentioned above and you should be on your way!
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