Brazil: Amazon Upriver
#GreenTravel Tips 2021
Even as just one person on #solotravel, each of us can avoid leaving behind a negative impact on the communities we visit as well as their often fragile ecosystems and wildlife. We have taken a brief, informal survey of tips from active tour operators on responsible travel.
A 2019 National Geographic report found that 42% of U.S. travelers queried would be willing to give a priority to considering sustainability in future travel. However, only 15% had a clear picture of how to go about that showing a need to let travelers know more about how to have a positive impact on their destinations’ environment, local cultures and their heritage.
One of the worldwide problems in protecting the environment is seen in the oceans, rivers and lakes. Many classic films show an antique bottle wash up on a remote island with a valuable message inside. In today’s world, there are endless sightings of oceans awash with plastic bottles brought in at high tide.
A recent post by CNN went to the heart of the matter: Can our oceans be saved from environmental ruin? While there is no silver bullet, recycling improvements and innovations, such as the development of biodegradable forms of plastic, are approaches considered.
Currently, one of the most creative examples of how a small start-up can have an outsized impact came from two surfers, founding 4Oceans. By Sept. 2018, they were credited with cleaning up 1 million pounds of debris littering the seas.
For more on saving the oceans, take a look at:
#GreenTravel Tips 2021
Their recommended approach:
- Buy local food and supplies
- Order only sustainable seafood
- Join with local people for cultural tours and presentations
- Learn about how to “Leave No Trace”
- Get purchases and supplies with more limited packaging
- Recycle wherever possible
- Use eco-friendly personal items and toiletries
- Use a reusable water bottled
- Make donations to local charities and organizations
- Protect wildlife and their habitats.
Similarly, Explore Worldwide’s Head of Sustainability recommends these practical tips:
Lodging: Avoid having the staff change bed linens or towels every day.
Take reusable bags and beeswax wraps for shopping at home and abroad.
Take train/public transportation wherever possible.
Eat local produce, and choose more vegetarian dishes.
#GreenTravel Tips 2021
My 4 personal tips:
- Be prepared to tote your own trash even for strolling pristine beaches. In a remote Pacific Island, I quickly found that there were no trash cans. Carrying only a beach towel, it took some creative approaches to get rid of discarded food wrappers and plastic. In a joint trip to the UK and Ireland, I found myself at one spot unsuccessfully trying to find a trash can in a public train station. I finally located someone who worked there who explained this was because of security. This is true in many locations so I always take a “bag within a bag”.
- Buy items locally and donate them before heading home. When I arrived in India during the monsoons, my clothes from home were way too heavy. I found items of local cotton that were perfect for the trip and could be donated before leaving.
- Shop at street markets, and buy from local craftsmen. The prices are good, and this supports individuals directly rather if you go to large international chains.
- The world is not a “petting zoo”! While travelers are often warned of rabies and other dangers from animal bites and scratches, potential harm can work both ways. When I traveled in South east Australia in Victoria, I was warned not to try to pet the koalas as humans had spread disease to them in the past.
- Don’t feed wildlife or domestic animals unless the food is safe for them. In the Brazilian Amazon, rare pink dolphins were overfed by tourists catching selfies and were further in harm’s way from boats coming into shore. While many fellow lovers may not be aware, pets and strays can be poisoned by certain people food like grapes, or can choke on chicken bones.
Where do things stand today as we move into 2021?
National Geographic in April 2020 addressed the question: Will the sustainable travel movement survive the coronavirus?
They cited the founder and executive director of Impact Travel Alliance , Kelley Louise, who rejected the view that stainable travel required that we stop travel altogether. In contrast, the ITA recommends not giving up travel but finding innovative approaches, such as “slow travel”. (Slow travel, focuses on longer visits, public transportation/bikes and locations off-the-beaten-path.
For tours that offer “Volunteering” for green projects and other special interests, go to our free, user-friendly solo search tool, SoloTravelPricingTracker.net.