Written by Audrey Robertson, ESLLC 2017-2018
The 21st Century is a time where people are constantly on the go. With a fast-paced society, people tend to choose the most convenient options. Especially in times of travel, people often forget about sustainable habits. Ironically enough, travelers hurt the very same planet they strive to explore. Luckily National Geographic has released a handy guide to decrease the impact they have on the earth, along with other unforeseen benefits!
Last year was marked the “International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development” by the UN in attempt to raise awareness on a global scale of how touring sustainably can be used as a positive tool in society to create change. The author breaks down “sustainable tourism” into three pillars: friendly environmental practices, palpable economic and social benefits for local communities, and protecting heritage. There are six tips the article includes to tour more responsibly.
The first tip is to take train over plane to decrease your carbon footprint as well as experience a greater sense of place. The second is to avoid giving gifts to villagers while touring and instead give them to reputable local organizations aiming to help their communities. Thirdly, “say no to plastic”: By relying on recyclable glass bottles and tote bags while out exploring than plastic substitutes. The fourth tip includes doing research on your tour operators. The fifth, but not final tip is to contribute to the “real” economy, meaning buy products from local artists rather than opting for cheaper souvenirs. The last tip the article gives is one of the most important. It advises never buying wildlife products, at all. It can create a dangerous marketplace for trafficking endangered species. But if everyone follows six easy tips, tourism can be transformed into a beautiful and useful part of our world.
P.S. You know you read too much national geographic when you remember the issue where they talk about 2017 being the year as the international year of sustainable tourism for development….