Everyone’s always talking about how much they need a vacation. They yearn for a nice, peaceful time to forget about the stressors of everyday life, and to just relax in a new atmosphere. But, do you ever take the time to research an environment before you visit? I don’t mean the good areas to get a tan; I mean the ecosystem that you’re entering. Ecotourism or sustainable travel is becoming increasingly more important as our population rates increase and therefore the amount of people vacationing also increases. This form of travel aims to minimize your impacts, socially, behaviorally and physiologically in the ecosystem of which you are visiting.
The main goals would then be to conserve and contribute to these remote communities and delicate ecosystems. There are many travel programs that support this and provide you with everything you need to vacation but also improve the land. Cruises and resort-like vacations result in more negative impacts such as leaving trash and taking from the land; whereas with sustainable tourism, you’re giving back to the land instead. It could be as simple as working on an organic farm to help out the native farmers in Costa Rica or mentoring youth in rural South Africa.
Inspire EdVentures even supports projects such as contributing books to schools and helping injured animals in Belize. These types of experiences are not only helpful to the land but educate tourists and provide first hand experiences with these animals and really submerge you into the ecosystem. It’s important not only to sip cocktails on your favorite tropical island but to also learn how the ecosystem works and functions. Sure, it’s great to relax and have a good time in a new place but it’s just as easy and fun to give back to that same place shopping at local markets and boutiques and just helping that beautiful place you wanted to vacation in so badly survive long enough so that future generations can also have the same privileges.
- What is Ecotourism? (Ecotourism.org) More about what ecotourism is and the goals of this type of travel
- Sustainable Travel: Its Not Just About the Environment (Elaine Glusac; NY Times)
Article by Tatiana Eaves. Tatiana is a freelance science writer and photographer with a B.S. in Biology from Appalachian State University. She is passionate about increasing scientific literacy of the public by bridging the gap between scientists and non-scientists. She writes for Ricochet Science and Modern Treatise Magazine.
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