Hey Explorers! Thank you for returning to my site to check out different travel topics, tips and adventures!
Today, I’m here to talk to you about my third area of focus which is environmental travel or ecotourism. Today’s blog is part of my special 2018 series for Kita the Explorer in which I speak to you about specially requested topics in relation to travel. So, you can either read this in blog format OR watch in vlog format (up above)!
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Now…on to this week’s topic…ecotourism!
As I mentioned in my blog Environmental Work & Travel, the environment, planet Earth, is our one and only home and we need to do as much as possible to take care of our planet. But traveling can be detrimental to the environment. Per the EPA, only 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions comes from transportation and air travel is currently a small portion of that (but quickly growing). So, it is critical you first think about how much energy (i.e. fuel, electricity, etc.) is being used in whatever you do, then think about how you can offset that usage. Here are three things you can do when you travel to be environmentally friendly:
Add Carbon Offsets on Your Flight
I learned about this when booking my flight with Virgin Australia. There is a voluntary option you can add to your flight to fly carbon neutral in which you have to pay an additional fee based on the emissions to be used. This money paid will go to a variety of accredited projects under this program such as the Tasmanian Land Conservancy – New Leaf Carbon Project. This program protects land for biodiversity. Not all flights under Virgin Australia qualify. You can read more about their program here: https://www.virginaustralia.com/us/en/about-us/sustainability/carbon-offset-program/.
There are several other airlines that have a Carbon Offset program such as United, Delta, Qantas, and JetBlue. I recently offset my Delta flight from Los Angeles to Sydney by paying $17.52 to the Nature Conservancy. See the image below of the calculation:
If your airline doesn't participate in a carbon offset program, you can donate directly to the Nature Conservancy. On their site, they have a tool where you can calculate how much carbon you emit, sign the pledge, and donate to carbon offsets. You can check this out at https://www.nature.org/greenliving/carboncalculator/index.htm?redirect=https-301&intc3=nature.search.popular.r4. I will also be writing more about carbon offsets and what it does in my blog next week....so stay tuned!
Do Community Service Work
Do you have some extra time in your trip's schedule? If so, consider completing a community service project at your vacation destination. Volunteer work within the environment can range from a variety of things and can tie into an adventurous excursion! You can volunteer through a variety of organizations and causes from helping animals who have been hurt to cleaning up parks to determining the health of reefs. There is so much you can do! Volunteer work can last a few hours or an entire day! But if you find a great project not only will you feel fulfilled by giving back to the community you are touring but it will add great adventure to your trip!
Personally, I started adding in community service work for the environment in 2017 (on top of my monthly donations to domestic organizations). My inaugural project was in Costa Rica at a conservation for rainforest animals injured thanks to humans. It was a half day project but it was an exciting adventure to add onto my trip. You can view and read about my Costa Rica adventure in a previous blog. But here is a picture to share with you:
You could also make it an entire trip! There are a variety of projects available in which you can assist for a week, two weeks, or a month. When picking a community service project abroad, be sure to do your due diligence to ensure the program is reputable and within your environmental values. Some places may say they are helping animals BUT IN ALL ACTUALITY, they are not. So always be careful there!
A good place to start searching for a project is at www.goabroad.com. Here you can search in a country, what type of project you are looking for and for how long. This can give you some ideas of what to search for in that destination.
Donate To An Environmental Cause
Ok, so you just want to enjoy your vacation and relax while at your destination. Instead of spending your time volunteering, you can always donate money to a cause in relation to environmental issues of that country.
Every country has a different major issue in relation to environmental problems. If you are visiting, I don't know, let us say...Ethiopia as I haven't been there yet. You can start by doing a simple Google Search of "environmental issues in Ethiopia". (Be sure to find a reputable source.) In this search, I find out they are suffering from "deforestation, soil erosion and depletion of nutrients in the soil which, in parts of the northern highlands, are leading to a worrying increase in desertification" (www.idp-uk.org).
You can then start searching Google to find environmental organizations within that country ensuring their mission aligns with environmental issues of the country. Research the organization to ensure it is reputable and then donate to them, if possible. If the country doesn't have an environmental organization, look to donate to worldwide organizations instead.
Lastly, you don't have to donate your life away! Donate as little or as much as you would like as anything helps! The most important thing you can do is to spread the word about the environmental struggles of the world. Personally, I last donated $10 to Landvernd in Iceland which focuses on their issues of melting of glaciers (which rises sea levels) and a slew of other issues. And I continue to bring awareness to others! (P.S. If you head over to my shop and buy one of my shirts, use code ENVIRONMENT for 50% off and part of the proceeds will go to environmental organizations listed in those postings. This promotion lasts from February 27, 2018 through March 31, 2018. Limit one per household.)
Just because you are not traveling doesn't mean you shouldn't protect the environment. You can do things such as recycle, plant trees in your community, pick up trash, etc. Taking care of home is just as important!
I hope this has enlightened you as to what you can do to help the environment while you travel and will implement a few changes into your lifestyle or travel style. If you still need encouragement as to why, please review my blog Environmental Work & Travel.
If you have any questions, comment below!
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Thank you for reading!
~ Kita the Explorer
P.S. I'm not sponsored by any of the companies linked in this post, I just have used them and I am providing them as a resource to you. But of course I'm sponsored by my own links!
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