With today’s environmental issues, it is important when we travel to still remain green. Some may believe that it is next to impossible to stay green and travel. But, these two things are possible, and they do not involve hardship and deprivation. Traveling and staying green is as simple as respecting where you travel and immerse yourself in their food, culture, and way of life.
Flying Tips to Keep You Green
- Fly less by cutting down on short trips and by staying for longer periods of time.
- Try to fly directly to your point of interest if at all possible since take-offs and landings use a large amount of the plane’s fuel.
- Fly economy class, keeping emissions per person as low as possible.
- Pack light since a lighter plane uses less fuel.
- Make changes to your lifestyle at home to reduce your overall personal carbon footprint.
Remember: tourism is a key source of income for 1/3 of developing nations. Many of the world’s poorest countries rely on tourism and have few other economic alternatives. If you carefully consider how best to use your flight, and go on trips that benefit to the destination, you can make a positive contribution that outweighs the environmental impact of your flight.
Tips on Being Green in Another Country
- Learn about the country you’re visiting.
- Think about where your money goes. Always try to think of the local people when you’re spending money and try to eat and drink local items rather than imported items. Also, consider staying in a locally owned accommodation.
- Be prepared to open your mind to new cultures and traditions. Take a second glance at your suitcase, and make sure your clothing is appropriate for your destination, and be prepared to change the way you do things and what you believe.
- Minimize environmental impact by thinking about where your trash goes. Understand that some resources we take for granted everyday is a valuable commodity to the locals.
- Talk to the people that live there. Do not use guidebooks as your only source of information. The locals always know the best kept secrets.
- Photography. Some cultures and beliefs see having a picture taken very negatively, so always ask before you snap a picture of them!
Overall, try to minimize your environmental impact by carefully choosing how to travel, your destination, and, where you stay. But remember: enjoy the journey, and the destination itself!
Two Noteworthy Locations
Meet the river people of Amazon, Brazil
In Brazil, there are not many lodges for visitors, but there is the Pousada Uakari, which is a floating lodge on the rivers Japura and Solimoes in the heart of the Mamiraua Reserve in northern Brazil. The lodge has ten thatched wooden cabins, built on floating timber. Each cabin has basic essentials: two king-sized beds, a bathroom with hot water and a shower, and a terrace facing the forest. Dinner is served each night at the main lodge full of fresh fish and fruit.
- Guests at the Pousada Uakari are allowed to join in with the locals, who survive on fishing and agriculture, and to visit their villages.
- May through July is flood season and visitors are allowed to rent a small canoe to paddle along one of the eleven trails to see red howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, and scarlet-faced white uakari monkeys. August through April, visitors are allowed to walk these trails to see the various species of monkeys.
- Visitors can also canoe on the Mamiraua Lake, where pink river dolphins, manatees, and caimans swim among the submerged trees.
Uakari’s various environmentally friendly technologies:
- Rainwater collection
- Solar power for lighting and water heating
- Sewage filtration system to limit its impact on the river habitat.
The Pousada Uakari is the first location in Brazil where Amazonian communities are working with conservationists to involve them in conservation and tourism, instead of using their natural resources. View Clean Breaks for other information and visit Click here to see package tours to the lodge, price, and ititneraries.
Bateleur Camp at Kichwa, Kenya
Bateleur Camp at Kichwa, Kenya, located on the Masai Mara National Reserve, has small numbers of accommodation units, or tents, built mostly from local material and carefully sited among existing trees. Bateleur is a safari adventure, but the tourism it receives is more exclusive than mass market. Bateleur Camp is great for people seeking conservation with adventure, and is situated perfectly on the African Safari.
- Visitors may see six different species and over 450 birds.
- Experience the climax of the Great Migration in the heart of Kenya.
- Experience and learn about the local community, and even view the Maasai warrior men in traditional dress chanting melodies.
- View the landscape from a hot air balloon.
- Attend a night Safari drive.
Bateleur Camp Kichwa’s various environmentally friendly technologies:
- Usage of hand construction
- Not disturbing existing trees
- Understanding the sensitivity to the location
- Energy-saving light bulbs all around the camp
- Solar-powered technologies in various lodges to reduce fossil fuel consumption in generators
Bateleur Camp is does a wonderful job of conservation and recycling to minimize their carbon footprint. For more information check out the book Eco-Travel Guide, and click here to see more information on lodging, pricing, activities, and personal experiences.
Note of Caution
Some companies are truly green and believe in what they’re doing, other say they are green so they can be on the “eco-friendly” bandwagon. It is best to use resources that have researched in the location and business that surround them. Not sure where to find resources? Check the TSCPL catalog, and here are a few books to keep you traveling while remaining green: