What is Ecotourism?
According to Wikipedia, Ecotourism is a form of tourism involving visiting fragile, pristine, and relatively undisturbed natural areas, intended as a low-impact and often small scale alternative to standard commercial mass tourism.
Ecotourism is also called sustainable tourism. Wherein you have to travel but respect the nature and surrounding. Your primary aim as an Ecotourist should be to prevent the degradation of the environment.
Ecotourism should help to conserve the environment. Another to develop tourist accommodation to benefit everyone involved and sustain the well being of local people.
Ecotourism is a very important aspect of traveling. Tourism allows us to immerse ourselves into the cultures and lifestyles of others and leaves lasting impressions that aren’t likely to be forgotten.
What is Climate Change?
Climate Change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale.
Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly. The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century. All due to increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.
Impact of climate change
In the age of globalization, air travel has grown exponentially. As a result, carbon emissions have also increased. The tourism industry is being forced to adapt constantly due to climate change.
Beach resorts are threatened by rising sea levels, heatwaves decrease the number of visitors in warmer regions. Volatile storms, hurricanes, and cyclones can deter tourists from visiting those places.
How can you be a part of it as an eco traveler?
Individually, one person taking these baby steps to go green might not seem to make much of an impact. However, if we all take simple strides towards being more conscious of our choices, collectively we can make a world of difference.
Few steps we take to perform ecotourism are:
- Lightening up your load
Less baggage will save money and increase fuel efficiency. Lesser load means less hassle and handling. Who doesn’t buy stuff when going on a trip? So try to keep some space for the return trip.
- Saving water
Shower for less time. Turn off the faucet and taps when not required. Reuse towels multiple times. You don’t know the exact water table level of the area you are going too so respect every drop of water you are getting.
- Conserve Electricity
When you leave your room, turn off the lights, fans, AC. Consider leaving the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. The housekeeping staff won’t clean your room every day. This will save on harsh chemical cleaning supplies and the electricity of vacuuming and washing bed linens.
- Reduce Plastic Waste
Take a BPA-free or steel/copper water bottle that you can refill. Don’t buy new plastic bottles wherever you go. Carry a bottle with yourself. Don’t throw water if it turns warm and you need cold. Either drink it or put it in some flower pot or garden or wherever you find soil.
- Street Shopping
Seek out indigenous artisans and learn about their craft. Buying from local markets will help the artisans. It will promote their craft and help to grow them. Secondly, those are cheaper.
By talking to them you will get to know more about the cultures. You will know how bitter the conditions are becoming for local artisans in this modern world.
- Be a traveler, not a tourist.
Take time to immerse yourself in the local music, art, and cuisine. Embrace the cultural differences that make it unique. Get to know the locals and how they view life. Try to talk to them in their language. In this era, you can easily translate anything. The smile that you will see on their face will bring contention to your heart. Do not click pictures of people without their permission. There will be no difference between an animal in the zoo and the people. Try to click pictures with their consent and show them what you have clicked. You will feel blessed in seeing them elated.
- Protect animals.
Instead of shooting with a gun, shoot with a camera. Pictures of endangered species will bring you money and satisfaction. Poaching them will endanger them more and hurt your conscience.
At many major attractions, animals are unfairly caged or forced to participate in performances. This causes stress and discomfort. Instead of paying to view animals in captivity, go sightseeing to see them at play in their natural habitats.
We should explore the hiking trails that offer colorful views of nature and close encounters with diverse species.
- Keep the nature clean
Nature reserves and national parks help prevent deforestation and pollution. They also protect the habitat of endemic species. The revenue that ecotourism provides can help replace profits from exploitative practices such as mining or slash ‘n’ burn agriculture.
It can also help ensure the long-term financial viability of the area. Visit natural parks to admire, not to make it a garbage bin. Keep your waste to you and throw only in the dustbins.
- Minimize your waste.
Bottled water, packaged food, takeaway containers, and other disposable products are often part of traveling but they don’t have to be. Here, being informed and prepared can save you from creating unnecessary waste along the way. It can save you money too.
- Never feed wild animals.
You may think this is a kind act but you may ruin their natural diet. Once accustomed to this diet they seek the company of tourists constantly. The items you feed them may act as poison for them. Their health can suffer due to allergy or gastric problems.
- Reduce fuel consumption.
Don’t use vehicles, walk by foot or use public transport, commercial vehicles or non-motorized vehicles. If you are traveling solo or only two people, share the ride. Mitigate fuel consumption as much as you can. Prefer hiking overtaking a rail. In the way, you may get a lot of spots to click beautiful pictures, or you may see exotic species of flowers. Hiking will take you a step closer to nature and help it too.
These little steps will make you a more responsible citizen of this Earth. You will be among the few percents of the people who care for nature. I hope your next trip is eco-friendly and enjoyable.
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