When traveling, we tend to not realize the negative footprint we leave behind. It is easier to fall into oblivion due to the enjoyment that traveling and adventure brings to our hearts, our retina and pretty much our whole body, mind and soul. But yet inevitable, as we travel, we are bound to leave social, environmental and economical traces behind that sometimes, unfortunately, have a deep impact with negative consequences that we can hardly foresee.
It is part of Wildsea Europe´s mission to support conscious, responsible and sustainable travel. It is in our DNA and in our core values system. And we believe sustainable travel to be not only a responsibility, but also as an opportunity for change.
We also love to travel and we do not believe in encouraging "guilt" trips but fun trips. So while we are committed to be part of the rise of the new eco traveller, we seek to provide strategies that are easy to implement by those who are ready to become the change. We like to keep it fun and easy, leaving it up to you to decide how to contribute to a more sustainable world. Our staff and Members, if necessary, will do the chicken dance to raise awareness. But while we discuss that with the rest of the Team, let just look at some very easy ways to follow to become a hot, award-winning eco traveller:
1. CARBON FOOTPRINT: RIDE THAT CHU-CHU TRAIN
Long gone are the days of the Mayflower. Truth to be told, why bother when you can catch a low-cost flight and be at your destination in a matter of hours, minutes even? However the carbon footprint that flying leaves behind is enormous. That is why we encourage you to embrace slow traveling. Because sometimes it is not about the destination but about the journey, catching a train will allow for more scenic views in some cases and some new friends in others. The same goes for cycling and walking. Slow and steady wins the race of a memorable travel, at least.
2. IN THE WORDS OF MC HAMMER: YOU CAN´T TOUCH THIS!
The idea behind this claim is simple: engage only in responsible interactions with wildlife. In short…do not feed the fish, smash the coral reef with your air tank (we know it is hard specially when you are a newbie), do not try any trick in the book to get “the picture” of an animal. You should not be noticed in any way. Use your ninja moves and just touch living things with the power of your mind.
Read our simple, 5 Golden Rules to Marine Wildlife Watching
3. BUYING WILDLIFE ANIMALS, IN ANY SHAPE IS A NO-GO
This is an absolute no-brainer. Of course, we mean do not buy a tiger puppy, but we also include sea shells, sea stars, sea horns, hats or vests made of bear skin, wolf skin, shark teeth or any other animal teeth, pinned butterflies etc. Simply do not buy it. Instead, support the local economies by buying local artisan products for instance. That way you will empower local communities. It is very easy to do and you will do a great favour to the natural and human ecosystems that so warmly host you.
Pretty? No! Coral is pretty where it belongs: alive & under the sea
4. CHECK THAT YOUR TOUR OPERATOR SUPPORTS A GOOD TRAVELING PRAXIS
Since our criteria is biased, now allow me to quote the marvellous article by Costas Christ in National Geographic Travel that served as inspiration for this post:
“I explore on my own most of the time when I travel, but when I do seek out the services of a tour outfitter, I always ask three questions before signing on: What are some of your tour company’s environmentally friendly practices? Can you give me an example of how your trips help to protect and support wildlife or cultural heritage? Do you employ local guides on your trips? These days, any outfitter that cannot provide a clear answer is behind the times. Find another one” Research your Tour Operators, or at least find a platform that does the job for you, like...drumroll please…Wildsea Europe? ☺
5. LIFE IN PLASTIC IS NOT FANTASTIC
If you are unaware of the magnitude of this problem, we recommend that you watch either a Plastic Ocean by explorers Craig Leeson and Tanya Streeter, or this United Nations report . By carrying a reusable bottle, specially in warm areas where the consumption of plastic bottles is huge, you will reduce incredibly the use of your plastic. You can also carry with you a camping set, in case they offer you plastic utensiles, plates or cups. For the ladies, there is now a traveling mentrual cup that will take no space in your luggage. Use fabric cloth as napkins instead of paper napkins. If you would like to find out ways to live without generating trash, trash is for tossers gives you a few hints.