The United Nations designated 2002 as the International Year of Ecotourism. Well it’s 2010 and I bet that the majority of people haven’t taken an eco-vacation. I know I haven’t.
We try to be eco-friendly. We buy reusable water bottles and lunch pails. We turn off the lights more often and take shorter showers. But what if we could reduce, reuse and recycle while having an amazing vacation?
I’d say, “Sign me up.”
I did some Internet research and I found out some major and minor ways you can be an eco-tourist.
Minor Ways to Help Mother Earth
The International Ecotourism Society has 10 energy saving tips for travelers.
Here are three of them:
Stay longer at your destination to avoid frequent air travel. I think we could all stand to stay a little longer at our chosen destination. This way you can discover, learn and play more while reducing your carbon footprint.
Travel light. Every extra, unneeded item in your bag adds to the weight of the plane, which increases the carbon emissions of your flight. Travel light and leave a light carbon footprint behind.
Just like at home, turn off water and unplug electronics when you leave. When you’re on vacation, you’re most likely not spending too much time in your hotel room. It’s easy to forget that just because you’re not paying for the electricity that doesn’t mean that Mother Nature should have to pay too.
Major Ways to See and Save the Earth
Travel somewhere that involves more hiking and less traffic. Hiking, kayaking, biking and other similar activities involve little to no adverse impacts on the Earth. Plus, it’s a great way to explore the beauty and diversity of nature.
Stay at eco-friendly hotels. Although it may be a bit more expensive it is doable. Some hotels claim to be green simply because they ask you if you want to reuse your towels and sheets. Hopefully these websites will help sort out the imposters from the true blue “green” hotels.
Be a voluntourist. A voluntourist is a combination between a tourist and a volunteer. He or she travels a location and gives back to the community, whether it be through developing wildlife and plant life or helping at a local school. Being a voluntourist might sound like something college students do, but anyone, at any age can do it.
Ecotourism covers a broad range of vacation destinations and activities to help preserve the Earth, which is one of the reasons why eight years ago the U.N. made an effort to promote it. Along with the range of ecotourism choices comes a range of things tourists can do – from giving their time to leaving that tenth pair of shoes that probably won’t get worn anyway at home.