10 Ways to Weave Impact Into Your Vacation
How to travel in style — the ethical way.
Rent a Mini
…Or just take public transportation. Why pay big bucks to fill up a gas-guzzler when a cozy little car will get you where you’re going just as well? Unless you’re planning to go off-roading, or going to a country with poor roads, an SUV is neither necessary nor eco-friendly. And there are many destinations that don’t require a vehicle at all. Get your thrills on a bike, explore the city’s subway, or experience your location on foot. Sure, it may take you seven times as long to get there, but isn’t it the journey that counts?
Don’t Pay to Use Animals
Animals are often captured and kept in captivity, used to entertain tourists, fed junk food, or captured and used as transportation. In the process, many are killed or tortured, some species get closer to extinction, habitats and mating rituals are disrupted. More importantly, it’s a horrible and unnatural life for the animal, and by paying those who keep them in captivity, you’re encouraging other locals to quit their job, capture animals, and do the same.
So, the next time you or your tour guide is tempted to pull a turtle out of the water (which can break their fin, causing them to drown), or feed a monkey (which limits their diet and teaches them to beg instead of forage for food), or buy art painted by an elephant (which is kept captive and forced to learn to paint while being jabbed with burning-hot rods), speak up and protest. The more tourists voice their disapproval, the sooner these practices will stop.
Look for lodges and hotels accredited with the Green Seal Certification for environmentally responsible practices. It’s not such a horrifying idea to use your hotel towel twice, instead of consigning it to an extra energy-depleting wash cycle. In case you’re curious, there are a ton of resources, such as Green Key Global, that can help you find hotels, motels, and resorts committed to improving their eco-friendly performance.