Ethical Adventuring and Green Getaways
I know I’m a little premature with this one, but with the festive season over yet winter still upon us, my mind is turning to holidays. You must have noticed the travel agents’ New Year advertising campaigns trying to tempt us all with the promise of the exotic, and year on year increasing numbers of Brits are taking the pundits up on their offers, and fleeing the country searching for weather, activities and the holiday atmosphere that you just don’t get in the UK.
I’m feeling like one of the lucky ones at the moment. Rather than still having several months to wait, I shall be jetting off to foreign lands sooner than most – in only a few weeks time I shall be exploring all that India has to offer. It’s a trip I’ve been looking forward to for a while now, and although I’m sure the country has many challenges to offer, I don’t think India will fail to disappoint in terms of beauty and wonder, cultural diversity and tasty food.
In the face of such excitement in anticipation of a holiday, there is nevertheless a big issue looming… It’s all very well looking on at SkiDubai’s desert snow dome in judgement when I myself am indulging in totally unnecessary long-haul flying. Ok, so one trip to India versus 3 football-pitches of snow frozen exclusively for Dubai’s affluent skiers may not be an entirely equal comparison, but where exactly do you set your boundaries for what is, and what isn’t acceptable as a luxurious indulgence. It is possible to indulge in chocolate ethically with brands such as Green & Black’s and Divine, but is there such a thing as ethical long-haul flying? Offsetting the carbon emissions of your flight is a good place to start when journeying abroad (you can offset the carbon emissions of your shopping here at EthicalSuperstore too) but I’m not convinced that even that can entirely assuage the negative impact of aeroplane travel.
However, the environmental cost of burning aeroplane fuel isn’t the only issue at stake when considering the impact of increasingly available international travel. Many folks these days go abroad seeking their own slice of wilderness, craving that special place that hasn’t yet been overrun by tourism, yet often missing (or choosing to miss) the irony that their own presence makes it a desirable tourist spot. Once people start to arrive in these places, it is generally only a matter of time before the rest will follow, so it becomes of the utmost importance to tread lightly and to be an ethical traveller who takes no decision lightly. The land beneath every high rise holiday hotel was once somebody’s quiet paradise, but when ethics are thrown to one side in the interests of expansion then this is very easy to forget.
Various titles have been published recently designed to help those who want to travel abroad but would like to remain green and retain good ethics. The Good Tourist: An Ethical Traveller’s Guide is a great read for anyone interested in responsible travel and the people they meet, and is also a good practical guide to thinking about which causes are worthy to support after one’s holiday. If you want an eco-friendly residence when abroad, Green Places to Stay is full of ideas and inspiration, and Organic Places to Stay in the UK can give you advice on where to stay closer to home, helping to cast aside some of your concerns about carbon emissions.
As for myself, I will do my best to be a responsible tourist and maintain and good practice when in India, taking the time to treat where I go and who I meet with due respect, and hopefully it will be an education as well as a holiday. My final concern is that I will be abroad for Mother’s Day… I must remember to get that one covered before I leave!