Ecotourism is now a popular concept in the worldwide tourism industry. Much like agriculture, waste management, and many other economies, tourism is becoming more environmentally conscious. Ecotourism began as a concept in the late 1960s and early '70s, when the first designated "ecotours" were being given in the Yucatán Peninsula. The concept has grown in popularity in recent years as climate scientists issue ever-increasingly damning reports about the Earth's climate.
What is Ecotourism?
Ecotourism is defined as traveling while being conscious of the resources being used, with particular attention given to greenhouse gas-emitting resources, such as fuel. In a word, travelers participating in ecotourism attempt to see the world sustainably.
How to Travel Sustainably
Easier said than done, of course, but there are several actions you can take to vacation sustainably:
- Visit natural areas - Unless you're an experienced adventurer, you will need to stay in some sort of hotel or resort when you're on vacation. However, by planning a visit to private or state-sponsored wildlife areas and parks, you can actively contribute to organizations dedicated to preserving natural habitats where you visit, plus you can see new landscapes and educate yourself about the animals and people living there.
- Look for and research ecotourism destinations - Many travel destinations around the world are more attuned to ecotourism ideals than others. Research the areas you are planning on visiting and see what the locals are doing to practice sustainability.
- Use efficient, 'green' transportation when possible - Obviously, to get anywhere, you will need to burn some fuel, but once you're there, try to utilize public transportation or other options that move more people at once and run on cleaner fuel, such as monorails or commuter trains.
The above examples are only a few ways to travel sustainably and participate in ecotourism. By being a bit more aware of sustainability, we can all make a difference.