Ecotourism explained ~ it pays for travelers to educate themselves [2]

In an ocean of terminology regarding what’s green travel and what’s not, here are some pointers from The Sierra Club, on what to look out for, and what you can do personally to ensure your travels render minimum impact on the planet and maximum benefit to others in the countries you visit.

While traveling offers us opportunities to discover natural wonders, it’s often environmentally detrimental. Ethical Traveler, a grassroots organization dedicated to promoting responsible globetrotting, tries to address this problem. Each year, its experts put together a top-ten list of the “best ethical destinations.” They’re quick to admit that this is a complicated task, but they base their ratings on three categories: environmental protection, social welfare, and human rights. This year, Argentina, Belize, and Chile took the lead.

Before leaving for your grand Latin American adventure, though, unplug all your appliances and have your newspaper subscription held (that is, if you’re still doing the dead-tree thing). Consider buying carbon offsets (Sustainable Travel International sells them, as do similar organizations) to make up for some of the damage done by airplane transit. And wherever you go, try to buy local products, use public transportation instead of renting a car, and respect local wildlife.

If you’re interested in contributing your time or money to ecotourism, get in touch with a group such as Responsible Travel, Eco Tour, Travelers’ Philanthropy, or EcoClub to explore more options.

Inspiration: Sierra Club Blog

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