If you’re sitting at home wondering how to make a difference to the world, well, there are a plenty of things you can do by getting out there.
With climate change a very real danger, more of us are looking to do our bit to save the planet. And although travel is a fantastic way to experience other cultures and enjoy life, aspects of it, such as air travel are very polluting.
Add in to the mix high profile cases of tourism beauty spots that have been trashed by unchecked tourism (Koh Phi Phi, Boracay, Machu Picchu etc) and it’s easy to feel a bit jaded and like staying at home is the best option.
If you want to be a super traveller and save the world, you’ll find opportunities to do plenty of things to help. This isn’t an exhaustive list of eco tourism options, but a list of ideas to help you think bigger.
If your idea of a great holiday is to get beautifully bronzed on a stunning beach then this might be the eco tourism choice for you. And, if you’re a regular beach goer, you’ll probably be all to aware of the amount of crap that washes up on shore.
Volunteering to help clean the world’s beaches can be done through many local environmental charities and businesses, so wherever you’re going, reach out before you go and ask. Dive shops, surfing organisations and marine based charities will all be able to point you in the right direction.
If, for some reason, you can’t find anyone to get involved with, why not start beach cleaning yourself. From Bali to Bermuda, there will be plenty of work for you to do. Maybe you could even chat to the local tourism board to get them involved?
Also take a look at Ocean Conservancy’s site: https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/international-coastal-cleanup/volunteer/.
This lists beach clean ups coming up all around the world. So you can do your bit and get a tan!
Hearing about the rate of deforestation around the world is pretty scary. But you can help by working with reforestation programs, with options pretty much everywhere around the world.
Many of these are run by volunteer associations, and they will charge a small fee for you to participate in the activity. These normally include a home stay or some kind of basic accommodation (don’t expect The Ritz!!) and a couple of meals a day.
Run a search online for ‘reforestation projects’, or check out https://www.goabroad.com/volunteer-abroad/search/reforestation/volunteer-abroad-1.
In all honesty, this one is more a career choice than a stop gap travel option. But working with a non-government organisation usually means working with some kind of humanitarian organisation or charity.
It won’t always involve lots of travel either, but a strong sense of doing your bit for the health and well-being of our planet and it’s inhabitants is pretty priceless.
Experience in sectors like event management, corporate fundraising and management will help. There are plenty of entry level roles too which can be a good way to work your way up.
Search for NGO Jobs online, or take a look at https://www.indeed.co.uk/Ngo-jobs.
If you watched David Attenborough’s Our Planet on Netflix, or Planet Earth on BBC and you ended up feeling helpless and angry, this might be the option for you.
Working with animal conservation charities is a great way to see first hand how these charities are doing their bit. They often also work with the local community so they’re a good way to experience real local culture too.
There plenty of options for animal conservation, with many companies offering the eco tourism option for volunteers.
Take a look at https://www.workingabroad.com/project-finder/ for a wide range of animal based conservation activities.
Although you might not have the expertise to prevent rhino poaching in the Serengeti (we strongly advise against doing that without an expert and an armed guard), you can get out there and be an eco activist yourself.
We mentioned beach cleaning on your own, but you can also try and set up a local team to clean rivers and forests of plastic pollution. Try speaking to local groups and ask what their main problems are and what you can do to help. If you’re heading somewhere in particular, perhaps you can muck in for a few days in exchange for a bed…
Locals are normally very resourceful anyway, so they probably don’t need you to set up a brand new local charity. But they might appreciate a helping hand, or even someone who can raise awareness of their plight with the mainstream.
Think outside the box and you never know what you might find yourself doing. And whatever you do, any attempt to help save the world is a good deed!
Don’t forget: Charity starts at home. So if you’re looking to save the world and be an eco warrior, make sure you’re already doing your bit yourself.
- Minimise your use of plastic and recycle whenever possible.
- Reduce your waste, in terms of food, packaging and belongings.
- Buy sustainably produced products. More and more clothes companies are moving to sustainable production, but pick brands with a clear eco statement such as Patagonia, North Face, H&M/Hennes, Stella McCartney and People Tree.
- Avoid using toxic chemicals in sunscreen or insect repellent. Look for natural alternatives.
- Avoid unnecessary travel. Enjoy where you are and make the most of it, don’t just aim to see as much as possible by flying/driving everywhere.
- Walk, cycle, use public transport or just stop and smell the flowers.
If you’re looking for a way to save the world, we hope you’ve found some inspiration here.
Take a look also at
http://grassrootsvolunteering.org/volunteer_opportunities , which has lots of great options both free and paid for eco volunteers and conservation projects.
If you have experience volunteering, or you have any suggestions, we’d love to hear them. So drop us a comment below… And don’t forget to share!