Roam the World Without Ruining It: The Ethical Traveler
The Ethical Traveler by Imogen Lepere provides a roadmap for doing good while you’re on the road.
Travel can be a blast, but there are hidden costs to your trips that go deeper than your pockets.
From potential impacts on the environment or the communities we visit, to respecting others’ cultures, taking a moment to consider our choices can make a real impact on the planet and other people.
Whether it’s doing the research to make sure the money we pay to see wild animals isn’t going into the pockets of those abusing them or forgoing the familiarity of Starbucks for local restaurants, there are countless ways we can travel more consciously.
This book offers 100 tips to help protect the planet, support communities, and plan trips that are more mindful for anyone who wants to explore the world while conserving everything that makes it so special.
Yes, travel and flying in particular do cause carbon emissions (although there are tips to mitigate this in this very book). However, tourism also creates one out of every ten jobs globally. Many of these are in remote corners where communities play a crucial role in protecting delicate ecosystems and ways of life.
Others allow those on the margins to gain independence in societies where that is far from a given. Travel can be one of many pathways to making our planet a safer, fairer, and kinder place – somewhere people and nature thrive in harmony. Here’s how to see the world while helping to save it, one trip at a time.
Excerpt from the Book: Give High Season the Cold Shoulder
Lower prices, fewer crowds, and a warmer welcome are just a few reasons to travel during the off-season. This is a good ethical tourism example.
In spots that struggle with overtourism – the point at which the needs of the tourism industry become unsustainable for a destination – resources such as water and transport may become harder for locals to access.
Low season can be wonderfully atmospheric (picture Venice’s deserted backstreets in January mist), while ‘shoulder season’ – those months between high and low – may actually provide preferable weather.
Hiking Crete’s Kydoni Gorge, for example, is far more enjoyable in May, when the floor is carpeted with wild herbs and temperatures are a comfortable 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit).
Be Aware of Greenwashing
Many more people care about creating a sustainable future and understand that every dollar or Euro they spend could be seen as a vote for the kind of world they want to live in. Unfortunately, those canny folks in the marketing department have also spotted this, which is why communications in the tourism industry are filled with ‘greenwashing’.
Look out for vague claims without stats to back them up, no sign of locals on an operator’s social media channels, no mention of independent businesses, and claims that they align with specific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) just by the nature of what they do. If you suspect, snitch! Press the company for more details and if none are provided, report them to that country’s tourism board.
Imogen Lepere is an award-winning travel writer based in London who specializes in food, female empowerment, and community. Her previous adventures include living with a commune on a Thai island, couch surfing around Scandinavia, riding the Trans-Mongolian Railway, sailing to Indonesia’s Spice Islands, and that summer spent with a nudist colony in Greece.