Saturday, December 26, 2009

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: Ecotourism and Environmental Responsibility

By Nuno Alex Lopes

When responsible tourism can be implemented, the indigenous population is more likely to remain in their village or region rather than fleeing to cities,where jobs may be more plentiful. If you are not used to recycling, conserving water, or generally being gentle on the environment, I urge you to take this opportunity to incorporate some Earth-friendly habits into your life.

Even innocently leaving water running in a sink for a short period of time can have a harmful effect on an area with water shortages. Some communities in North America have recently been forced to shut down their businesses for short periods of time in the summer due to water scarcity. Independent travelers are faced with opportunities every dayto slow down the progress of environmental erosion. To do your part, please consider the following:

Carry water-filtration tablets, a filter, or water purifier rather than buying bottled water. Clean up your garbage. Never leave it behind - especially if you're backpacking or hiking. And recycle whenever possible.

Reuse towels and bedding at hotels to save on water consumption. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth, and take short showers instead of a bath. Choose fresh, locally grown foods over imported foods.

When offered a choice, opt for non-mechanized recreation: Nordic skiing instead of snowmobiling, sailing instead of jet skiing. Whenever possible, take a form of transportation that causes the least amount of pollution (a cyclo over a motorbike,public transportation over a taxi). If on a wildlife tour, do not disturb (or feed) wild animals;stay at least 200 feet from whales and other sea life. Don't buy products made from endangered animals or plants. Stay on maintained trails when hiking.

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