GREEN TRAVEL and ECOLOGICAL TOURISM
Here is just how far reaching this is
10 Places to Explore in 2013
Empty your bucket lists and fill them with these 10 travel destinations for 2013 from the Sierra Club . Read More
Five Luxury Eco-Hotels and B&Bs
There are some amazing alternative lodging options for the more environmentally concerned. And they don't require you to sacrifice that five-star, luxury ambiance. Best of all, they are located in vibrant locations, surrounded by tons of eco-activities. Read more
What Is Ethical and/or Sustainable Eco-Tourism
Ethical and/or sustainable travel entertains and educates the traveler, while respecting native cultures, traditions, and economic activities, indigenous peoples and their crafts, graves, and artifacts, and natural environments. It is also thoughtfully, efficiently, and effectively fosters and invests in their preservation and protection in an ethical and sustainable way through education,
enlightened regulation, and fair and just enforcement, while minimizing or offsetting the traveler's cultural and environmental footprints before, during, and after travel. The combination of well-planned, thoughtful, and careful travel, education, and investment is intended to ensure that future travelers may fully enjoy those same experiences without a loss of or limitations on accessibility, quantity, or quality. When these factors are taken into
consideration, ecological tourism or eco-tourism can be conducted in way that is a net positive, net neutral, or net negative for the destination country(ies)'s culture(s), economies, graves and artifacts, or natural environments, or any combination of same. Our goal here is to provide easy access to the most useful and credible sources of information to better inform oneself about What To Look For. . .
What To Look For and What To Avoid in an Ethical Eco-Tour Service Provider
-- Check the website of the U.S. State Department for the most up-to-date travel restrictions, areas and situations to avoid, required and recommended vaccinations, etc.
-- Check the website of the country(ies) of destination for prohibited, duty-free limits and duties, and unlimited types and quantities of plants and animals, unprocessed and processed foods, prescription drugs, materials, equipment, amounts of financial instruments, and cash, etc.
-- Unless it is included in the package, always obtain travel insurance to cover interrupted travel for allowed causes, lost or damaged luggage, or alternative transportation or lodging between and within countries.
-- When traveling to the Galapagos Islands, be advised that unlicensed, inadequately trained airline personnel will spray all the luggage in the overhead bins but not under the seats with an unidentified pesticide from a pressurized canister without adequate notice, so anybody with asthma, allergies, chemical sensitivities, or qualms about being potentially overexposed to an unknown pesticide under inherently unsafe conditions should make arrangements to enter the Galapagos Islands in some other manner than by commercial air carrier.
-- All registrations, certifications, licenses, permits, insurance, and bonds are readily provided, easily accessible, and apparently in order.
-- No formal or informal complaints have been lodged or registered with any government, non-government organization, private travel agency or club, or better business bureau.
-- The cruise, tour, expedition, or structured vacation marketer or provider is fully forthcoming, complete, accurate, and timely in responding to inquiries regarding required or recommended vaccinations, what to take, what will be provided on-board or in-camp, typical and extreme conditions for weather and topography, appropriate dress and equipment for typical and extreme weather conditions and topography, air and drinking water quality, accommodations for restricted diets due to ethical or religious beliefs or food allergies or intolerance's, refrigeration of insulin, etc.
-- The introductory and explanatory letters, fact sheets, background information, and check-lists regarding what to expect at each phase of the trip are timely, complete, accurate, well-organized, visually interesting, and well-written or carefully translated and duplicated.
-- Safety equipment is well-maintained, readily accessible, and within certification, personnel are well-trained in emergency procedures, vacationer emergency training is timely, complete, accurate, and adequate, and drills are conducted as required.
-- Clean, well-equipped dispensary with a medical doctor licensed to practice medicine in the jurisdiction of origin, registration, or destination.
-- Adequate, visible, and accessible ship or camp security.
-- Adequate safe deposit boxes.
-- Clean, well-maintained cabins or tents and common areas.
-- Food is fresh, tasty, and well-prepared under clean and hygienic conditions, and safely and attractively presented.
-- No or acceptably low incidences of communicable diseases among staff, crew, visitors, and passengers.
-- Provides culturally relevant food, music, and entertainment.
-- Recreational equipment and supplies are sufficient, clean, well-maintained, and replaced on an appropriate schedule.
-- Officers, managers, staff, guides, curators, naturalists, and specialist are friendly, courteous, well-mannered, well-educated and -informed, experienced, articulate, bilingual, and understandable.
-- Adequate equipment for reviewing photographs and videos with a schedule for each traveler or cabin.
-- The cruise, tour, expedition, or structured vacation is adequately planned, organized, executed, quality controlled, and/or audited.
-- Solicitation for tips or donations is inoffensive in timing, nature, frequency, or tone
-- Constructive criticism is actively solicited and acted upon in a timely, efficient, and effective manner with follow-up to ensure the problem was solved to complainants satisfaction.
-- No or questionable corporate home government registration, insurance, and/or surety bonds
-- Serious complaints lodged with registering government, sponsoring government, or reputable eco-tourism organizations, including fraud, misrepresentation, or violation of rules of use
-- No or questionable sponsoring government certifications
-- No or questionable memberships in reputable eco-tourism travel organizations or clubs
-- Membership in a disreputable eco-tourism travel organization or club
-- The cruise, tour, expedition, or structured vacation marketer or provider is evasive, incomplete, inaccurate, or late in responding to inquiries regarding required or recommended vaccinations, what to take, what will be provided on-board or in-camp, typical and extreme conditions for weather and topography, appropriate dress and equipment for typical and extreme weather conditions and topography, air and drinking water quality, accommodations for restricted diets due to ethical or religious beliefs or food allergies or intolerances, refrigeration of insulin, etc.
-- The written materials are late, incomplete, inaccurate, poorly organized, visually uninteresting, and/or uninterestingly or poorly written or carelessly translated or duplicated.
-- No or inadequate safety equipment and emergency training and drills.
-- No or poorly staffed or equpped first-aid station without a medical doctor licensed to practice medicine in the jurisdiction of origin, registration, or destination.
-- No or inadequate ship or camp security.
-- No or inadequate safe deposit boxes.
-- Poorly cleaned and maintained cabins or common areas.
-- Food is tasteless, used beyond recommended holding times in refrigerated, chilled, heated, or room temperature conditions, prepared under unclean or unhygienic conditions or adulterated with otherwise avoidable human hair or pest hair, parts, droppings, etc.
-- High incidences of communicable diseases among staff, crew, or passengers.
-- No, inadequate, or inaccurate culturally relevant foods or entertainment.
-- No, insufficient, outdated, or inoperative recreational equipment or supplies.
-- Poorly cleaned and maintained or repaired recreational equipment or supplies.
-- Uneducated, poorly educated, misinformed, inexperienced, inarticulate, or incomprehensible officers, managers, staff, guides, curators, naturalists, or specialist.
-- No or outmoded station for reviewing photographs and videos.
-- The cruise, tour, expedition, or structured vacation is poorly planned, organized, executed, quality controlled, and/or audited.
-- No, unprofessionally prepared, or overpriced videography of the cruise, expedition, or structured vacation.
-- Solicitation for tips or donations is offensive in timing, nature, frequency, or tone.
-- No provision for constructive criticism or negative feedback.
-- Disbelief, denial, or hostility when constructive criticism is provided in a considerate and respectful manner.
Verifying Vendor Claims
It is a challenge to verify the claims that a vendor is organizing, conducting, and marketing cultural and/or ecological expeditions, tours, or structured vacations in an ethical and sustainable way based on a robust, unbiased life cycle analysis of cultural and environmental benefits and detriments. This is most challenging where native practices are inconsistent with ethical behavior and/or the needs of a sustainable environment. This is the case, for example, for native peoples who capture or breed and export native plant or animal species or import or breed non-native plant or animal species. The former and latter activities may or may not be illegal but neither is ethical nor sustainable, even though they may be highly profitable and/or a way of life for a family for generations.
In the absence of their natural predators, parasites, and diseases, non-native species can outcompete, displace, and ultimately threaten the survival of native species that depend on the same habitats for refuge, reproduction, and food, and once they escape human control, as is almost always eventually the case, their populations increase exponentially, overwhelming and undermining natural ecosystems. The more isolated the environment, the greater the risk posed by non-native species.
However, it is naive to believe that education or an appeal to national allegiance or cultural altruism alone will result in a voluntary shift from an illegal and unethical pursuit to a legal and ethical alternative, especially when that new activity is nowhere near as profitable as the old. But is it ethical to pay practitioners not to engage in such activities in the future to make up the difference in profit margins, when such payments are potentially counterproductive and ultimately unsustainable?
With these complexities and grey areas in mind, it is obvious that there is great potential for various degrees of greenwashing by careless or unscrupulous vendors, despite the existence of non-profit organizations dedicated to certifying eco-tours as culturally and environmentally ethical and sustainable. That being the case, the ethical traveler must make a good-faith effort to investigate the claims of the various vendors of this service with due diligence, including a review of the complaints lodged by dissatisfied or skeptical travelers with the certifying NGOs, sponsoring foreign governments, the or Federal, state, or county governments where the business is registered to do business, or the Better Business Bureau. To further that end, we have provided a blog where registering kudos and complaints is encouraged, but we cannot vouch for the veracity of either or whether one vendor is sabotaging the reputation of another to direct traffic away from the former and towards the latter. However, when the identical comment is reproduced in multiple locations, suspect unethical behavior on the part of the commenter.
Sustainable or Ecological Tourism and Ethical Travel
Sustainable or Ethical Travel
Ecological Tourism Societies and Clubs
Ecological Tourism Travel Guides
National Geographic Society Expeditions
Lindblad Expedition Cruises
DISCLAIMER: Green Home Tools is a catalog of useful links to all things green that is intended to provide a unique, one-stop shopping experience for the customer that cannot be duplicated anywhere else. However, the inclusion of a link to a particular source of information, educational institution, product vendor, or service provider does not constitute an endorsement. The customer is encouraged to independently verify any claim made by a vendor of a product or the provider of a service using a general worldwide web search of the name of the vendor and the word "complaints", a search of complaints registered with the state or county in which it is licensed to do business, and/or the Better Business Bureau, all of which allow a search of their databases free of charge, and/or a respected, independent evaluation service provider such as Underwriter Laboratories http://www.ul.com/, Consumer Laboratories http://www.consumerlab.com/ or Angie's List http://www.angieslist.com/, all of which, unfortunately, charge a monthly or annual membership fee for their evaluation services. Despite customer due diligence and good faith effort, sometimes things do not always go as planned, and a reputable product vendor or service provider will always correct any problems brought to their attention in a timely fashion, including the failure of a product or service within a specified warranty period. Any problem encountered by the customer should be brought to the attention of the source or vendor, preferably in writing, so that the customer has a written record of what was communicated to whom and when. This is also useful in documenting disputes for resolution by your credit card service provider. While Green Home Tools assumes no responsibility for a problem encountered or its consequences from following one of our links, nevertheless, we do not want to do business with an affiliate who is unresponsive or uncooperative in solving a problem brought to its attention in writing in a clear, timely, and respectful fashion. Please report to us any problem encountered with any information source, educational institution, product vendor, or contracted service accessed via a Green Home Tools link that has not been corrected to the customer's satisfaction, and, after verifying the customer's claim, we will stop doing business with that affiliate. Thank you for your understanding in this regard. THE MANAGEMENT