How it started
Three years ago, I decided to change my path from becoming a lawyer to following my passion as a photographer and writer. Being curious about our world, I have been committed to exploring and constantly learning from other cultures, sharing my experiences through my art to inspire others.
Throughout my journey, I started noticing things that bothered me and made me question our impact on nature. In Iceland, for example, people were not respecting the fragile environment of some places by going over fences to take perfect photos and selfies or using their cars to access remote sites, destroying flora and fauna. The more I travelled, and more I noticed this kind of negative behaviour towards nature and local communities.
Protecting the places I visit quickly became fundamental to me. For my Master’s degree, I decided to write my memoir about social media and its impact on travelling. I had the chance to learn more about the environmental and cultural consequences of tourism on our world and use this information to educate myself and shape my work around responsible and sustainable travel.
Since then, my goal has become simple:
Inspire others to explore whilst caring for our planet.
Here is a bit more about what I have learned:
Tourism is a great way to discover the world and meet with other cultures, but it is also today a prominent industry, and its growth has had a social and environmental effect on many countries. That is why understanding its impact is vital to ensure a viable expansion of the industry. Creating safe and sustainable travel will become more crucial over time, and I believe we all have something to offer.
Here are examples of the impacts of tourism & what you can do:
WILDLIFE, ECOSYSTEMS AND LANDS
Tourism has had a consequential impact on flora and fauna due to activities and building development alterations, damaging our ecosystem and leaving animals without their homes.
What you can do: you can help restore our forests by volunteering or donating to charities focusing on reforestation – Rainforest Alliance, Plant Your Change, Eden Reforestation Projects, Arbor Day Foundation. You can become a One Tree Planted Ambassador to educate yourself on significant issues affecting wildlife and nature and support biodiversity. You can also be part of expeditions with researchers to travel the world whilst making a difference with Earth Watch.
Marine life, including coral reefs, should also be looked after and protected from the consequence of cruises, tourism activities and litter in the sea.
What you can do: you can join more sustainable marine activities and learn about our fragile ecosystem and how to preserve it. You can also follow the Coral Gardeners beautiful work on protecting and restoring coral reefs.
CULTURAL SITES AND HERITAGE
Tourism is a beautiful way to help us discover other cultures and learn more about them. Unfortunately, it also can harm historical sites and nature if not visited carefully. Over-tourism has generated dangerous environmental effects on our sites, and we have, for instance, observed many cases of path erosions over the past few years.
What you can do: you can be mindful and considerate of the places you attend. Learn about them beforehand, and respect them whilst visiting.
This problem has been the centre of attention in many industries. Like others, tourism has contributed to pollution and global warming in many ways, and it will be vital for all to combat these environmental issues. Air pollution has not stopped increasing with the number of tourists each year, seriously impacting local air quality and contributing to climate change.
What you can do: you can lower your carbon footprint by travelling less, taking more non-stop or greener flights (Skyscanner has an option that only shows flights with lower CO₂ emissions + EcoPassenger calculates the environmental impact of your transport) or offsetting your carbon emissions with Cool Effect. You can also reduce your impact by using eco-friendly tours, volunteering or greener methods of transport (use public transportation or walk/bike).
Litter and waste have also been major issues and have contributed dramatically to environmental problems. Many places suffer from it, from the oceans, where cruises dangerously impact marine life, to the mountains, where hikers leave behind waste.
What you can do: you can encourage responsible travel by telling people to respect the places they visit and join volunteering projects such as beach cleaning – GVI, Fronteering, Plan My Gap Year. You can also reduce your use of plastic during your travels and be mindful of your packaging.
RESIDENTS’ LIFE AND COMMUNITIES
Travelling has a beautiful power to bring us closer to each other, but it also harms communities. Tourism has engendered price inflation in many countries, with an increase in shops and everyday life. Mass tourism has also created a loss of authenticity where traditions have been affected.
What you can do: you can respect the customs of each country you visit and keep the sense of community by connecting with the local population through collective missions – Plan My Gap Year.
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