Leave nothing but your footprints behind

Clouds and Mist greet the weary traveler on the road to Kudremukh

As a young college student, I have always wanted to pick up my backpack and start exploring different corners of the globe. When I’m traveling, however, it seems to be so difficult to stay conscious of the environmental impact I leave behind. Sometimes it’s the excitement of the trips that make you a little forgetful. Sometimes you don’t have access to eco-friendly products and services. After all, how do we even start to explain the concept of being “green” to someone who doesn’t speak the same language as we do?

As it turns out, I’m not the only one who has this concern. With the growing trend of environment activism, people are getting more and more aware of environmental issues. This increasing awareness is spreading to many industries, including tourism.

As of today, student travelers can also take part in eco-tourism and contribute their part toward a better, healthier Earth.

What is eco tourism?

By definition, it’s the concept of traveling without leaving any negative impact on the local nature. The bigger goal of eco-tourism is to not only minimizing negative impact, but also to help improve the existing condition of the local destination that you are visiting. Eco-tourism is no longer a small niche. The industry has earned $77 billion in 2007 alone. This optimistic fact proves that, there are more green travelers in the world. Together, we can make a difference.

How can you, a young student traveler, participate in this trend?

Get yourself educated

Like I mention above, with the excitement of exploring a new place, it is easy for us to forget all about environmental issues. However, such issues exist everywhere we go. Take a moment before your trip to read up about your destination.

What is the story?
What are the biggest environmental issues?
What have been done to remedy such problems?

Having the answers to these questions is the first step to help raising awareness and improving the condition.

Make wise decisions on your trip
The preliminary research can also help you make wise decisions while on your trip. For example, you may read that
the country you are visiting is struggling to protect certain endangered animals. Knowing that, you will think twice before purchasing an exotic culinary dishes or products made from such animals.

Aside from the immediate products that we buy and consume, student travelers can also make conscious
decision regarding businesses and service providers. For example, green travelers will actively seek and support hotels, restaurants, and tour companies with ethical business practice. Just by choosing sustainable businesses as your vendors, you are helping out with their effort and encouraging other businesses to follow suit.

Keep your eco-friendly habits

Green travelers can also practice the same eco-friendly habits just like when you are at home. For example, when
I am on a trip, I always try to minimize my use of power, water, and other natural resources. We all feel like we should indulge ourselves a little while we are on vacation. However, if you think about it, does Mother Nature
have a day off?

Traveling is always fun and exciting. However, don’t be distracted from what you believe in. As the young
generations, it is part of our responsibilities to preserve our living environment, wherever we go. Hopefully, these tips will help you make the right choice on your next trip!

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