While the growing number of eco-resorts and organisations working in this sector are a comforting thought, staying at one might not be that comforting. More if you travel to see the Earth and leave it as it’s supposed to be. Though I applaud and support every such effort, there’s more beneath the surface. Some steps so easy, so simple that you might not have even thought of.
You can call yourself an eco-traveller only if, you can answer a “yes” to all these questions –
Do you switch off your cell phone while travelling?
Until some time ago, even I did not realise the full impact my cell phone was making on the surroundings. My reason to switch it off was to keep people at bay while visiting nature parks and places of solitude. And then, I read Mike Pandey’s reason for the almost disappeared bees from the Valley of Flowers in India. Going by his words, bees get distracted by the vibrations emitted from cell phones and often collide to death as a result. This, in turn, effects pollination and more, putting the whole ecological balance in a lurch. No wonder the national park has a much lesser variety of flowers today than compared to a decade back.
Do you take public transport?
Okay, I accept that driving down in your own snazzy SUV while travelling is the stuff dream trips are made of. But if you keep on making such trips, your kids might inherit the SUV but will have no place to go. Taking a cab fall in the same category too. You simply aren’t travelling eco-friendly if you’re burning that much of fuel, and adding to pollution as well. Plus, public transport is cheaper too. Consider the example from my recent trip, a public bus from Mcleodganj to Dharamsala costs INR 15 while taking a cab costs you INR 300!
Are you sure that your eco-friendly resort is actually eco-friendly?
Merely putting up a board that says “eco-friendly resort” doesn’t guarantee the fact. Here’s the checklist of what makes a property eco-friendly –
- Solar waters heaters that are used as much as possible in place of electric ones.
- Most of the staff comprises of natives of the place.
- Rainwater is stored. In simpler words, rainwater harvesting.
- Waste is separately dumped, disposed and then recycled.
- Materials used in the building of the property; no toxics, no chemicals.
To make it simple, just keep the two Ws in your mind – Water and Waste. And the next time you book an “eco” resort, make sure you ask the right questions.
Are you raising your voice at every such offence?
Most of the times, we overlook individuals or organisations flouting environmental norms. While many of you wouldn’t know, even nailing a board on a tree is a punishable offence. So the next time you see somebody chopping off a tree, scribbling their names (or some other graffiti) on a fort’s wall, using fresh wood to make a bonfire, raise your voice. Take help of NGOs or the local police if you aren’t able to deter them alone.
Are you managing the waste well?
Old discarded whiskey bottles, plastic wrappers and all sort of such rubbish is such a common sight that we have turned used to it. But rather than turning used to, I’ll suggest you to set a lesson for others. While you might be a good denizen, picking your waste, you can do much more. Join hands with organisations like Waste Warriors that organise tours and even treks to clean stretches of tourism infested places. You might set a lesson or two, and every changed thought counts in the long run.
So, while you jog your brains and indulge more in eco-friendly travel, I’m off for more brain storming on such travel ideas. Let me know your thoughts on the story by leaving a comment.
Till then, happy travelling.
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