I found Ethical Traveler via a BBC article about their World’s Ten Best Ethical Travel Destinations 2014. I am a massive fan of doing the right thing ethically; the most ecologically friendly thing- the choice that makes the most sense for everyone and for the future. I’m a massive fan of recycling, I go out of my way to recycle rather than chuck something straight in landfill, I like reusing, I’m interested in new, more eco-friendly technology and solutions to environmental problems that usually just need a little thinking outside the box. So the article got me thinking about why I only consider those things when I’m at home- easily, it’s because of the routine and the stability at home that makes it easier to form plant- and people-friendly habits, but it’s something I should consider expanding as my own little force-field of effect on the world expands too.
Ethical Traveler rates their destinations on a whole host of features, from environmental protection and preservation, to human rights, to animal and social welfare. For me this idea was inspiring, I was excited as I read it, because of course there’s as much room to reduce our impact on the planet and make an impact on people when we travel as there is when we’re just at home. One of their tag lines is to make an impact using the ‘economic clout’ of tourism- which is a pretty cool and economically sound idea. They focus specifically on developing countries, so not much of Europe gets a mention and to me, and I’m sure to a lot of you, the destinations that feature look wonderful but also a little like blue-skies dreaming budget-wise.
That being said, signing up to their newsletter is free and will keep you informed about what they’re getting up to even if you can’t help. There are volunteer opportunities, ongoing charity projects and then, of course, those amazingly tempting ethical expeditions- but again, price range issues. However, if you’re considering planning a big trip soon and are looking for an exciting destination these are definitely worth a look! Otherwise you can just do a ‘me’ and follow the website slightly longingly.
It did at least get me considering ethics and eco-friendly practises when I travel though and it was partly that, and partly the amazing website, which made me choose Mosaic House to stay when I travelled to Prague recently. They advertise as Prague’s ‘first Carbon Neutral Hostel’ which sounded just cool to me- maybe I’m a nerd. I had the best experience there and I must say I didn’t really notice that it was eco-friendly, apart from the climate control in the rooms being fixed, but that’s because everything is done very subtly and integrated into part of everyday life there, as it should be. It’s certainly going to make me consider looking for this at hostels and hotels in the future. If the option is there, you may as well be planet-people-friendly while you travel; it just makes no sense not to.