Planning Your Trip – Travel and tourism is the number one industry on earth, with 700 million people spending $2–3 trillion on their trips annually. This can lead to overconsumption of energy and water, disruption of local cultures and pollution of land and marine ecosystems at vacation destinations. Cruise ships alone dump 90,000 tons of sewage and garbage into our oceans daily.
Keeping the Eco in Ecotourism – For a true ecotourist experience, bear in mind the difference between nature and adventure travel. Jungle rafting might be exhilarating, but unless it brings economic and social benefit to local people, it isn’t ecotourism. Sometimes, the line is blurred. Sierra Club works with in-country guides, local outfitters and local nonprofits whenever possible. No matter what a lodge or tour is called, it’s worth asking for eco-specifics before you book. Travel and communication have made us a global community, and becoming an ecotourist should mean giving back.
Hotel Stays – Participate in hotel linen programs, or let the hotel know that it’s not necessary to change your sheets and towels every day. Participate in hotel recycling programs by placing recyclables in appropriate bins. Carry a dry cleaning or grocery bag with you in which to carry dirty laundry home.