Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Types of Eco Tourism --- What things can you do to be a true ecotourist?

Types of eco tourism gone wrong
Boracay produces 7 to 10 tons of garbage each day…

Some 5 kilos of cigarette butts are collected from Boracay's White Beach everyday…

In the last 5 years, a dramatic rise in water levels was noted in Boracay and coasts are thinning…

Mount Data National Park used to be a 5,512 mossy forest. However, the mossy forest is now a mere 89 hectares…

Mount Pulag, the second highest peak in the Philippines (2,954 masl), one of the nation’s most critical watersheds and one of the most beautiful tourist sights, known even outside the country, is dying… 

Similar stories can be found in various natural attractions all over the world and since travel and tourism continue to rise especially in Asia, once pristine spots are now being milked for cash at the expense of the environment.

How can I be a responsible ecotourist?
As travelers, we all can do something to help lessen the negative impact of travel to the environment.  If you are an ecotourist or if you plan to be one, check out 10 of my favorite tips on what we can do to plan your trip responsibly and make responsible choices while on vacation:

1. Unplug before you leave, unplug while you are there: Turn off lights and unplug household appliances that can be left unplugged while you are away. Turn off all the lights and air conditioner/heater when you leave your room, and unplug unnecessary appliances.

2. Travel light: Pack only what you need, and don't bring things that will become waste. 

3. Avoid litter: Bring garbage bags and bring home whatever garbage you brought with you. Ask and learn about proper garbage disposal at your destination. 

4. Fly responsibly: Opt for more environmentally friendly transport such as trains, buses, and passenger boats. Plan your trip so that you minimize air travel, and choose, whenever possible, to stay longer in a destination instead of making many short trips.

5. Choose greener ways to get around: Utilize public transportation (bus, train, city car, etc.) and alternative modes of transportation (walking, bicycle, non-motorized vehicles, horse, camel) as much as possible. It's a more sustainable way to get around, and also a healthier and more enjoyable way to get to know the place you are visiting.

6. Portable water: As much as possible, bring your own portable water and reusable water bottle to avoid buying bottled water.

7. Save Water: Use the minimum amount of water needed for a shower/bath, don't let water run while shaving, brushing or washing, and check if the hotel has a linen reuse program - if so, reuse your towels and bed sheets by placing the card to indicate you don't wish to have them washed every day, if not, request hospitality staff not to change them every day.

8. Respect the environment: Never touch or harass animals. Always follow designated trails. Support conservation by paying entrance fees to parks and protected sites.

9. Buy local: Choose local lodges, use local buses, eat in local restaurants, shop in local markets. Never buy crafts or products made from protected or endangered animals.

10. Give back: Contribute to and participate in the community projects, and support those companies that are making positive impacts on the lives of local hosts. Like others, you'll find you enrich your travel experience when you help contribute to the well-being of the communities that you're visiting.

Where can I go?
In my last previous post on the different types of eco tourism, we said that ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. This means that those who implement and participate in ecotourism activities should follow these ecotourism principles:
  • Minimize impact.
  • Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
  • Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
  • Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
  • Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people.
  • Raise sensitivity to host countries' political, environmental, and social climate.

The International ecotourism Society (TIES) is the world's oldest and largest international ecotourism association that seeks to be the global source of knowledge and advocacy uniting communities, conservation, and sustainable travel. Its website provides an Ecotourism Explorer tool that will help you find different types of eco tourism sites, organizations, tour operators, and programs around the globe.

David Bach’s book ‘Go Green, Live Rich’ is also a rich source of references for green vacations and responsible travel.  Check out his book to know more about green vacations and how going green can also make you wealthy.  

If you are planning your next vacation, have fun while being responsible and explore the different types of eco tourism.

http://www. ecotourism.org/
http://contrailsshareasyougo. blogspot.com/

Photo thanks to http://www.flickr.com/photos/ bigberto/

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Examples of how going green saves you money – How can we all cut down and save some money?

Examples of how going green saves you money are all over the internet. It is no wonder, that these days, more and more people are finding ways to save money. When the global financial crisis hit in 2008, an astounding $50 trillion of wealth was erased globally. People lost their jobs and were driven to the streets to demand for justice and support. Even until now, the global economy has not been fixed and incomes, jobs, and credit are still in short supply.

Before it happened, a lot of people knew that the level of consumerism in the world has been at an all time high but a lot of the money spent never really existed.  People where spending at debt.  According to a website that offers services to erase debts:

  • 70% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
  • 85% of Americans have a true net worth value of less than 250$.
  • 62% of Americans say that money is their biggest problem.
  • 41% of Americans do not have an emergency fund.
  • 80% of marriages that end in divorce cite financial problems as the leading reason.
  • 60% of college students leave college with loans and credit card debt.
  • 96% of those 65 and over die broke.
  • The average American saves less than $0.02 of every $ earned.

Has the crisis hit you in any way?
If not, are you prepared to lose your job should another downturn happen?
Are you also currently in debt?
Do you have enough savings to support you through retirement?

Controlling spending and consumption is one of the greenest ways of sustaining our lives and also rescuing our planet. This is also one reason why examples of how going green saves you money has become a topic of interest. It is a win-win for both man, as we save money, sustain our lifestyles, and reduce the stress that comes with having too much unnecessary things that clutter our lives; and nature, as we employ more efficient ways of using our natural resources, slowing down on consuming limited resources, and putting a stop to all types of pollution that slowly kill the only planet we live in.

We can start generating a lot of savings by slowly changing how we purchase and consume some of our basic necessities like food, water, and clothing. Although this may entail some sacrifices, the benefits you will reap far outweigh the little changes you will make in your lifestyle.  Read on these examples of how going green saves you money and calculate how much savings you can generate by trying them. 


  • Eat less meat. Try cutting your meat consumption little by little. Aside from it being more expensive, meat is also one of the most resource-intensive food to produce.
  • Eat raw.  A lot of material exists about the health benefits of eating raw food. And because you consume less or no energy in preparing them, you save money as well. You (and the planet!) save a lot more when you buy fresh, locally produced food items.
  • Eat less junk. I know a lot of people who feast on junk food everyday. Imagine the savings you can generate (and litter you reduce) by simply skipping on your favorite junk and replacing it with healthier, cheaper options.


  • Break-a-bottle-a-day.  Billions of money are spent consuming bottled water. Imagine the savings you will generate if instead of buying 1 bottle a day, you buy a reusable water container made of glass, aluminum, or PET 5 plastic and refill that with clean, free water.  
  • Turn off the tap. Dripping faucets and leaks will cost you a lot.  Fix them as soon as possible to save water and money. Keeping the water flowing while brushing your teeth, for example, is a very costly (not to mention, insensitive) way of wasting a very precious resource.


  • Think before you buy.  Do you really need to buy another shirt or dress? Clothes have become one of the fastest moving items these days and as they become cheaper and cheaper, people are drawn to stuff their closets with clothes that are in trend but that they will usually just wear a few times. How much money will you save if you plan your shopping and become smarter with your clothing choices?

Here is a very interesting infographic that describes how an average American spends their money.

Using this as an example, list where you would normally spend your monthly paycheck and put average values or percentages in each of your spending categories. Doing this simple exercise will help you identify more opportunities where you can save a lot of money and at the same time go green.

You might think you only save very little by cutting your consumption or making smarter choices, but little things do add up and produce so much value for your pocket and benefits for the environment.

An old cheapskate saying goes: The surest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your wallet.  David Bach, a renowned motivational and financial speaker and founder of FinishRich Media, shows us how small daily savings from living green add up to a richer future in his book “Go Green, Live Rich: 50 Simple Ways to Save the Earth and Get Rich Trying”.

If you value true well-being and a secure future for yourself, your family, and the world we live in, start saving money while saving the planet at the same time through these examples of how going green saves you money

Photo thanks to http://www.flickr.com/photos/ meddygarnet/
http://www. acedebteliminator.com/
http://www. thesimpledollar.com/
http://www. visualeconomics.com
Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth, Juliet B. Schor