How can I prepare myself to be a responsible traveler?
Research the main environmental and conservation issues in your country of destination. It may, for example, be useful to know that the country has been through a heat wave. You are then more likely to be sensitive to your water consumption. Knowing that a certain species is in danger may prompt you to visit a nature reserve where that animal can be found. Your visit would contribute to supporting that species.
Oneworld.net provides updates on human rights and conservation issues worldwide. It also lists volunteering opportunties.
What kind of light-weight gifts can I bring to another country?
Foreign hosts and people in the hospitality industry may appreciate a gift representing something from your culture. Lightweight but meaningful and personal tokens may include postcards bought in your own country, photos of wildlife back home and favourite recipes.
How can I be sure that I'm not buying something made from an endangered species?
While many ecotourists wouldn't dream of buying anything made from ivory, they may see nothing wrong in buying a coral necklace or a jar of caviar. It's difficult for a layperson to keep up with what's endangered and what's not. The World Wildlife Fund has simplified the task with their Souvenir Action Alert. The following may be less well-known mistakes than buying crocodile skin bags and ivory statues:
- Coral is an important part of a reef's structure. It's not just an inert lump of jewelry;
- Certain species of caviar are near extinction, so it's important to know what you're eating and where it comes from. Beluga caviar is out;
- Some species of cacti are strictly controlled as well.
What kind of solar powered camping gear is on the market?
According Popular Mechanics, the sun provides enough energy to power everything on earth 1500 times over; It's just a question of learning how to direct that energy. All of these items can run on photovoltaic, fume-free cells and are available in manysporting good stores:
- camp lanterns
- reading lamps
- small solar ovens
These items usually come equipped with a back up source of power, such as batteries, for cloudy days.
Many stores, including Patagonia, Modern Outpost and Mountain Equipment Co-op sell some solar powered items.
Besides the fact that digital pictures are often better quality, can be previewed instantly and are easy to send via e-mail, their production is less dependent on harmful chemicals than conventional photo finishing is.
If I'm not planning to eat in restaurants all the time, what's the minimum I should pack for meal preparation?
- You also save lots of money by eating out in the park rather than in the restaurant;
- If you buy unwrapped fruits, vegetables and nuts, there is almost no litter left behind.