What is sustainable travel?
It was with a lot of pleasure I read some news today about the way the Indonesian government is regulating the palm oil industry in the country. It’s an issue that has stayed with me ever since my trip to the Indonesian part of Borneo (Kalimantan) late last year.
As orangutans, supposedly the closest relative to humans, climbed in trees around me in the jungle, someone explained to me how the animals were under threat because their habitat was being destroyed for palm oil plantations. To try to keep up with the growing global demand for palm oil, local farmers and large international national companies were willing to kill off one of the most beautiful and friendly species in the world.
The Indonesian government now appears to have strengthened the regulations to keep virgin rainforest off limits to the palm oil industry and be more proactive in its enforcement of the rules. While it may not be a perfect solution from an environmental point of view, it shows an important attitude from the authorities that will filter down through the community.
One of the things that I remember clearly from that trip was sitting on the deck of a wooden boat, gliding slowly down the river on our way back from an orangutan care camp, and a guide explaining to me how finally the local people were realising that there might actually be a more sustainable income in protecting the orangutans than destroying their homes for farming.
As the ideology of sustainable travel expands, I see this as one of the most important aspects: How can local people benefit from a situation that also respects and protects the local environment or culture? How can tourism be a force for good rather than the vehicle which destroys ecosystems and indigenous history?
And so, with this in mind, I am thrilled today to announce that I am part of a new ecotourism and sustainable travel group called EcoAdventure Media!
The collective is made up of the people behind 13 of the most interesting travel blogs out there – but, as they say, the whole is much bigger than the sum of its parts. Everyone involved in this new venture is more than just a travel blogger and this is in fact a collection of seasoned media and travel experts. There are print journalists, TV reporters, magazine editors, PR specialists, educators, a travel agent, a zoologist and a sustainability consultant.
Let me quickly introduce them all to you:
- Jim O’Donnell, Around the World in Eighty Years
- Mariellen Ward, BreatheDreamGo
- Mike McColl, Ethical Traveler
- Matthew Karsten, Expert Vagabond
- Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, Green Global Travel
- Barbara Weibel, Hole In The Donut Cultural Travel
- Matt Gibson, Matt-Gibson.org
- Cristina & Hal Brindley, Travel For Wildlife
- Ethan Gelber, The Travel Word
- Jen Miner, The Vacation Gals
- Jessie Voigts & Ed Forteau, Wandering Educators
- Caz & Craig Makepeace, yTravel Blog
One of the most significant ideas is that these people, together, help bridge the gap between new and traditional media – and with purpose.
The purpose is to help highlight the growth in ecotourism and sustainable travel and, most importantly, help you as a traveller get the information you need to make decisions when planning a trip. In some ways, EcoAdventure Media will be the conduit between you and the destinations or organisations you want to know about!
If you’re a regular reader of my site, you’ll know that understanding local culture and finding sustainable experiences beyond the usual tourist sites are things that I’m passionate about. I’m very excited to be bringing you more of those stories on Time Travel Turtle and also collaborating with so many awesome media professionals to bring you even deeper coverage on many of these issues.
Stay tuned for lots more news soon about our upcoming EcoAdventure Media projects!