Green Global Travel is the love-child of two kindhearted travelers turned eco-team. It started as but a humble blog and has grown into a force to be reckoned with, so much so that in late 2014 they set out a distress signal for contributing writers to join the site. Well, the opportunity proved too awesome to resist, and I'm now proudly a piece of the GGT movement towards responsible, environmentally friendly world travel.
One of the most important things we can do to protect our environment is to find ways to reduce waste. Waste is problematic on a number of different levels. But perhaps the two most obvious are that waste pollutes the environment and uses up our finite resources.
When I landed the gig as Projects Coordinator for Guatemala‘s Caoba Farms, coordinating volunteers and a weekly farmers market, pallets had nothing to do with it. But a month later my new boss, Alex, showed me a mountain of pallets.
“We get more every two weeks!” he told me conspiratorially, referring to shipments for his sustainable hardwood export business, Caoba Doors.
Taman Negara, which literally translates as “national park,” is Malaysia’s oldest (est. 1939) and largest. It spans more than a million acres, much of which is primary jungle dating back over 130 million years. Our mission was to get into a wooden skiff and travel several hours to Kuala Tahar, a village established at the park’s border.
So perhaps this year, in a time when both national and international philanthropy seem crucial, others might be interested in picking up this charitable giving habit. Whether it’s nature/wildlife conservation or the rights of women, children, racial minorities, the LGBTQ community and/or indigenous people, we can all find causes we believe in to support.
Say what you will about the downsides of the voluntourism industry (and many have had plenty of negative things to say). But the intention of all of these travelers is, if nothing else, a mental step in a very positive direction.
I had to learn this lesson the hard way. But with these travel packing tips, perhaps other long-term travelers will be enlightened to do as I say, and not as I’ve done…
Wherever we may live, if we think of water conservation as a choice rather than a necessity, we’re likely consuming far more than the average global citizen. And while we might not be able to fix the water issues plaguing the planet at large, we can each do our part to maintain this vital resource.
There is something magical about chocolate. Nearly all of us grow up adoring it, and we continue to adore it as adults. In fact, our love for chocolate generally only strengthens with time.
As the boat neared Volcano Concepción (the larger and more active of the two), it mutated into something out of a cartoon, rising in perfect conical form with the top ensconced in clouds. It was hard to believe anyone in their right mind would voluntarily strand themselves at the foot of this monolithic beast… and I couldn’t wait to do it.
Guatemala, unlike any other place I’ve been, seems to hypnotize the travelers who brave its borders. Despite being flagged as a risky location by various embassies worldwide, this country welcomes more than 1.3 million international visitors per year. Amazingly, many of them wind up deciding to stay.
My wife Emma and I are the type always ready to join in on a good boycott or protest, willing to do without Nescafe or bacon if it’ll make the smallest inkling of difference towards saving the world. In Central America, everywhere really, toothpaste had always been an issue as it is product dominated by conglomerate companies that test on animals and perform an assortment of unsavory acts in the name of whiter teeth...
Two major problems I’ve seen in most impoverished countries are insufficient construction and severe environmental concerns. Guatemala, my home for four of the last seven years, is no stranger to these issues. But, that’s not to say no one cares.
Spain was never a country I fancied visiting, mostly because my wife Emma—a Brit— wasn’t keen on the idea. The Mediterranean coast is a major tourist destination for much of Europe, infamous for its stag parties, assorted belligerence and an odd absence of anything authentically local.
GGT’s readers and staff have been practicing permaculture by the very nature of our interests, though we might not have known it until now. There are many ways in which permaculture’s ethics intertwine with responsible ecotourism. Now it falls on us to recognize and rev up our efforts. Here’s some of what we’ve been doing, and forage for thought about why it’s a good thing.
Beautiful forests cover about one-third of Earth’s total acreage. They provide the oxygen we need to breathe as well as sequestering carbon, that confounding climate change catalyst. Forests also protect our world’s water supply: When they disappear, we inevitably get deserts.
Responsible Tourism is an active awareness about the effects travel can have on other places, both positive and negative. The general idea is that when tour operators, hotels, governments, locals, and tourists all take responsibility for ensuring travel is sustainable, it makes better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit.
Any reason to have a party is a good enough reason for me. More people celebrate the New Year around the world than any other holiday. But that doesn’t mean that we all celebrate it in the same way!
In the last few decades, as world travel has gotten exponentially easier, global markets and exoticism have grown more trendy. Many harmful traditional practices rooted in local culture have been exploited for tourist revenue, despite becoming glaringly antiquated. While ritual remains important, times do change. And with them, so does the world.
Lucky for us, we live in a day and age not just when travel is at an all-time easy but has become so easy that we have the luxury of trying to see the world responsibly, considering the planet, its people, its forests and its animals. We should encourage others to do it as well.
Permaculture practitioners seek to find balances between the give and take of nature– animals included– and the needs of humanity. From sustainable homes and renewable energy sources to food forests, the permaculture movement is about much more than gardening.
We’ve learned a lot about several cool, low-impact cooking/kitchen devices that work to leave but a smidge of a carbon footprint behind. I’m talking about DIY-style, no-electricity-needed cooking appliances that are fun to make, awesome to use, and fantastic for impressing folks.
The shouts come from all angles, along just about every street in Guatemala. They’re accompanied by the scream of exhausted air brakes, the growl of engines far past their prime, the boom of exhaust pipes gasping for clear passage, and horns held in exclamation.
Ain't it grand that the world population is growing ever more mindful of what we eat!
I’m not talking about mindfulness self-centered around six-pack abs or tighter glutes. I’m talking about the ways people are becoming more concerned over how our food is produced, its effects on the environment, and the way those who are producing it are treated.
What a week it is when the powers-that-be in the grand ol’ USA decide to take a leap towards greener energy!
We’ve become far too familiar with weak environmental policy efforts that involve pacing around, arguing over the validity of Climate Change, while fossil fuels continue to vaporize into greenhouse gases.
I’ve been traveling slowly for the last ten years, so clearly I’m partial to it. But I also believe I’m an astute observer of why it works well. So, at the risk of provoking controversy, I’ll just come right out and say it: I think Slow Travel is the way everyone should see the world.
Everything seemed peachy keen. But, in reality, Central American coffee farmers are suffering greatly of late, all due to a fungal disease called “la roya” (the rust). Unfortunately, some 50% of the harvest is being lost each year, which equates to millions of bags of coffee.
If you’ve not gotten the dirty details on palm oil yet, then buckle up for a bumpy ride we all need to take. Because the palm oil industry is not only endangering Palawan Philippines (named the Best Island in the World in 2014 by Conde Nast Traveler readers), but the health of our entire planet.
In Central America, everywhere really, toothpaste had always been an issue as it is product dominated by conglomerate companies that test on animals and perform an assortment of unsavory acts in the name of whiter teeth. Such corporations seemed to hold even a larger monopoly in third-world settings. Finding a paste that lined up with our ethics, or whose offenses we had yet to discover, had long presented us with a challenge.
We get off the bus at a remote stop, with just a few shops clustered together in hopes of selling last minute supplies. I look down a road that disappears into a blur of vegetation, and head in that direction. We— my wife Emma and I— arrive before midday because we know we have to hike in. Toting food supplies, a change of clothes and not much else, we disappear into the 58-square mile jungle of Tayrona National Park.