Earth Day is this Sunday, April 22, and the Earth Day Network is promoting this year’s theme of “End Plastic Pollution” which focusses on “fundamentally changing human attitude and behavior about plastics and catalyzing a significant reduction in plastic pollution.”
Noble and timely, yes. But it’s important to remember that there is no end of areas to focus upon for the environmental protection of the planet. Companies such as The Bushcamp Company, Wilderness Safaris, Coral Expeditions, and Big Five Tours & Expeditions are doing just that with experiences and initiatives to empower local communities and travelers alike to take part in sustainable tourism practices and conserve environments. Programs include:
In this past year alone, The Bushcamp Company has eliminated over 20,000 water bottles by simply replacing plastic bottles with a sustainable, re-useable container. Additionally, the company’s “Commit to Clean Water” project enables locals to sustain 60 deep boreholes that provide clean safe water to thousands in the community around South Luangwa National Park in Zambia.
Children in the Wilderness, a non-profit organization supported by Wilderness Safaris, is an environmental and life skills educational program that focuses on the next generation of African rural decision makers. Its innovative programs, which include Eco-Clubs, conservation camps and a variety of scholarship and community empowerment initiatives, are currently operating in six countries: Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Big Five Tours & Expeditions offers guests the chance to adopt an endangered species through the company’s partnership with the nonprofit, One More Generation (OMG). Big Five is also launching a collection of websites focused on sustainable tourism (Safaritours.com, Galapagos.com) that educate travelers on countries and companies with the highest levels of sustainable practices.
Not far from Houston, The Woodlands Resort’s onsite Honey Bee program is committed to maintaining the natural habitat of the thousands of Honey Bees that find their way to the property each year and works to educate guests on how to help. Guests also have the opportunity to be a beekeeper for the day!
Australia’s pioneering small ship expedition cruise line Coral Expeditions is saving a natural wonder of the world – The Great Barrier Reef – through participation in the Rapid Monitoring Survey, which reports reef conditions and takes steps to continue to conserve the ecosystem.
Mountain Lodges of Peru has created Yanapana Peru dedicated to social and environmental responsibility. Yanapana is committed to reducing extreme poverty in the Andean Highlands and empowers local communities, making them active investors in the land’s conservation.
The Llama Pack Project based in Cusco, Peru works to recover traditional uses and breeding of carrier llamas as a tool for sustainable rural development and conservation of Andean mountain ecosystems.