3 reasons why ecotourism isn't as eco as it sounds
You heard me. Just because a tour has ‘eco’ in its name, doesn’t mean it’s eco-friendly. Here are three reasons why you should be skeptical about the sustainability of a nature-based travel company:
1. High density eco-tours create environmental stress
Popular commercial eco-tours encourage larger tour groups and infrastructural development (e.g. toilets, wider trails, information centres) to facilitate more people. Whilst development has its own obvious risks (deforestation and pollution), irresponsible eco-tours also result in soil compaction, biodiversity loss, and changes in animal behaviour. Not considering the culmination of these impacts in the short term can lead to irreversible damage in the long term.
2. Carbon neutral ≠ environmentally friendly
Many companies like to claim that they’re carbon neutral because they plant trees. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. If you tried to plant trees to compensate for all human emissions, you would quickly run out of planet surface area. Planting trees is not a long-term solution to carbon emissions and buys into the quick-fix band-aid solution which makes people feel good but does very little. The large scale planting of trees results in forests with remarkably low biodiversity and very little carbon sequestration ability due to how young they are. Instead of tree planting, companies must tackle their emission-causing behaviours and minimise them - quickly!
3. They only want to make money
Ironically, despite many eco-tours featuring the natural environment as part of their experiences they do not prioritise its protection. This is due to the inherent competitiveness in the tourism industry and the company’s priority being to make money. Unfortunately, whilst they may profit from short-term commercialisation of nature, animals and culture, there will not be much to profit from in 5 or 10 years time when ecosystem degradation occurs.
As a conscious traveller, these were all reasons why Jada started ConserVentures. She was fed up with the state of outdoor travel and sought to create an environmentally-positive experience that is also genuinely fun and rewarding. Eco-travel doesn’t have to mean massive group tours, or taking photos with animals locked up in cages. Be part of the new revolutionary way to travel where you give back.
To join us on an upcoming ConserVenture express your interest here.