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to travel for nature

How did your trip help the environment you were in? Get to know restorative tourism, which is not only harmless - but also helps nature and local communities during the trip. Food for thought in honor of Hul Moed trips

By Reot Alon, Zivata - Science and Environment News Agency

backpackers Investing in local communities. Illustration:
backpackers Investing in local communities. Illustration:

The long vacation in Sukkot is an excellent opportunity to take a walk in the diverse natural gems of our country: whether you choose the forests and waterfalls in the north, the sea of ​​the coastal plain or the expanses of the desert in the south - our nature will not disappoint. Many of us think about our impact on the environment while traveling - and pick up the trash after us, for example. However, a new approach to travel that has gained momentum in recent years takes it one step further - and incorporates the the trip With active activity for the environment where we are tourists.

The new approach, called "regenerative travel", grew out of theTourism a girl-הsustainable: Tourism that does not harm nature, and in addition preserves the biological diversity and the natural environment and minimizes the waste (leave no trace) and the air, soil and water pollution caused by travelers. Restorative tourism is not satisfied with this, and invests in projects whose goal is to improve the environment we visit, and not just preserve the state in which we found it. for example, Tourism a girl-sustainable Focused on carbon neutrality, which led to zero carbon emissions - such as a hotel that uses solar panels, so the energy it consumes does not come from polluting power plants. Restorative tourism, on the other hand, emphasizes a negative carbon balance - that is, choice in solutions A trip that reduces more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than they emit. Or in other words: not only to collect after us the packaging of the snacks we ate in the hexagon pool (which is of course important), but also to clean the stream of the waste that was already in it.

Take a walk and plant a tree

One of the countries that aims to promote this type of tourism is New Zealand. during the corona epidemic the state She announced On programs aimed at reducing carbon emissions as a result of tourism and helping to restore nature by restoring areas damaged by hiking and providing incentives for the use of electric vehicles. In addition, the official tourism body of the country מציע for tourists who enter it to adopt a so-called promise Tiaki promise - Circumcision Which means In the Maori language of the natives of New Zealand is to care for, preserve and protect. As part of it, the travelers promise to take care of the land, sea, nature, people and culture of New Zealand, for the sake of future generations.

Another example is Exodus Adventure Travels, an international adventure travel agency that she built Program For improvement The places to which she takes trips. This is by offsetting the carbon emissions of the flights (that is, תמיכה in ventures that absorb carbon from the atmosphere), choosing hotels with a low environmental footprint - and financial support for projects toRestoration Systems ecologies. For example, one of the company's flagship trips is to the ridge After all The Apennines in Italy, and all proceeds from it are transferred to the benefit of Pirou (Rewilding, turning areas damaged by human actions back into wild nature) the ridge area and creating ecological corridors that will connect the national parks in the Apennines in order to create a safe passage for wild animals.

In addition, in the field of hotels there are accommodation options where restoration and preservation of the natural environment are carried out, and the luxury accommodation complex Spirit of the Masai Mara In Kenya is one of them: the place allows tourists to plant trees at the end of their stay. In complexes like this, another principle of restorative tourism takes place: assistance to local communities. Many communities preserve the local nature as part of their culture, and many more making a living from the nature around them - which encourages them to keep it. Thus, the luxury hotel takes care to support and work together עם tribe the essay The local, who has lived in harmony with nature for over a thousand years. This is by employing them as safari guides, selling the artworks of the tribe's women in the hotel shop without commission and donating money for the local children's schools.

One flight emits as much carbon as a whole human year

"As long as tourism is based on transportation that emits carbon dioxide on a very large scale, such as airplanes, cars and ships, it cannot be fully sustainable," says Prof. Yael Ram from the Department of Tourism Studies at Ashkelon Academic College. "For the sake of comparison, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by a single one-way transatlantic flight is similar to the amount of carbon dioxide that an average European citizen emits in an entire year."

Ram explains that this is a complex problem. "Tourism leads to wasted water and wasted food - and above all, to widespread air pollution." According to her, many researchers in the field now understand that the biggest challenge for tourism is transportation. "Ultimately, this is an industry that is based on our ability to move from one place to another."

Specifically, quite a bit has been written about the environmental pollution caused by flights: branch the airport Global transport and tourism accounts for 2.4 percent of all global carbon dioxide emissions. However, not all who use this type of transport pollute equally. "We saw how at the conference the climate in Glasgow Leaders and businessmen from around the world arrived in their private planes - and this is where the real problem begins," says Ram. "When we fly with other people in economy class, each person pollutes less compared to those who fly alone in a private plane".

Fly to Greece instead of Japan

Either way, the restorative tourism approach reminds us that we can and should be better travelers. For example, you can choose fly Destination Close: for example to Greece instead of Japan. In the destination itself, it is advisable to prefer to get around by low-carbon means, such as walking, cycling and traveling by public transport.

"If you still choose to fly to a distant destination like Australia, you can choose a backpacking trip - the prototype of slow tourism," says Ram. "In this type of tourism, we stay at the destination for a longer time - this is instead of the 'tasty' tourism that we are used to."

Apart from this, Ram emphasizes the importance of Create connection עם the locals during the trip. "Backpackers, for example, invest in the local community - and many of them volunteer, learn and collaborate with the locals," says Ram. "This is the way to get to know the population, culture and nature in depth, and this way we get the authentic experience that a long stay in the same place provides us. In the end, authenticity is the true and original essence and experience of tourism - one that gives energy to the soul," she concludes.

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