Eco News

Hiking Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Why Responsible Travel Matters


Responsible travel has become a major buzzword in recent years, with gap year and travel industry companies climbing over themselves to use the moniker in their marketing materials. Some use it as a badge of honor, while others use it in an attempt to greenwash their image.


Responsible travel (which is also known as responsible tourismsustainable travel or ecotourism) is basically an umbrella term. It’s frequently used as a catch-all phrase, lumping in dozens of “green” buzzwords and ethical issues such as wildlife tourism, volunteer travel, conservation issues, and more.


But what is responsible travel exactly? Does responsible travel matter and, if so, why? Here we’ll take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly elements of the rapidly growing responsible travel industry.

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Animal Selfies

The Problem with Putting Ego Over Responsibility


The selfie culture has become a worldwide phenomenon over the last decade, fueled by a narcissistic need for people to share every second of their life on social media. Coupled with a sense of self-entitlement and a complete lack of awareness, this has led to increasingly irresponsible travel behavior in the form of animal selfies, which contribute to wildlife exploitation and animal abuse on a global scale.


Far too many travelers setting off on their round-the-world adventures have dreams of getting their picture taken with a cute baby sloth or a panda. People will often venture to a specific destination just to get a selfie with a tiger or elephant, filling their social media feed with pictures of how awesome they are to impress their friends and family back home.


They see their photo of them straddling a grown tiger or hugging a cute little koala bear as evidence of their love for animals and proof of their amazing adventures. And of course making friends jealous via Facebook or Instagram can be a massive boost to the ego. But at what cost?


Here, we’ll take a look at the rise of animal selfies and the myriad ways in which they contribute to the abuse and exploitation of wildlife.

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Ljubljana Slovenia - Ljubljana castle from Neboticnik skyscraper

Ljubljana castle from Neboticnik skyscraper

Ljubljana, Slovenia

The European Green Capital for 2016


(The following is a guest post from Bob Ramsak, the journalist/photographer behind the PiranCafe travel blog. You can also follow Bob’s adventures on FacebookTwitter and InstagramIf you’re a travel blogger interested in guest posting on GGT, please email pitches to Bret [email protected] We do not accept guest posts from for-profit companies.)

If you’re among the increasing number of people who are visiting Ljubljana, Slovenia these days, the loudest noise you’ll likely hear in the heart of the capital city’s old town center will be the clanging of a bicycle traveling across the cobblestone of the central Preseren Square.


Or perhaps the laughter of children as they’re guided by their teachers across the city’s landmark Art Nouveau Triple Bridge, which spans the Ljubljanica River. Or the chants of demonstrators voicing their grievances under the watchful eye of Slovenia’s national poet France Preseren, the Romantic for whom the square was named.


Just eight years ago the cobblestone streets of this part of Ljubljana (pronounced Lyoo-BLYAH-nah) were awash with cars and buses. Fast-forward less than a decade and much of the city’s main central zone is largely car-free, save for city service vehicles or “Kavalirs,” the electric-powered, golf cart-sized trams that shuttle visitors to small shops, cafes, and boutique hotels that now dot the old town center.


These changes have already decreased carbon emissions in one main traffic corridor by 58%.  That’s one of the reasons why Ljubljana– a city of 280,000 people that few have heard of– was selected by the European Commission as the European Green Capital for 2016.

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Organic Coffee in Guatemala photo by by Emma Gallagher

La Roya:

Central American Coffee’s State of Emergency

Last summer I was working at a green summer camp near the colonial city of Antigua, Guatemala, which– aside from being one of Central America’s tourism hotspots– is world- famous for producing some of the best coffee in the world.


In Antigua, the temperature is just right all the time, the altitude is spot-on and those rich volcanic soils from all sides blend together to make a knock-out cup of java. That’s why Guatemala, particularly Antigua, has become a buzzword in coffeehouses ranging from Seattle to Hong Kong and Moscow to New York.


To my coffee-loving delight, the Green Camp at which I was working was located on the grounds of a freshly opened school inside of one of Antigua’s most well-known coffee fincas: Azotea. In fact, the little plot of land that the camp was given to build a garden demonstrating permaculture principles was surrounded by coffee trees.


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.


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Elephants in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Leading Elephant Poachers Arrested:

Is the Tide Turning for Tanzania’s Elephants?


Elephants in Africa, particularly in Tanzania, have faced a devastating population drop in recent years.  This is primarily due to a rapid rise in elephant poachers killing them for their ivory tusks in order to meet the increasing demand in Asia.


The elephant population has diminished by nearly 60% in a matter of five years, according to National Geographic. In 2009, the population consisted of 109,051 elephants, but that number had dropped to 43,330 last year. Some suggest that this drop may be due to migration, but such a rapid population decrease can only be explained by increased poaching all across East and South Africa.


However, a slew of recent arrests, initiatives and policy changes suggest that the people of Tanzania– and around the world– are finally ready to take serious action to reduce elephant poaching.

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Egypt- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Madagascar- Ring-tailed Lemurs at Anja Reserve
Morocco- A Journey into the Atlas Mountains
South Africa- Londolozi Game Reserve Safari
South Africa- Kruger National Park
South Africa- South Africa- Zulu Memories
Tanzania- Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

How To Get To Antarctica w/out Doing the Drake
The Haunting Beauty of Icebergs
Penguins of Antarctica
Taking the Polar Plunge
Top 5 Eco Attractions in Antarctica
Whales of Antarctica
Borneo- Sabah Ecotourism Attractions
India- Ranthambhore National Park
India- Tibetan Culture In Ladakh
Laos- The Pastoral Paradise of Muang Ngoi
Malaysia- Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre
Malaysia- Orangutan Conservation at Sepilok
Nepal- Hiking The Annapurna Circuit
Taiwan- Top 5 Eco Activities in Taipei
Thailand- Top 5 National Parks
Australia- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Australia-Kangaroo Island
Australia-Maria Island
New Zealand- Kapiti Island
New Zealand- Tongariro National Park
New Zealand- Top 5 Ecotourism Attractions
Tahiti- First Impressions
Tahiti- Photo Gallery
Tahiti- Moorea 4x4 Safari Tour
Tahiti- Moorea, Tiki Village Theater
Tahiti- Pearl Diving in Bora Bora
Tahiti- Ruahatu Marine Sanctuary, Bora Bora
Tahiti- Swimming With Sharks in Bora Bora
Tonga- Eua Island Eco Activities


Churchill- Into the Wild of Manitoba
Churchill- Polar Bear Fight
Churchill- Polar Bear Photo Gallery
Churchill- Tundra Wildlife

America’s Best Volcanoes
AL- Fishing Mobile Bay
AL- Mobile Carnival Museum
AK- Denali National Park
CA- Hiking The John Muir Trail
FL- Sanibel Island Eco Activities
FL- Crystal River, Swimming with Manatees
FL- Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
GA- Barnsley Gardens
GA- Top 5 Autumn Activities Around Atlanta
GA- Best Christmas Light Displays
GA- Top 20 Atlanta Christmas Events
GA- Jekyll Island Eco Activities
GA- Weekend in North GA Mountains
GA- Top 5 Eco Attractions in North GA
HI- Hawaii’s Big Island
HI- Hawaiian Mythology
HI - Top 5 Kauai Nature Attractions
LA- Lafayette Cajun Food Tour
LA- Mardi Gras Indians Super Sunday
LA- Voodoo Museum
MT- Hiking Glacier National Park
NC- Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
NC- Asheville's Green Restaurants Scene
NC- Asheville's Top Ecotourism Attractions
NC- Greensboro Travel Guide
NC- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
NC- Outer Banks Wild Horses
NM- Top 5 Eco Attractions
NY- Going Green in NYC
TX- Sea Turtle Rescue, South Padre Island
WV- Outdoor Adventures
Yellowstone- Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone- Lamar Valley
Yellowstone- Grand Canyon & Hayden Valley
Yellowstone- Upper Geyser Basin
Yellowstone- Lower Geyser Basin

Cancun- Cancun Underwater Museum
Cancun- Mayan Museum of Archaeology
Cancun- Swimming with Whale Sharks
Riviera Maya- Monkeys, Pyramids & Pottery
Riviera Maya- Rio Secreto
Riviera Maya- Tulum & Coba