One of the questions we get asked most frequently by our readers involves how to choose a responsible tour operator, eco lodge or green hotel.
Research shows that global interest in ecotourism (which was defined by The International Ecotourism Society as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people”) has grown rapidly in recent years.
According to the Center For Responsible Travel’s 2015 Travel Trends & Statistics report, around one in five consumers (21%) say they would be willing to pay more for a trip with a company that has a better environmental and social record.
A 2012 report by The Travel Foundation found that 66% of travelers surveyed would like to be able to identify a “greener” holiday more easily. And 84% of those working in travel PR/marketing see “green” credentials becoming increasingly important in the near future.
Unfortunately, these sorts of stats attract a good bit of greenwashing from profit-driven people looking to cash in on the eco-friendly movement. So how do you find a responsibly managed eco lodge when you travel? And what’s the difference between an eco lodge and a green hotel?
Read on for the answers, and a brief guide to some of the most acclaimed eco lodges around the world…
My wife Emma and I have been farm-hopping for the last two years, volunteering with off-the-grid gurus who are doing all sorts of ingenious things.
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.
Many of these have been developed by NGOs looking to combat the negative health and environmental impacts of cooking over wood fires indoors, as much of the world still does (The WHO estimates 3 billion). But that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t take advantage as well!
Check out some of these simple but brilliant off grid living ideas, and maybe try making one or all five of them…
What if we told you that palm oil is killing endangered species (orangutans being the most famous example) and destroying the livelihood of indigenous tribes? Would that be enough to convince you to stop using products with palm oil?
This guide will help you understand why palm oil production is so destructive, illustrate some of the myriad products with palm oil we should avoid, and give you ideas on how to make those products at home so that you can feel good about the food you’re putting into your body.
SPECIES: Southern Resident Killer Whale (Orcinus orca)
CURRENT RANGE: Pacific North East, around Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Southern Georgia Strait
CURRENT THREATS: Decreased prey availability, boat interactions, environmental contamination
CONSERVATION STATUS: Endangered
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Washington and British Columbia
I didn’t start out as a wildlife photographer (or maybe I did, depending on your definition of “wildlife”).
My first professional photography job, way back in 1996, was shooting rock bands in concert for Rolling Stone. I had bought my first “real” camera less than a year earlier. When they called me out of the blue– a fluke, because I was the only photographer in Atlanta shooting the first show of Sonic Youth’s post-Lollapalooza tour– I thought it was a joke. But I shot, reviewed and interviewed dozens of artists for them over the next two years, ultimately helping to launch my career as a full-time freelancer.
In retrospect, rock stars and wild animals had more similarities than I initially thought. Both are unpredictable, existing in wildly varying light conditions. With rock concerts, you have less than 10 minutes to get the photos you need; with animals, you often have less than 10 seconds before the action is over. Both require a mixture of patience, focus, an ability to anticipate action and react quickly.
By the turn of the century I’d taken major press trips to Costa Rica and Denali National Park and had a life-changing experience in South Africa, beginning my gradual transition from pop culture critic to ecotourism-focused travel writer. I took a few photography courses and began honing my skills as a nature photographer. But the best practice I got came from actually working in the field.
What follows are 10 of the most useful Wildlife Photography Tips we’ve picked up over the years, including examples of how they can help you improve your own wildlife photos.