Eco tourism is critical. We have far left behind the years when this was simply ‘important’- today it is critical. Today each one of us must contribute towards nature. Nature has all the resources to satisfy man’s need. Although humans have become increasingly greedy (our ‘needs’ remain the same, our ‘wants’ spiral out of control), we need, we want but no one gives back. No one replenishes what they take.
Let me explain biodiversity in the simplest way- the variety of life on earth that exists where each and every species is given equal importance. Homo Sapiens understand the importance of Gender Equality, they promote equal rights for both sexes and give equal importance to both men and women. We know that genders are interdependent. Men can’t live without women and visa versa. Similarly in an ecosystem, species of plants and animals live with each other. Not to forget man also forms a part of an ecosystem. Why then are different species of plants and animals not afforded the same importance, why is the perception of importance between species so skewed?
Various human activities have triggered an increase in the population of invasive species which make the survival of other species difficult. This directly hampers the food chain along with the habitat and leads to vulnerable existences in the ecosystem. Today mother earth is screaming for protection and man is single-handedly responsible for having put her in such a trouble. There is still time to put a full stop to this destruction by those responsible for this vulnerable position we find ourselves in. You might like to question me- why should I conserve. To them I say go- back to school and read your 8th Std science textbooks once more.
Here’s why you must conserve:
– Rain-forests are responsible for a stable climate; heard of global warming? Destruction of rainforests is a major contributor!
– Most resources and raw materials that we use today for medicinal or industrial purpose come from the forests
– The ozone layer is still intact, thanks to forests, else we’d be dying of skin cancer
– Studies say that pollution and temperature rise shall destroy all the coral reefs in the next 20-40 years
– The earth’s biological treasures are thrashed and scientists are calling it the 6th mass extinction event
– Thanks to birds that today we can fly Mumbai-Delhi and overseas in no time. Nature is highly inspirational
The reasons for conservation are infinite. If I sit back and start writing it would take me a lifetime- suffices to say, if we don’t conserve mother nature, mother nature will not sustain us. There are many ways by which you can do your bit for nature. I would want you to focus on your roles towards conservation via eco-tourism, one of the fun ways of conserving and helping nature. The tourism that we are exploring today isn’t about living in luxury resorts, throwing waste on streets and in lakes, travelling in AC cars, feeding wild animals, habitat destruction and disturbing the entire balance of the ecosystem. We are talking about responsible tourism where you trek, cycle, live with local tribes, experience the real jungle, learn and conserve. Promising yourself to do all that it takes to protect nature- that’s what makes you a responsible eco-tourist.
So if you are planning on becoming an Eco-Tourist in India here are a few points to remember:
- Read and collect Info: Read as much as you can about the place you’re travelling to- before you go there. Read about all the wildlife found in that ecosystem, distance to maintain from these animals and activities to do without causing disturbances to that habitat.
- Don’t encourage ill practices: Clicking pictures with wild animals or throwing stones to see them react, unruly behavior with local communities, feeding animals, off-roading on open spaces and grasslands
- Avoid plastic: Avoiding plastic as much as you can is a good practice in day to day life. According to a recent study, 5 trillion pieces of plastic are floating on the world’s ocean weighing about 269,000 tonnes. India ranks 12th on the list of twenty worst marine polluter countries. While on your eco-tour try to reuse your plastic bottle or replace them by steel bottles. Plastic is one the biggest pollution problems in natural spaces and cities.
- Follow the “Leave Only Footprints Approach”: While you explore jungles try and bring back the smallest of your waste. Dispose wherever it is possible to reuse/recycle or is the most appropriate place.
- Stay on the trail when you go on treks within the wild: This is beneficial for both you and the wild animals. You can easily find your way back without disturbing the animals or invading in their personal space.
- Avoid smoking: This is good for your lungs and the earth’s lungs- the forests. Umpteen times cigarettes thrown in dry deciduous forests have triggered uncontrollable forest fires. Forest fires are the single most important cause of destruction of many species at once. It is imperative that we take all necessary precautions to prevent such avoidable disasters. Also cigarette butts take about two to twenty-five years to biodegrade, if ingested by wildlife animals or marine life it’s often fatal for them.
- Learn to be ethical in the forests. Photographs are one of the essentials in a traveler’s diary. Learn photography ethics or simply talk to the experts to get an idea of how to click wildlife without disturbing them. Here are some links to help you:
- Get involved with organisations who promote eco-tourism in India: You can choose to work and be an active part of non- govt organisations. I would like to list a few names here- bigger organisations like WWF-India and BNHS run tours and events, but also many other independent naturalist and researchers do occasional tours for limited number of people. You must keep an eye on the blog or my facebook page for more info on this-
- Make Donations: Everyone must make it a point to donate to conservation efforts! If you do not like ecotourism and wish to travel with all your luxuries and disturb nature- then it’s even more imperative to donate to causes that support conservation. Everyone needs to support the cause 🙂
Here are a few links to help you: https://www.snowleopard.org/shop/index.php?main_page=donate
Also just thought of telling you; I have been working independently to support local communities, our natural habitat and smaller home-stays through my travel and blogging across India, any help to my travel fund will be highly appreciated!
So will you become an ecotourist today and forever? Let me know in the comments below.
PS: This article was first published on Holidify.com