The South African recently featured an inspiring story about Eliot Chisango, a Zimbabwean who arrived in Limpopo intent on developing conservation projects that build community. The full story is here: https://www.thesouthafrican.com/zimbabwean-good-samaritan-develops-conservation-projects-in-sa/?utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&link_time=1498819820
That’s a whole bunch of humanitarian love and kudos to Eliot for putting his energy and skills into making a difference to a neighbouring community and of course, the donkeys.
We Are White River believes that community love begins at home and our message is consistently to look around you to see where you can make an impact in your own neighbourhood. However, Green Travel and Voluntourism are significant portions of the international travel sector and we should be aware of this in our own travels, as well as seeing how we can encourage this market to spend some of those tourist dollars / ZAR / GBP / Euros and Yen in our neck of the woods.
Green travel is both a way of physically travelling and a way for travel businesses to conduct their operations. It respects the environment through responsible behaviours and offsets, or lessens the negative effects of tourism on the environment
How do we minimise the environmental impact of our travel?
- Pack light. The more weight cars, buses and planes have to carry, the more fuel they use and the more greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere.
- Carry a reusable water bottle and a reusable shopping bag – take advantage of water fountain fill ups rather than buy bottled water where possible.
- Turn off and unplug lights and appliances in your home while you are away. Appliances use power even when on standby or turned off.
Choosing how to travel
We’d expect planes to be the non-green culprit, right? But it all depends how far you are travelling, the type of holiday you are taking and how many are in your travel party.
- For shorter trips, try the train or bus if possible. It’s definitely an alternative perspective on travelling and for two people, the carbon emission saving is enormous compared to a car or plane.
- If renting a car, select the smallest vehicle possible, and why not try out a hybrid if it’s on offer?
- Air travel – use the most direct route possible as take offs and landings are fuel guzzlers.
- Offset your travel – plant a tree (or 2) for every trip you take. Your garden is full? Contact one of the community projects in White River and ask if they have room for trees.
- Choose a green hotel – in White River, Casterbridge Hollow is a shining example of green architecture and planning.
- Don’t forget your usual energy saving practises because you are away – keep showers short, turn off the tap whilst brushing your teeth. Switch off lights, TV and air-conditioners when leaving the room. Reuse your towels and minimise washing.
- How about Air BnB? There are lots of options in and around White River and seeing the Lowveld through the eyes of a local will add to your experience.
- Use public transportation, cycle or walk where possible.
- Shop local (and use your reusable bag!) from small, local businesses and avoid the large chains and franchises if you can. Make your purchases memorable and unique.
- Green eating is seasonal, organic and local. http://wearewhiteriver.com/white-river-eats/ for some local places to enjoy.
- Book tours and trips with local companies that work to lower their environmental footprint. http://wearewhiteriver.com/white-river-travels/
- Voluntourism – combining community work with the opportunity to see the world is popular amongst young people. White River has plenty of community projects that could do with support. Whether you are visiting White River or a local that could recommend one, http://wearewhiteriver.com/white-river-helps/ and http://wearewhiteriver.com/white-river-community/