Whats exactly does ‘eco’ travel mean? We get down to the nitty gritty of what it means to travel sustainably in five questions in five minutes with Ronda Green from Wildlife Tourism Australia.

1. What does eco travel actually mean?
It’s trying to minimise any negative impacts on fauna, flora and habitat, so that activities can continue for decades without changing the behaviour of the animals, the numbers of species, the water quality or the scenic value.

2. Why should we care?
Firstly, it can affect future travel. If we don’t travel sustainably, some of the very reasons we visit places will gradually disappear. We also have a responsibility to the places we visit to avoid affecting other animals and the environment.

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3. What do we need to do?
Choose travel options that are eco-certified or have convincing statements about their commitment to the environment. We can minimise our impacts by not littering, not feeding wildlife and being unobtrusive to animals. We can also buy local foods and other products to benefit the residents of the area, and be generally respectful of local people and places that are sacred; it’s disrespectful to climb Uluru for instance.

4. I don’t always travel sustainably, should I have eco-guilt?
If we generally choose eco-friendly options, we don’t have to be absolutely purist about every detail, every day. We can indulge in a bit of extra luxury now and then.

5. What are three easy things we can do to be more responsible?
Choose accommodation, tours and wildlife parks that have some eco-certification or that make it clear they’re dedicated to protecting the environment. Reduce fossil fuels by buying local food and using public transport. And be careful not to influence animal behaviour by scaring them or feeding them outside of designated areas.

Australian Traveller Issue 65

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