These days it's hip to Go Green! It seems like every travel organization has a need to emphasize that they go for green travel. Green travel is an all-embracing term used to describe responsible travel practices that focus on economic, socio-cultural, and environmental sustainability.
For me, Green Travel equals Responsible Travel and should be self-evident and something that's an integral part of traveling the world.
Today we have a guest post by Cora from The Path She Took about her one secret to green travel:
For all the baby turtles
“What should I do? What should I do?” I asked frantically to the two Turkish guys sitting on the beach. They looked at me with a smirk and a hint of pity.
“Turtle die now” one of them said.
I looked down once more at the baby turtle in my hands. It was looking about, so small and defenseless, probably completely bewildered by this new point of view on the world. It had been found on this protected beach for marine turtles in Turkey, a few steps away from the water, but it looked confused. Left there, it was going to die, to be stepped on by a tourist or be eaten by something else. I had tried twice already to lower it gently into the water, but it couldn't swim.
“Turtle die now”, indeed.
Seeing how distressed I was about the fate of that baby turtle, one of the Turkish guys got up and poured a bit of water from his plastic bottle on the turtle.
“Water. Life!” he said, his friend smothering a laugh.
I looked at him, stunned. Did he think that animal was some kind of plant? I could feel the miniature turtle move in my hands, its little claws tickling my palms. It was practically weightless, but still I was very conscious of its presence like it was one of the most precious things in the world right now.
I picked up my bag and walked along the beach towards the village, asking at random where I could find the people responsible of the protection of the beach, until I found a nice little garden that took strayed animals in, and was promised my turtle would be well taken care of.
Of the number of people I talked to that day, starting with the two Turkish guys sitting on the beach who wouldn't have lifted a finger for that turtle, a ridiculous number of them just didn't care. How was it possible? I would have been carrying a big hairy spider or an ugly looking crab, I would have been less surprised, but that cute perfect baby turtle? With its little shell, little eyes, little paws, … how could anyone not care whether she lived or died?
How can anyone carry so little love in their heart?
I brand myself as a green traveler, but I always feel like it's not really the right word. I don't particularly go to destinations developing ecotourism, I've never slept in an eco-lodge, I don't pay to compensate the carbon emissions of my flights.
What traveler am I? I don't know that there's a word for it, but I believe it's what green travel should be like. What traveler am I? I'm the kind that loves. Unconditionally. I love people, I love animals, I love trees, and everything that lives on our planet.
When I see a big hairy scary spider on the ground, I scream because I'm scared and, in the same breath, yell “Don't kill her!”. When I see a kid mindlessly ripping leafs off a tree, I stop and explain how the tree is alive and how these lines on the leafs are his veins. When I turn off the water while I brush my teeth, it's because I know how some people are hurting, in need of this water. When I put my papers in the recycling bin, it's because I don't want other trees to die.
You see, green travel is not complicated. It's not sleeping in a treehouse in the middle of the rain forest or going without wifi. The only requirement for being a green traveler is to carry a bit of empathy and love in your backpack.
So please, pretty please, for all the baby turtles and scary spiders out there, for yourself and every living thing on the earth, please be a green traveler, please love.
Bio: Cora is a french writer and passionate solo green traveler. She likes hiking, spotting any kind of wildlife and has a reputation for easily getting lost. You can follow all her adventures and get her tips for eco-conscious travel on her personal blog The Path She Took.