The world is in big trouble. Climate change, global destruction and unsustainable practices seem to be plastered all over the news every day. I mean, it’s even all over our social media channels. Our Instagram feeds are filled daily with a plethora of accounts looking for likes in exchange for donations, claiming to preserve the rainforest and schemes to rid the oceans of plastic.
According to the UN, we have around 12 years left to save the planet. But why should we wait this long before we start to make a change? The environment needs to start being saved right now before it becomes too late. One way of doing this is by increasing sustainability. Several locations across the world have already begun implementing strategies to ensure that they become more sustainable, however more organisations need to take the initiative and start driving change.
Sustainability means taking the appropriate measures and operating in a way that will not have a significant negative impact on the environment. There are three pillars of sustainability, environmental protection, social development, and economic development. These are all very important as without them, we will not be able to maintain the quality of life that we currently have. Thus, this is something that needs to be addressed - and quickly!
This tiny Pacific island is known globally for its beautiful turquoise waters and mass of biodiversity. However, it should be recognised for its exceptional environmental regulations that have been put in place to ensure the country remains sustainable, particularly as it has seen a rapid increase in tourism over the past few years.
2009 saw the country introduce the world’s first shark sanctuary, which provides protection for an area the size of France from shark fishing. In 2015, they established the world’s sixth-largest marine sanctuary, protecting 80% of the maritime territory from fishing and oil drilling in an area of ocean that is rich in tuna. The final innovation is the ban that will take place from 2020 which puts an end to the sale and use of sun cream containing any toxic chemicals which could lead to coral bleaching.
Located in the Western Indian Ocean, Chumbe Island is home to an incredible coral reef sanctuary and forest reserve that provide protection for rare and endangered wildlife from illegal hunting methods. The coral park became the world’s first privately-managed protected area for marine life in 1992 when it was founded by Ms. Sibylle Riedmiller, who was fulfilling her passion for the underwater world.
The island is home to seven almost zero-impact eco-lodges that generate the funds required to manage the activities of the island. These lodges use modern water and energy technologies to avoid waste and recycle by taking advantage of sunlight, rainwater, and natural ventilation. They even have toilets which turn waste into compost, something you may not usually experience on your typical backpacking trips – how cool!
Previously, Águeda seemed to be following the European trend of having a historical centre that was rapidly experiencing abandonment. Today, it can be identified as one of the most colourful cities in the world. Águeda also has extremely high levels of tourism. In fact, over five hundred thousand tourists visit over the 23-day period of AgitÁgueda!
Sustainable tourism has been improved by giving life back to the natural spaces and values that Águeda once thrived on. WalKinÁgueda provides hikers with the opportunity to experience a different kind of tour, allowing them to access amazing views that they would not usually be able to see. There’s also great quality air in Águeda due to various projects that have been implemented, such as the introduction of urbanised cycle lanes which encourage residents to use the public e-bikes, pedestrian trails, and areas where cars are prohibited.
It is crucial that destinations continue to apply the appropriate measures and operate sustainably to address the problems that have been created for the environment. Also, to go above and beyond this once these problems are resolved.
At Alpha, we encourage that you explore new places and make travelling a focal part of your life. However, to continue doing this for years to come, travelling needs to be done in a way that is sustainable. Additional information on how you can become a more sustainable tourist can be found here.
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