We all tend to think that as human beings we have such a great capacity to adapt to a given situation or an obstacle, but as easy as that, when something has been taken away from us or limited without our consent we usually forget about those ‘superpowers’. Getting angry at first, then trying to analyze it, then accepting it and getting upset, because it’s not as we wanted it to be and like that couple of times. Sounds familiar? Our current COVID-19 situation and strict measurements forced us to stay at home and the most exciting adventure that we can think of, for most of us, is the one on our street or town. Let`s face it, the only ‘one’ that has adapted to this weirdness is our planet. With fewer cars and significantly fewer aeroplanes, the air is much cleaner. With fewer people on the streets, beaches, in the mountains, the animals are roaming freely, not being intruded by the whole bunch of us. Less CO2, less pollution. But how long will that last?
While the planet is taking some good, deep breaths we start hearing that after almost two months of fighting with the virus and struggling with the feeling of being a parrot closed in a cage, we MIGHT be able, later this year, to have some, well-deserved holidays (ekhmm). I mean… come on! The whole world is waiting for us! When if not now! Go explore! ALL TO THE PARKS AND MOUNTAINS!
We all feel like we needed it, right? That this park on the corner, those fields on the outskirts of our town and even the street through which we can run or walk, they seem more appealing than before. After two months of ‘home prison’, we start to go out more, run more, walk more, and cycle more because it’s different than what we’ve got so far and it feels more like freedom. But besides needing it more, do we actually value and respect it more?
All this great news about our planet thriving after we have left it in peace for those two months seem like arriving at its expiration date. There are those who believe that once out there we’ll go straight to the carnival consumption and switch on our superiority syndrome. And there are those who have hope and think that we may actually take that lesson and learn from it, living a more sustainable life with nature.
In 5elemenTravel we have always believed that a more sustainable way of living and in our company’s case also travelling, is possible. Since the very beginning of our agency the most important part of our trips, equally to the safety and happiness of our travellers, was the well-being of our planet. We see these strange and difficult times as an opportunity, for us local and global travellers, to actually respect and support our environment, regardless of its proximity. Being a sustainable travel agency, like ourselves or a sustainable traveller, as any of you can be, means to minimize the impact of our trips but also to work in accordance with these three pillars:
1. Environmentally sustainable – we do that by taking care of the biodiversity of the place that we’re visiting and by choosing activities that have a lower impact on the local environment (e.g. kayaking), working with companies that are offsetting carbon emission of the necessary vehicles and those who respect the flora and fauna that’s in the area (photo of kayaking with XXLofoten in the Lofoten, Norway).
2. Socio-culturally sustainable – recognizing and strongly supporting local culture, traditions, and historical heritage of its people by including visits in museums like SIIDA (about Sami people and culture in the north of Finland) and educating travellers about the importance of such places, for both local people and the global, cultural diversity (photo of the SIIDA museum in Finland).
3. Economically sustainable – this one means basically to make sure that the money stays in the place that we travel to. A foreign company, hotel, or distributor won’t support the local economy much, instead of taking most of the profits, using the privilege of working in the given place. It’s important that the company, either foreign or local, work with as many locals as possible (photo of ice cave exploration by an Icelandic company Local Guide
We’ll talk more about all three points in the future article!
While working with the three pillars of sustainable tourism in our trips, we are making sure that we’ll be able to go back to those places and enjoy them with generations of travellers, to watch not only how their ecosystem but also people flourish and live the life with symbiosis to nature. In the end, we can see now how much we need all that is outside of our four walls, as we go through those rough times. We truly believe that ‘sustainable travel’ won’t only be an empty slogan but that we’ll really start valuing more our planet, that tourism will slowly turn its bad stigma becoming known more as the sector that helps the ecosystem and local communities, educating future, more responsible travellers.
The adventure awaits, now more conscious than ever. Try it with us! 😉