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Environmentally Friendly Travel
by: Sophia

A visitor can leave as much an impression to a country as a country does to its visitors. Not only does the destination leave you with happy (or sad in some cases) memories, it also leaves you with a better understanding of its culture, its people and its natural surroundings. So why not do what you can to ensure that other visitors are given the same privilege. Here are some of the things you can do to preserve your destination’s environment for both the locals and the future visitors.

o      Do not leave souvenirs behind: Littering is never encouraged in any culture or society. Nobody likes a litterbug and most of the time, they get away with it. But by littering, you are only harming and ruining the environment. People assume that there’s always someone to pick up after them but what happens when you’re in a natural environment? Who takes care of the forests and the beaches?  Remember that you can play a role in maintaining the beauty and cleanliness of nature.

o      Be an informed traveler: It is always good to learn more about your destination before embarking on your journey. It doesn’t spoil the surprise, it will only prepare you for the unexpected. Look out for information that will help you understand the culture and practices of the locals. It would be useful if you have information on the regulations and restrictions as well. For example, many countries have restricted smoking to certain areas and it would be good to know where you can smoke without getting those nasty looks from people.

o      Protect the species: Many countries offer products made out of endangered species such as turtles, ivory, feathers, animal fur and other products made out of wood. By purchasing these items, you are only encouraging these illegal traders. Like a certain community service announcement in Malaysia always says, “when the buying stops, the killing stops too”.

o      Be nature friendly: When participating in nature activities such as hiking or rock climbing, always make sure you don’t spoil the natural habitat of the flora and fauna. Follow the trails that have been set in place instead of trampling on the greens and keep your distance from the animals. Never provoke them if you want to keep your mental and physical health in tact. Do not litter especially in parks and forests because chances are there won’t be anyone to pick up after you.

o      Support the locals: The best way to learn about the culture of your destination is to put yourself in it. Support the local industry by trying their food and using locally made products. Hire local guides as they will be the best source of information. If you’re purchasing souvenirs, try to purchase those that are produced locally. Nobody wants a souvenir from Malaysia that says “made in Taiwan”.

o      Spread the word: Encourage your fellow friends and tourists to conduct themselves in a respectable manner. Although one person can make a small difference, it would be nice to have many people doing the same.

o      Report abuse: Do your part and make a report when you notice someone being uncouth. If you witness the abuse of animals in the zoo or any nature park, do report it so that others won’t be witness to such cruel behaviour. If you come across touting taxi drivers or con men trying to rip you off because you are a tourist, make a report at the state tourism office. You might not be able to rid the world of these kind of behaviour but you might be able to help someone else from falling prey to it.

You can make a difference even if it is just a short trip. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Be an environmentally savvy traveler.



 
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About The Author

Sophia, Writer for Malaysia
Sophia writes for Streetdirectory Malaysia. Robert J. Steiner manages Streetdirectory.net.my & FlowerAdvisor.com.my. FlowerAdvisor.com.my is an online gifts and flower site in Malaysia. Sophia is a music graduate from Trinity College London. In between classes, she still finds time to write movie and music reviews for various online and print publications. Now venturing into travel writing, she is able to blend both her passion for wordplay with her passion for travel. 

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