<a href="http://www.greenlifestylemag.com.au/blog/17#">Eco Travel</a>

Eco Travel

On the path to responsible travel, with Louise Southerden.

What is eco-travel?

Sea kayaking the Yasawa Islands, Fiji

Sea kayaking the Yasawa Islands, Fiji

Credit: Louise Southerden

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Greetings, Earth-lovers. Welcome to the G-Online eco travel blog. To get you in the mood to "travel green", let's meet our host (drum roll please): me! (Cue the studio audience going wild.)

Seriously, though, this blog is really about you, the whole crazy world and how the two interact.

It's also a conversation between like-minded people, though we may not always agree, about the mixed messages we all receive about living, and travelling, in an eco-friendly way.

To kick off this blog, I thought I'd start with a question: what does "eco travel" mean to you?

To me, it means travelling with minimal environmental impact, which is a bit of an umbrella term for various elements such as:

  • Using low-impact ways to get around - such as paddling (a sea kayak or canoe), pedalling (a bike or rickshaw), and walking;
  • Staying in places that have an eco ethic - from tents to eco lodges, environmentally friendly campervans such as KEA campervans, and anywhere that has ECO accreditation; and Ecotourism Australia,
  • Offsetting any extra emissions we create by flying, cruising or driving, with a reputable carbon neutralising company such as Climate Friendly.

There is one more essential ingredient: an underlying ethic of awareness.

It's no good staying in an ecolodge and getting your towels and bed linen washed and replaced every day (which increases water-usage). Or going on a conservation holiday to monitor populations of native mammals (as I did last year in Victoria's Grampians National Park), and squashing the unsuspecting cockroach that wanders into your tent one night. Or even helping to build a school for Nepalese children, if you don't offset your flights there and back.

Green travel, to be meaningful, has to be part of a wider sense that we're all connected - you, me, the mammals and the cockroaches.