The Ultimate Guide to Ecotourism
Sustainable tourism is the phrase on everyone's lips these days, and not without good reason. As climate change continues to plunge the world into an unpredictable future characterised by frequent and severe weather events and as travel becomes ever more popular due to greater and more affordable transit options, it's now more important than ever to remain conscious of the environment by working to ensure that fewer of the footprints we leave behind are of the carbon variety.
That's why ecotourism and environmental awareness are at the forefront of everything the Scrubba Wash Bag does. Eager to preserve our beautiful world in order to keep benefiting from its diverse landscapes and cultures, our team seeks to develop environmentally friendly products that make not just travel, but responsible travel, easier.
To celebrate our world and the countless people working to sustain it, we here at the Scrubba Wash Bag thought we'd take a little time to share our passion for supporting the environment through earth-friendly products and sustainable travel. The result is this Ultimate Guide to Ecotourism. Containing all the environmental facts and tips you need to become a greener, cleaner traveller, it's a great resource to keep in mind when planning your next adventure.
What is ecotourism?
Ecotourism refers to a broad range of practices implemented to minimise carbon footprints and harmful human impact. In general, eco-tourists seek to productively and respectfully engage with local communities and ecosystems in order to foster and maintain healthy global relationships at all levels. The overall aim is to improve the vitality of the environments upon which the quality of life of the local people depends.
As such, eco-tourists are committed to history, education and culture, and work to preserve important landmarks and ensure fundamental knowledge is learned, interpreted, and shared.
In this sense, we could say that the ecotourism movement seeks to respect and improve all facets of nature, culture, community and education across the globe.
Why is ecotourism so important?
Sustainable tourism has always been crucial, but as travel becomes increasingly accessible and as the threat of unforeseen global crises rises with the temperature, it's now more important than ever before.
Travelling mindfully enables tourists to learn about new traditions, beliefs, foods and fashions while sharing their own way of life, ultimately strengthening bonds between cultures. It not only offers economic stability to people in remote areas who rely on the land, but also seeks to combat the large corporations that often threaten these people's livelihoods by changing the environment or forcing them to relocate.
While mindful travel enables people from all walks of life to connect with and learn from each other, mindless travel undertaken without respect for new environments and traditions threatens everything from flora and fauna to the well-being of entire communities. This makes responsible travel absolutely fundamental for the ongoing vitality of the world we all share.
Check out the facts below to develop even more of an appreciation for the importance of sustainable travel.
How to travel responsibly
So you want to be an eco-tourist? It's easier than you may think, especially in today's world of flourishing environmental activists and nature enthusiasts! We've already covered our main tips in our Everything You Need to Know About Eco-Friendly Travel blog, but if you're a bit short on time or you've read it in the past, you can get a brief overview from the below graphic.
Some other ecotourism tips to keep in mind include:
- Go natural: Many attractions subject wildlife to abuse or unnecessary cruelty for profit, so try to view animals in their natural habitat instead of in captivity.
- Knowledge is power: Research and visit lesser-known regions and attractions to help contribute to the economy of the local community and increase awareness for potential future funding.
- Open up: Talk openly and honestly with locals to avoid negatively impacting their way of life or disrespecting their customs.
- Make balanced choices: Carefully research the companies you decide to do business with to ensure they're not violating your ethical code or exploiting local communities and environments. Seek out companies that both give back to the community and offer transparency regarding their mode of operation.
- Buy eco-friendly products: Utilise sustainable travel products from ethical companies that seek to reduce their carbon footprint and help promote responsible travel. More on this below!
Choosing environmentally friendly products
Although the initial cost of ethical goods can seem high, these products more than compensate for the additional expense by offering quality, long lasting materials that neither degrade the earth nor exploit the people upon it. Some of the products and companies we love, encompassing everything from upcycled bags to portable water purifiers, can be found in the Scrubba Wash Bag's 2017 eco-friendly gift guide.
We love all the products mentioned in the guide, but seeing as we're experts on the Scrubba Wash Bag, we want to now focus especially on what makes this portable washing machine ideal for travel and the outdoors.
The Scrubba Wash Bag: An eco-friendly, portable washing machine
Here at the Scrubba Wash Bag, we like to be transparent about our products and our commitment to the environment so you always know what you're getting!
Our most famous product, the Scrubba Wash Bag, has already helped over 100,000 travellers, campers and outdoor enthusiasts travel clean light and free by:
- Packing less: Regularly washing clothes enables you to downsize your luggage and reduce the overall weight on board a plane at any given time. This, in turn, reduces the total fuel consumption for the flight.
- Conserving water and power: The Scrubba Wash Bag cleans a load of washing with no electricity and only 3-4 litres of water. This makes it far preferable to a washing machine, especially when only small laundry loads are required.
- Disposing of grey water away from water source: Because it's self-contained, the Scrubba Wash Bag enables you to store dirty water until you reach an acceptable place to dispose of it. This prevents contaminants from entering natural water systems. You should also take steps to minimise pollution by opting for a natural, eco-friendly washing liquid that is gentle on both flora and fauna.
- Travelling to remote areas: Travel to isolated regions can help draw awareness to both important locations and the people who live there, fuelling conservation efforts and boosting local economies. The electricity-free Scrubba Wash Bag enables you to clean clothes anywhere, helping you make it to even the remotest areas.
- Reducing waste: The Scrubba Wash Bag doubles as a dry bag and a travel laundry bag, enabling you to maximise function but minimise gear, reducing the likelihood of waste. The bag is also built to last thanks to its quality materials and manufacturing methods and is easily repairable if minor damage does occur. Once again, this helps you to cut back on landfill and experience more value for money.
Our company philosophy
The Scrubba Wash Bag believes in clean, light and free travel for both the clothes we carry and the environments we visit. That's why we've made it our mission to create only the most practical, multifunctional, and high quality products that give every outdoor enthusiast the opportunity to minimise waste and travel responsibly.
Our recent projects, including the 4-in-1 Scrubba Stealth Pack, the 100% upcycled Weightless Wallet, and the versatile Air Sleeve for tech protection and travel comfort, encapsulate our commitment to providing practical solutions to common problems in order to help travellers maximise their experiences and minimise their carbon footprints.
Wherever possible, we also make an effort to reduce our packaging and repurpose our waste to ensure cleaner, greener operations.
The Scrubba Wash Bag's commitment to safe drinking water
The Scrubba Wash Bag is passionate not only about ensuring our own products conform to high eco standards, but also about giving back on a wider scale to those who need it the most. That's why we've collaborated with charity: water, a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing developing regions with the clean and safe drinking water that is fundamental for community well-being. We admire the fantastic work that charity: water undertakes on a daily basis and particularly respect the organisation's transparency, accountability, and commitment to directing 100% of donated funds to water improvement efforts.
Over the last few years, the Scrubba Wash Bag has helped fund three water related projects in Bangladesh and Ethiopia, largely rural countries where many lack access to clean water. Our collaborations have seen the successful implementation of the plumbing infrastructure required to provide the students and teachers of Mahbubenessa Girls High, Nazrul Academy High and Rashidpur High with both an ongoing supply of clean water and crucial training in water and sanitation hygiene. Recent projects in Ethiopia also saw the construction of new drilled wells, helping to save lives through the fulfilment of basic health, sanitation and hydration needs.
The Scrubba Wash Bag's work with the community
Where possible, we love to help small charities and individuals make a difference in the communities they're visiting. When we're able to help ease daily life on the road for people like Riley from the inspiring non-profit, Generation Next, we seize the opportunity:
The Scrubba wash bag requires no electricity, uses minimal water, and makes it easy to dispose of grey water away from the water source, all while providing a machine-quality wash in only 3 minutes⚡️💧🌿 We’re thrilled and honoured that @rileyjbug, founder of the inspiring non-profit, #generationnext, was able to put it to good use on her most recent trip to #kenya 📸Photo by @rileyjbug • • • #cleanclothesanywhere #scrubbawashbag #africa #travel #nonprofit #outdoorlaundry #scrubbalife
We're also passionate about learning from communities around the globe while sharing our own stories and ways of life. That's why we love working with people who, like adventure traveller, Kesi, aren't afraid to immerse themselves in new cultures while exchanging information and tradition:
Travel is an eye-opening experience. It’s about learning from one another, about passing knowledge and sharing stories across cultures and languages, and about embracing the similarities that fuel open and friendly dialogue between people and communities, while simultaneously respecting the differences and allowing those nuances to offer a way forward into understanding and friendship 💫 We love this capture by @kesitoandfro which showcases this exchange through some cross-cultural laundry in a Massai village in Tanzania 🇹🇿 💦 • • • #scrubbawashbag #cleanclothesanywhere #scrubbalife #handwash #laundry #travelhacks #travel #africa #tanzania #massaivillage #portablewashingmachine
We couldn't be prouder to support communities and travellers around the globe and look forward to continuing our conservation efforts in the future.
Recap: How to be an Eco-tourist
Okay, that's a lot of information and you're a busy person, so we appreciate you might not have time to read it all now. In that case, the take away points you need to remember are:
- Take steps to reduce waste by buying practical, multifunctional products that are built to last. The Scrubba Wash Bag is a great start!
- Do some research to ensure you're giving your business to transparent companies who exploit neither the environment nor the communities who depend upon it.
- Learn from local communities and keep an open mind to foster meaningful, cross-cultural relationships without disrespecting local values.
- Volunteer while travelling or get involved in projects like water conservation efforts to help make a lasting difference.
We are, of course, big fans of "going paperless", so if you want to keep these tips handy for your next holiday, try saving the information rather than printing it. We've prepared a handy graphic just for you to make it even easier!
The burden of protecting this planet and engaging productively with those who inhabit it falls on all of us. Thankfully, with both travel and environmentalism at an all time high, it's never been easier to research conservation techniques and do your bit for the earth while exploring its surface. So the next time you sit down to plan the annual family getaway, consider the small steps you can take to make a whole world of difference.