In the travel community there is a big push for people to lessen their carbon foot-print. In simple terms, the great community encourages people to fly less, bringing less luggage, focusing on tours and accommodations that utilize environmental practices etc.
It’s a different time now. Globalization has set the stage for a generation that is more aware and globally connected ever, yet most people are still trying to figure out how their personal actions are affecting the world at large.
It is limited to believe that individuals are the only ones who should be held accountable for our contribution to climate change and the social & economic disruptions of native communities and environments around the globe.
Along with holding big business accountable, what I do believe our responsibility is, is to be aware of how we are impacting the world around us.
Travel is one of the most dynamic experiences you can have in life if approached in the right way. Ever since humans have been in contact with each other, we have been sharing ideas, connecting and engaging with one another.
In the not-so-perfect world we live in, I would like to offer resources to help people who are still traveling, make it worth it. The concept of Net Impact, within the context of travel, explores the function and action of offsetting the impact of travel by taking a net-positive approach on your travels and in your everyday life. Here are some key ideas that can get you started:
HANDPRINT VS FOOTPRINT
In today’s society, we talk a lot about calculating the negative impact of one’s carbon footprint, but our ecological handprint is just as important. The handprint is a holistic approach to measure and evaluate the social and economic impact of actions taken to reduce it.
The core idea is that as individuals we would instead focus on living a life that adds more than it takes away. The most simple way to get started is to explore ways to disrupt the crade-to-the-grave life cycle of the products we buy.
This means rethinking how you get around in your daily life, considering and honoring local communities and indigenous peoples, reducing waste, buying less fast fashion, paying attention to how your products are sourced, and buying only things that are built to last.
SOCIAL RETURN ON INVESTMENT (SROI)
Although this term is mostly used for financial sector for placing a value on the investments that are made towards social and environmental work. It’s a concept that can actually apply to intangible value that responsible travel has on the global community at large. Our world is a better place when people can understand and empathize with one another. Learning to be a global citizen requires some level of first hand experience, or at the very least enhances it.
In this context, it’s important that when traveling, that the steps are taken to immerse and learn. Travel with the purpose of learning and engaging in the local community can help offset the negative impact.
We have to think about not only the cost of the environment, but how much would it “cost” our global community if people don’t learn about one another and make personal connections?
LOGICAL FRAMEWORK APPROACH (LFA)
It’s a project management framework & methodology developed for USAID that helped international development programs design, monitor, and evaluate development projects. The tools main functions focus on goal-oriented project planning. At its core it’s an approach that measures the outcome and consequences of each action taken and making sure that each action is purpose-driven.
On a more personal scale, this framework can be applied to help people travel with purpose, and understand how their presence and actions could be affecting the local community on a social, economic, political, and environmental level. It’s up to individual travelers to travel with purpose, to educate ourselves on the countries and people we are interacting with, and weighing the impact of the activities that we choose and establishments we support.
SIMPLE WAYS TO LIVE A MORE NET POSITIVE LIFE
● Contribute and volunteer in your local community
● Walk, bike, and take public transit more than you drive or fly
● Reduce consuming fast-fashion, and focus building a capsule closet with high quality and ethically sourced goods
● Travel with purpose and intent on engaging with locals
● Educate yourself on the products you buy and the companies you support
● Think about how every action you take can affect the future generations
● Vote and encourage your local politicians to hold big businesses accountable for sustainability and social impact.