With millions of us traveling every year, the pressure on the planet is increasing.
These days, the environment is climbing up the political agenda. Whether climate change, extinction of mega-species, drought or deluge, the planet is changing before our eyes.
How can we continue to travel and volunteer to save our planet at the same time?
I believe we can, even in small ways - so this month I'd like to share 9 volunteer gestures we can make to help conserve our environment.
Women on the Road News: Contents for Issue #13
- 9 Volunteer Gestures You Can Take To Save The Planet
- What's New on the Website
- Travel News from Across the Web
- Cause of the Month: Continue the Fight Against HIV/AIDS
9 Volunteer Gestures You Can Take To Save The Planet
1. Travel green.
That means walking or cycling whenever you can. By reducing your energy use, you'll be traveling greener. If you fly, calculate your carbon footprint at sites like TerraPass. If you're traveling in Europe, try the WWF Travel Helper to find the greenest way to go. Better yet - take the train. Hot at night? Get a room with a fan rather than air conditioning.
2. Take a volunteer vacation.
Plenty of reputable conservation agencies like Greenforce, Earthwatch or Ecovolunteer combine travel, adventure and environmental conservation.
3. WWOOF: volunteer on an organic farm.
Many volunteer opportunities exist on farms but WWOOF goes one better by providing you with an organic farm.
A basic rule of sustainable travel is to leave a place as clean and pristine as you found it - no litter behind. So pack your reusable bottle. Use recycled materials - even a recycled backpack! Take home only pictures - or memories.
5. Volunteer locally.
There are literally thousands of local conservation groups worldwide. If you're not on the road right now, why not volunteer closer to home? You can usually find a group by searching the web for strings like conservation volunteer AND the name of your town/province/state/country.
6. Keep up with the news.
Environmental news, that is. Check out green travel sites and green travel blogs. Keep up with environmental news so you'll know which regions are threatened - and stay away from them. You'll also find plenty of tips on green travel and green volunteering.
7. Work for an environmental group.
Finding a job, even a part-time one, with an environmental organization can give you an extreme sense of satisfaction and of doing something for the planet.
8. Volunteer for a green political party.
Environmental conservation often goes through politics, and what better way to push for policy change than through local or national politics?
9. Commit to living greener when you get back home.
It's easy to have a green mentality on the road - but harder when we return to face our heating, gas bills and other energy guzzlers. Make a small commitment to the planet when you return home - even if it's just a change in the lightbulbs you use.
What's New on Women on the Road, the Website
Do You Have Stereotypes?
Do you judge an entire group by the actions of a few? We're probably all guilty of that to a certain extent. Read Lola Akinmade's guest article on dealing with - and avoiding - stereotypes when you travel.
How to stay cool and fresh despite the heat: avoiding heat exhaustion and sunstroke.
Teaching English in Taiwan
High wages, low cost of living, plenty of jobs - and life in a different culture.
Women Travel the World
A new interview from the Women on the Road interview series that meets women who love to travel - and who write about it.
Travel News From Across the Web
2008 Top Country Brand Ranking Released
iExplore's Top Ten Solo Travel Destinations
New Survey Reveals Ups and Downs of Air Travel
Europe's Top Six Eating Experiences
25 Ways to Earn a Living if You're Broke on the Road
World's Best Places to Busk
Colombia: Proud of its Passion
Western Tourism Increasing in Iran
Sneak Peek at the British Natural History Museum
Six Degrees of Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City Travel Tips
Bienvenidos a Cuba!
Bill of Rights for Canadian Flyers
Scams in Riga's Bars and Clubs
Cause of the Month:
HIV/AIDS: It's Not Over
December 1 was World AIDS Day, the day we remember the millions who have died and the additional millions who continue to become infected each year.
In wealthy countries where treatment drugs are easily available, some people think HIV isn't worth worrying about - there are drugs, after all. Perhaps, but the drugs aren't a cure. Dozens of pills each day for the rest of your life isn't something to wish for.
In poor countries, only a few people can afford these lifesaving drugs, known as anti-retroviral drugs, or ARVs.
Whether we like it or not, AIDS continues to be the most devastating epidemic of our time. In Africa, it kills more people than war, if you can imagine that. It kills young, productive people, but it also kills old people, children, babies - and, increasingly, women.
Abstinence by itself doesn't work. Nor does fidelity. A married woman can be as faithful as she wants but if her husband or partner isn't, she may become infected. Plenty of preventive measures do exist - a combination of abstinence, being faithful, and correct condom use (known as 'abc').
We can help prevent the fight against AIDS. We can support organizations that inform people about how to avoid infection. And we can support groups that help treat those for whom prevention is too late.
As the world commemorates World AIDS Day, please be generous and donate to your local AIDS organizations or become involved with campaigns like the World AIDS Campaign.
Using Google Maps to Map Your Travels.
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Happy travels! Leyla