Traveling green is Cora’s line of conduct. She explains why and how to get closer to this goal.
I looked down to still watch the baby turtle wiggling in the palm of my hands. He looked around, so small and helpless, no doubt bewildered by this new view of the world. He had just been found on a protected beach for sea turtles in Turkey by a gang of tourists. Who had groped him well before I came to the rescue, and they weren’t interested in his fate.
We were a few feet from the water, but he seemed disoriented. Alone on the beach, he was going to die, crushed by a tourist’s shoe, or eaten by something bigger. I had already tried twice to gently put him in the water, but he couldn’t swim.
“What do I have to do? I asked, completely panicked, to the two young Turks sitting on the beach. They looked at me with a mocking smile and a condescending look. “Turtle dead now,” one of them replied. Seeing my horrified expression, one of the young Turks stood up. And poured some water from his plastic bottle on the turtle. ” Water. Life! he said, his friend stifling a chuckle.
I looked at him, amazed. Did he think this animal was a plant? I could feel the miniature turtle move in my hands, its tiny claws tickling my palms. She weighed nothing at all, and yet I was very aware of her presence. As if she were the most precious thing in the world at that moment.
I picked up my bag and walked along the beach towards the village. Wondering where to find the people responsible for protecting the beach. Eventually I found a nice garden that collected stray animals. Where I was promised my turtle would be well taken care of.
Of all the people I spoke to that day, starting with the two Turks on the beach. Who wouldn’t lift a finger for this turtle, an incredible number of them were completely unconcerned. How was it possible? If I had had a big hairy spider or an ugly crab in my hands, I would have been less surprised. But that perfect, cute baby turtle? With its small shell, small eyes, small legs… How is it possible not to fight for its survival?
How is it possible to have so little love in your backpack?
I don’t know if there’s an adequate definition for how I Traveling Green, but it seems to me that’s what “green travel” should be. Unconditionally. I love people, I love animals, I love trees and everything that lives on our planet.
I love so much that inattention is not acceptable
To be sure that I am not harming anyone. I thoroughly inform myself about my destination and the activities I plan to practice there. And, for me, that’s where the shoe pinches: because while I have no doubt that everyone is capable of a little love, most Traveling Green are completely lacking in curiosity.
For example, I find it hard to believe that someone who knows about the way “tourist elephants” are treated would persist in this activity Traveling Green. When I went to Nepal, I had gathered a lot of information on the subject before my departure. On my way, I met three different people who intended to go on elephant rides. Each time, it was enough for me to expose my information gently to make them completely give up the idea!
It’s true that what works with animals as big and beautiful as elephants doesn’t necessarily work in all cases. Sometimes it’s hard to feel empathy for little critters you’ve never seen. (and yet you shouldn’t leave the trail on a hike so as not to trample the ecosystem) or even for people. Who live on the other side of the world (and yet it would be good not to buy “made in Taiwan” travel clothes). But precisely the mother daughter trips are there to open the mind!
We realize that we are not so far and not so different as that…
All that to say that traveling green is not complicated. It’s not about sleeping in a cabin in the middle of the Amazon rainforest or going without Wi-Fi! You just must open your heart a little and. Thanks to that, you will naturally put these few automatisms in place:
1. Get informed
With the internet, there are no more excuses today to justify the lack of information. In just a few clicks, it’s very easy to find out if such a hotel hires locals. Or if such a safari company allows you to pet drugged animals (yes, it’s done a lot, find out). Before even landing in an unknown country, you must already have a head full of information.
Another inexhaustible source of information is the locals! In a few questions, you will know very quickly if such a bus company refuses to transport locals or if such a “traditional tour” is authentic or not.
It seems obvious, but if you have the information and you don’t act in the same direction. All that is useless. But I want to believe that a Traveling Green like you, with a human heart and a functioning brain, will easily put this advice into practice!
3. Don’t close your eyes
I know it’s not easy. We are all guilty of having closed our eyes at one time or another, whether traveling or at home. But we must stop sticking our heads in the sand and look the world in the face. Because many lives depend on it.
So, yes, even if it hurts your heart, even if it means that you will never be able to pet a lion cub in Africa. Keep your eyes wide open and do not back down from the information that is at your fingertips or the actions that you are called to take. We trust you!
Once well convinced and well informed, you will be able to share your experience around you. And help others to open their eyes. Whether it’s talking on the road, signing a petition. Or sharing an article on the internet. Each time one or two more people learn to make the right choices, isn’t it wonderful?
Finally, the secret to always traveling green. And traveling responsibly is simply to have a little empathy and love in your backpack. So please, for all baby turtles and even furry spiders. For yourself and all living things on earth, please go green. Please love.