The Importance of Ecotourism

This newer traveling trend isn’t just about enjoying the beauty of nature. It serves many purposes to the environment, cultures, and the world.

I’ve covered what ecotourism is and some of the best spots around the world to travel to, but I think it’s important to highlight exactly why this form of sustainable traveling is so important. It has more benefits than many might think, and I was even surprised by a few of them. If you’ve ever considered giving ecotourism a try, then consider the following benefits.

You: The Traveler

While experiencing something new and adventurous, you bring back more than just a few souvenirs from your travels. Ecotourism provides you with stories, memories, and conservation messages that stay with you for a lifetime. Your experience gives you a taste of the culture and the importance of preserving the natural beauty of the area you traveled to.

It gives the traveler an insight and appreciation for wildlife that they may not have had before, or strengthens the one they already have. It also gets important discussions started about conservation, whether those are about the area you visited or your home country.

Lifestyle

The Host Country

Natural areas used to only be valued for the resources they could provide, but ecotourism has given these areas a new value. Now, people appreciate them for their landscapes, wildlife, and indigenous cultures. It also helps to preserve these areas, making the thrill of seeing animals in the jungle more important to the world than cutting down the trees for lumber.

The Communities

Ecotourism benefits developing communities by creating a more stable economy. From lodge owners all the way to local shops, the flow of money helps to create environmentally-friendly jobs and spur conservation efforts within these communities. Each dollar spent helps feed children, save animals, and house families.

Global Impact

Easily on of the fastest growing industries in the world, ecotourism’s influence is constantly spreading farther across the globe. Every person in every piece of the puzzle is an ambassador for positive environmental change on a global scale. The powerful stories you as the traveler and they as the community are able to tell cause more and more individuals to hop on the sustainable, eco-living bandwagon.

I am passionate about the positive influence ecotourism is having on the world and its natural habitats. As this nature conscious trend continues to grow, and it will, the world will identify and appreciate the importance of preserving what natural ecosystems we have left to enjoy. What are your thoughts on ecotourism, and have you ever traveled to a natural destination?

Top EcoTourism Destination Around the Globe

With ecotourism on the rise, more and more locations around the world are adopting the principles behind this environmental movement.

With ecotourism on the rise, I did a little research to find the top destinations around the world for an all-out eco-vacation. Each of these places offers visitors something uniquely different. So, consider these locales for your next environmentally friendly getaway.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica has made a name for itself in the ecotourism world due to its well-protected natural beauty. It offers coastlines on both the Caribbean and Pacific, not to mention it is nearly one-fourth rainforest. One of the main draws of this incredible natural location is the chance to see volcanoes up close and personal, aside from the many low-impact hotels and resorts.

Norway

Norway is well known for its sustainable living practices, especially in the Fjords. Fjord, Norway is one of the four pilot destinations of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, possibly due to the government’s strict regulations on fishing, hunting, and even drilling for oil.

Kenya

Grasslands featuring exotic wildlife, coral reefs, and mountainous hikes all make this one of the most unique ecotourist destinations in the world. Where else can you see lions and rhinos up close? The varied landscapes of this African locale offer an incredible amount of biodiversity.

While the area is still plagued by illegal poaching, organizations have worked hard to deter and arrest those who would commit such a heinous atrocity. Aside from the unique wildlife, low-impact resorts can be found in abundance here.

Galapagos Islands

Home to some of the most diverse and distinct species of fauna in the world, the country’s Directorate of the Galapagos National Park implements a strict visitor management system to ensure the natural area remains protected. With a heavy focus on sustainable tourism, this eco-destination is easily one of the most awe-inspiring locations to travel to.

Palau

This island nation in the Western Pacific is part of Micronesia and offers more aquatic sights than it does ones on land. Coral reefs are home to hundreds of species of fish, which makes them perfect for snorkeling and diving. The Palau Project, a part of Blue Planet United, brings in university students to learn about the island and aspects of ecotourism.

Kenya

On land, the country does offer untouched shorelines and forests filled with diverse plants and animals. The country recognizes its natural beauty and strives to preserve it at all costs.

Portugal

Ecotourism in Portugal is beginning to take hold in this beautiful land. Many places are overbuilt, but some of Portugal’s coastal areas have been recognized as protected landscapes. Their areas include the resorts of Esposende, Sintra and Cascais and southeast Alentejo, near Cabo de São Vicente.

Other areas, especially in the interior are being preserved and set aside for future generations to enjoy.

If I were headed anywhere in the world, these ecotourism destinations would be the top spots on my list. What unique and environmentally friendly places have you visited in your travels? Did I miss any wonderful locations that should have been on this list?

The Best Ecotourism Destinations in the U.S.

Looking to take an eco-friendly vacation without wasting precious fossil fuels while saving money? There are more places in North America than you might think!

Countries like Africa, Australia, and South America offer a plethora of eco-lodges that offer low-impact tourism centered around the indigenous peoples of the area. In the United States, however, ecotourism seems to be a scarce and rarely heard of phenomenon. It isn’t impossible to find wonderful destinations in our country though.

If you are starting to plan your next eco-trip, consider some of these beautiful locations!

Eco-Tourism in the U.S.

I had to do a little digging to find eco-tourism locations in the country, or even its neighbors, which prompted me to find out why this wonderful way of traveling hasn’t taken off here like it has in other countries. The main reason stems from the fact that environmentally-responsible tourism has its roots in developing nations. A large part of the movement is giving back to local communities that are just beginning to blossom.

The U.S. does not have a national, government-run tourism board like many other nations have. This has led to smaller community-based organizations heading the movement. While North America might not have the same scale of eco-tourism that other countries do, you can still experience rapidly evolving eco-destinations in the country.

Most of them are far from perfect, but I picked out the top two locations based on the principles of eco-tourism.

El Monte Sagrado

Old

This resort made entirely of adobe-styled structures, constructed from fly ash, can be found in Taos, New Mexico. It runs on what they call the “Living Machine”, which consists of plants and sea life that treat water for reuse. That, and photovoltaic solar cells that power the electrical components of the Living Machine as well as heating and cooling.

The resort collects rainwater, composts, recycles, and even uses water from their Living Machine to irrigate crops. They transport treated water back to the city of Taos, and have even founded a local school.

Sadie Cove

Located in Homer, Alaska, this wilderness lodge features off-the-grid coastal cabins in Kachemak Bay State Park. Using hydroelectric power from a nearby stream, each cabin effectively runs on alternative energy. They offer meals from their organic vegetable garden, and focus heavily on their “leave no trace” philosophy.

I found their benefits to the local ecosystem interesting. They are actively working to have the area officially declared a mountain goat sanctuary, which means you can definitely observe the adorable creatures in their natural habitat.

Have you ever been to either of these locations? Do you know of any other great eco-tourism locations in the U.S.?

What Exactly is Ecotourism?

Maybe you’ve heard of the term ecotourism before, maybe you haven’t. Either way, this post is here to inform you on this absolutely fantastic way of travel.

Everything seems to be going “eco” these days, and that couldn’t make me any happier. From the spur in health consciousness to business adopting environmentally friendly practices, the world is slowly becoming a better, more sustainable place.

Ecotourism is one of the practices people around the globe have been picking up, but what exactly is it? How does one do it? These questions an more are all answered below!

Defining Ecotourism

The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.” Essentially, it means leaving only your footprints behind when you visit a location.

The Principles

As with any movement, there are a set of principles to follow when practicing this form of travel. It starts with minimizing any impact you may have on the environment as well as the culture and people of the area. That can be as simple as not leaving your trash on a hiking path, or something more thought-driven like respecting the customs of a particular religion or culture.

Hills

Aside from respecting the people of the area, I try to contribute direct financial support for any conservation efforts they make. Alternatively, I could financially help the surrounding area by choosing to buy from only local small businesses. I would also avidly work to conserve natural resources by using as little power and water as possible.

The end goal is to unite conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. Some even take things a step further by choosing to stay in the area and work to market it as an ecotourist location while helping to construct low-impact facilities and aiding the indigenous people of the area in conservation efforts.

Others choose to become interpreters who uphold the area’s spiritual beliefs and create positive interactions between visitors and indigenous people.

Sustainable Travel Just Makes Sense

Traveling to a new location is always an exciting adventure, but enjoying and preserving the beauty of nature while doing it is even more of an enriching experience. As traveler’s, we have to do our part to preserve environments and cultures around the world before industrialization and mega corporations decimate them.

What are your thoughts on ecotourism? Where have you traveled to recently where you could put these principles into action? I would love to hear about it!

Your Guide to Ecotourism

If you’ve ever wondered what this growing trend is, then these 5 steps can help you make the most of yur next vacation.

Ecotourism goes by many names, like green travel or ethical travel, but what exactly is it and how can you go about doing it? While though I understand the concept behind it, even I had a tough time figuring out how to leave nothing but my footprints behind when traveling.

I decided to take some advice and a well deserved trip to the Grand Canyon. These are the five sustainable steps I followed to keep things as green as possible.

1. Keep it Simple

Packing light is the first step to making your travels as eco-friendly as possible. A lighter load means better fuel efficiency for the plane you are flying on. While it was difficult to pick and choose only the necessities, I found that the money saved on baggage was well worth it.

2. Conserve Water

This is one you can do at home as well, but save water everywhere you can. I took shorter showers, turned off the faucet while brushing my teeth, and even re-used my towels for a few day instead of washing them.

Honestly, I didn’t find this part all that challenging. Sure, I didn’t get to take a luxuriously long shower but I did my part to not waste a precious resource. Plus, I didn’t even have to use the hotel’s laundry service.

3. Conserve Energy

These are things I do at home already, but they certainly help to keep things green. The easiest way to accomplish this step is by turning everything off (AC, TV, lights, everything) and putting the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. That keeps housecleaning from using up energy to run the vacuum while keeping my room free from harsh cleaning chemicals.

4. Reuse and Recycle

While it might be common sense to not throw your trash wherever you’d like, I actually found it difficult to break a few old habits for this one. For instance, returning brochures and maps when I was done using them took some getting used to. Things like refilling the same water bottle all week and using only one bar of soap for both my shower and hand washing routines also took a little more conscious thought than I’d like to admit.

5. Leave Only Footprints

I’m a huge fan of adventure. but straying from hiking trails can harm the native flora, which can have negative consequences to the rest of the ecosystem. By not straying off on my own path, I was helping preserve local wildlife!

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The Hidden Final Step

I would like to add respecting the culture and the area to this list. While Arizona isn’t exactly exotic to us here in the states, it adds to the traveling experience when you immerse yourself in the ways of a people.

How do you stay green when travelling? I’d love to hear about your travels and experiences!

The Ultimate Guide to Safe, Non-Toxic Makeup

Looking for safe alternatives to your daily beautification routine? Here’s everything you need to know.

In the age of health consciousness, women have finally started choosing organic and safe alternatives to their makeups. Now that more and more us as are finding out just how many toxic chemicals companies stuff into their ingredients, such as “fragrance”, the hunt is on for healthier substitutes.

There’s a lot of information out there on what is safe and what these chemicals do to our bodies, which can be a little confusing. What exactly are parabens and what harm can they really do? Is it worth shelling out the extra cash on organic lipsticks?

I’m here to clear the air and answer some pivotal questions in what could be consider one of the largest epidemics in the beauty industry.

The Danger is Real

According to the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, almost 90% of the over 10,000 ingredients the FDA approves in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety by them or similar institutions. That’s a scary thought! Research has begun to show us that many of these ingredients contain known carcinogens, often linked to breast cancer.

Currently, no system exists to regulate the potential toxins found in traditional cosmetics products. If you’re ready for the scariest part, let’s take a look at exactly what goes into your daily routine.

 

The Culprits

I encourage you to go through the labels on your makeup and look for these common red flags. Ingredients such as phthalate, sulfate, paraben, triclosan, and toluene have all been linked to different forms of cancer, as well as organ and reproductive harm. Companies will try to hide these ingredients by combining them into larger words or counting them as part of their “fragrance”.

Finding the Right Brands

It isn’t always easy to find an alternative that looks and feels like you want it to, but more and more companies are jumping on board the organic makeup bandwagon. You’re going to have to shop online to find truly green products, but that’s half the fun!

Several companies are blowing major name brands like MAC out of the water with a focus on non-toxic ingredients, cruelty-free and environmentally friendly practices, and vegan certified products. Alima Pure and Juice Beauty are two excellent companies to start your search with.

While some of these organic products might cost a little more than what you are used too, can you really put a price on your health? I personally think opting to continue using toxins on my body is crazier than spending a little extra on quality makeup, but that’s just me. What are your thoughts on safe makeup alternatives?

My Top Safe Makeup Alternatives

After a lot of searching, I have finally put together my list of favorite organic makeup products.

It’s been some time since I discovered the horrendous amount of toxic chemicals companies stuff inside of so many women’s daily makeup routine. Not wanting to go another day knowing that I was poisoning my body, I began my search for organic alternatives that worked just as well, if not better, than my current lineup. If you are also on the hunt for the perfect chemical-free makeup, then check out this list of my favorites (so far).

Foundation

Alima Pure offers powder foundations that can match your skin tone, no matter what that tone may be. They are made from soy-based inks, are carbon-neutral, and come in refillable compact containers. The goal here is minimalism; less is more when it comes to ingredients.

Cruelty free, this company refuses to test on animals. They are also a Certified B Corp company, proving their commitment to environmentally friendly practices and transparency with their customers. Personally, I like the way these powders feel and look more than others I have tried.

Eyeshadow

Finding an organic eyeshadow that actually made a difference was tougher than I initially thought. I ended up going with Elate Cosmetics and their highly-pigmented products that come in eco-friendly bamboo packaging.

Their products are certified vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free. It’s rare to find all three things together, especially if you want the product to work like its chemical-ridden counterparts, but I’m satisfied with my results.

Lipstick

This was another tough one, but I found that a company called Lotus makes pure bio-mineral lipsticks. Their natural line comes in a variety of shades, and they even feature plenty of skincare products made from the same ingredients. I only own a few, but I love the way they look and feel on my lips.

LipGloss

Beautification

It takes a lot to keep my skin in tip top shape, and I really though I would never find a line of skincare products that would work as well as my old ones did. Thankfully, I encountered Tata Harper.

Their products are certified vegan, cruelty-free, and made entirely in the United States. I own a couple of serums, skin masks, and creams from these ladies, each of which works better than what I used to use (in my opinion).

So far, these organic products have performed the best with my skin. Every person is different, and I would love to hear what products you’ve found that work the best! Best of luck with your safe makeup hunting!

Organic Makeup Brands Worth a Try

I’m back with even more safe makeup alternatives to add to your daily routine!

Since finding out that the makeups I used to use on a daily basis were filled with toxic chemicals that can cause damage to my body’s vital systems and organs, I have been actively hunting for safer alternatives to replace them.

The more I search, the more I find. It seems like women around the globe are taking a stand against the crooked companies that poisoned us for so long. If you are looking to swap out your current go-to’s with something more health friendly, then this list is for you.

Herbivore Botanicals

This company makes a line of skin care products in recyclable containers, all of which are ethically sourced and cruelty-free. That extra step to be eco-friendly meant a lot to me, and it is always a relief to hear that no animals were harmed during production.

Their products are non-toxic, but still smell great if you ask me. A lot of other ones on the market lack a…let’s be honest, they stink. I skipped the “ultimate skin care set” and opted for just the hair and face mist.

100% Pure

As the name suggests, their makeup is crafted from all-natural and organic ingredients. This company was my first venture in safer shampoo and conditioner, but they also offer a variety of creams and masks. All of their products are vegan-certified, and they focus on delivering essential oils alongside vitamins and antioxidants to your body instead of chemicals.

Colours

They do have an anti-aging serum I would love to get my hands on, but I settled for their shampoo, conditioner, and a few face masks at a great price.

ILIA Beauty

I would recommend this organic line for tinted lip conditioners and lipsticks. Yes, finally a company that makes organic lipstick you can wear without looking like a dweeb!

Their ingredients are sourced from organic farmers and manufactured in their organic-certified lab. (I had no idea that was a thing.) They also have Gluten-Free, USDA Organic, and Leaping Bunny certifications. I did give their foundation a try, but ended up just ordering lipstick from them after that since I liked it the best.

That’s all I have for now, but the hunt for some new makeup continues! As always, I would love to hear what products you have found to replace your old makeup routine! What products do you like the best and which ones do you like the least?

The Products That Turned Me On to Safe Makeup

Most women use some form of makeup nearly everyday of their lives. Unfortunately, these products are full of potentially harmful chemicals.

It wasn’t that long ago that makeup was just another instinctual part of my daily routine, but I recently became more informed about the potentially harmful chemicals that go into everything from foundation to lipstick. This made me re-think what I put on my face each morning.

Toxic ingredients like parabens and phthalates have been shown to cause damage to our vital organs in a wide variety of studies. So, if you are looking for safer alternatives, then check out this list I have compiled of safe makeups.

Getting Started

The hunt for safer makeup was on after I learned about the toxic chemicals companies often hide in ingredients like “fragrance”. To make sure that I was actually choosing safer alternatives, I turned to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) with their catalog of over 60,000 products each ranked with a hazard score from 1 to 10.

Even if nothing on this list appeals to you, I urge you to look at their catalog an find safe products for your everyday routine.

RMS Beauty

RMS develops a broad range of makeups without adding in ingredients that damage the body’s vital systems. From their line, I picked out a raw coconut cream to act as a moisturizer, a colorless un-powder, and an un-coverup to take care of some of my essentials. I also found a wonderful blush along with a bronzed taupe eye shadow that I’ve fallen in love with.

Dr. Bronner

Since the toxic conspiracy leads all the way into bath and body products, I decided to find some of those as well. After all, my makeup routine does start with a good cleaning.

I was able to purchase a bar of castile soap, but I ended up going with the rose castile liquid soap instead because I liked the smell. I even found a hand sanitizer from Dr. Bronner that fits right in my purse! Unfortunately, I did not find any shampoo or conditioner from this line.

Juice Beauty

When it comes to making myself look 20 again, there are a few things I simply cannot do without. Fortunately, Juicy Beauty offers an in-depth line of skin care products that aren’t half as corny as their name sounds.

The first item I put into my online shopping cart was a green apple Brightening Gel Cleanser, immediately followed by algae mask for those home spa days. Next up was a brightening eye cream that featured the same green apple smell and a booster serum to help make full use of my moisturizer. Last, but in no way least, I picked up a sensitive peel to exfoliate my skin.

All of that put me over my spending limit for the month, so I’ll be back with more recommendations for other products when I can make another purchase. It was well worth the investment though, and I feel a lot better knowing my body isn’t being affected by toxic chemicals. What products have you swapped out in your routine?

The Modern Makeup Killer

Cosmetics and makeup might make us look beautiful, but at what cost to our well-being?

It’s no secret that switching to a plant-based diet, swapping out harsh cleaning products for natural ones, and changing out synthetic skin care products for organic ones are all part of changing your life for the better. However, one of the easiest to overlook areas is the makeup we ladies apply nearly every day! From the mascara that takes your eyelashes to a whole new level to the foundation that seems to erase time, modern beauty products can have a high cost to your health.

The FDA

Currently, the FDA does not require cosmetic companies to conduct safety assessments on their products. Toxic chemicals are labeled in disguise as “fragrance” or nearly impossible to pronounce names like methylisothiazolinone.

The products sitting on your vanity or bathroom sink may or may not contain these toxins, but how would you know? It’s not like makeup companies warn anyone about what they put into their products. Here are some of the awful chemicals I found out were in my beauty products.

Phthalates

These nasty toxins mimic estrogen, effectively disrupting the endocrine system. They can lead to reproductive issues including abnormalities in unborn babies and premature delivery.

You can find phthalates in everything from deodorant to nail polish and scented lip balm under the ingredient “fragrance”. Since fragrances are considered trade secrets by makeup companies, they get away with not having to tell us what lies inside of them.

Lead

This one hasn’t been an issue since lead paint the 50’s, right? I wish. The truth is that lead can still be found in foundations, lipsticks, and even whitening toothpastes!

The worst part is that we as a nation know lead is bad for us. It leads to miscarriage, delays puberty, and is poisonous when ingested. You won’t find it any ingredient list, but over 400 popular brands were found to be contaminated with it nonetheless.

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Formaldehyde Releasing Preservatives

Formaldehyde is classified as a human carcinogen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Researchers, as well as the International Agency for Research on Cancer. You will most likely find this toxic gas resulting from the breakdown of Quaternium-15.

Q-15 is found in everything from pressed powders to eyeliners. While a company could choose rosemary, tea tree oil, or even vitamin E instead, they stick to this tried-and-true poison instead.

Just the Tip of the Iceberg

I could get into parabens, butylated compounds like BHT and BHA, and PEG compounds, but I think it’s more important to talk about safe alternatives for a moment. While nothing is ever 100% toxin free, there are products you can buy to decrease your exposure risk.

Just like with food, look for organic ingredients like almond oil, rice, and hemp. There are organic, cruelty free, toxic free, and vegan-friendly alternatives out there. What would you recommend?