As is the case with many of our eco-tourism business partners, Eagle-Eye Tours of Windermere, Canada recognizes the environmental impact of their educational tour programs and is doing something about it. Eagle-Eye Tours covers the globe with diverse tours, ranging from ones with a birding focus to tours combining photography and wildlife, birds and gardens and more, visiting some of the wildest corners of our planet. Tour travel and onsite lodging creates carbon dioxide emissions, which Eagle-Eye Tours works to minimize but also realizes that all emissions cannot be avoided.
To address this negative by-product of their tours, Eagle-Eye Tours has maintained a CarbonFree® operation for the past five years by calculating annual tour-related emissions then supporting Carbonfund.org’s clean air technology and carbon reduction projects to neutralize those emissions. To date, Eagle-Eye Tours has mitigated almost 2 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions through their CarbonFree® program, equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide sequestered by almost 23,000 tree seedlings planted and grown for ten years.
"We travel the world enjoying birds and other wildlife, but realize that many of these species are threatened by climate change,” explains Cam Gillies, Director of Eagle-Eye Tours. “We are excited to continue to offset the carbon emissions from our operations and to take concrete action in the conservation of the biodiversity we so enjoy."
Eagle-Eye Tours offsets all of the carbon dioxide emissions produced from all guide and on-tour participant flights, vehicle use during tours and operations, ship use, and the electricity used by their office. They also design tours that visit reserves and lodges that have been established to demonstrate and deliver benefits from conservation to the local community. Eagle- Eye Tours offers tour participants the option to help with environmental sustainability by offsetting flights from their departure to the start of the tour. This ongoing commitment to sustainable tour management helps to set apart Eagle-Eye Tours as a leader in ecotourism and demonstrated environmental responsibility in all aspects of their operation.
The summer travel season is around the corner, and exotic locations lure the most adventurous travelers to remote and environmentally sensitive areas to experience their wonders. When planning these trips, environmentally responsible travelers will seek out sustainable tours that meet established ecotourism guidelines.
The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) defines ecotourism as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." CarbonFree® Business Partner Detour, The Adventure Travel Marketplace adheres to this definition and its guiding principles when selecting the local tour operators and outfitters for its online destination tours and travel adventures. Detour actively promotes sustainable tourism by offering trips operated by local ecotourism companies and promoting green certified hotels in the trip destinations they support.
As an important part of its sustainability mission, Detour minimizes it own operational carbon emissions then mitigates what it cannot eliminate in partnership with Carbonfund.org. As a virtual company, Detour follows Carbonfund.org’s motto to “reduce what you can, offset what you can’t™” by maintaining only a small wind-powered office with some employees working from home. Detour handles all tour information and customer communications online, replacing paper and printing with electronic documents. And for the past six years, Detour has neutralized all remaining operational emissions through the CarbonFree® Business Partnership program. To date, Detour has neutralized over 500,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide sequestered by 6000 trees over a ten-year period.
“As a company based on promoting small-scale tourism directly through socially and environmentally responsible local tour operators and outfitters, Detour is committed to protecting the environment and minimizing global climate change,” said Greg Findley, Detour’s CEO.
Working only with sustainable local travel companies ensures that the tours support the local economies. Detour selects tour operations that employ local people and provide economic incentives for local people to protect their natural and cultural resources. Traveling with local companies also gives travelers a window into the lives of the communities they visit. This inside knowledge can make the difference between being a tourist and thoroughly experiencing and learning about a destination.
Taking a trip, even the most sustainably-planned tour, has some negative environmental impacts, including the carbon emissions of airplane travel and on-site ground transportation. Detour advises its customers to become environmentally-responsible travelers by choosing a sustainable trip, taking fewer and longer trips, and trying to get direct air flights when possible. Finally, Detour encourages tour customers to purchase carbon credits to offset the carbon emissions from their flights through Carbonfund.org. Join the ranks of eco-travelers by selecting leading sustainable tour operators like Detour and taking the extra steps to neutralize your vacation travel emissions.
Ecotourism continues to grow in popularity as environmentally-conscious travelers seek out adventures to natural environments while minimizing the negative ecological impacts of their trips. The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) has defined ecotourism as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." New Carbonfund.org partner Quasar Expeditions offers eco-travel adventures through the unique ecosystems of Patagonia, while ensuring that all on-the-ground tour emissions are measured and mitigated through Carbonfund.org.
In order to uphold their commitment to environmentally sustainable tour operations, Quasar Expeditions chose to partner with Carbonfund.org to calculate the emissions generated by each tour vehicle then mitigate those emissions by supporting reforestation and bio-diversity preservation projects around the world.
“Our recent partnership with Carbonfund.org is a big step for Quasar Expeditions in making yet another positive contribution to conservation and sustainable tourism,” explains Fernando Diez, Director of Marketing and E-Commerce. “Although our adventures are methodically designed to leave very light footprints, we know that there is always some environmental impact, so we are now happy to be offsetting our carbon emissions through Carbonfund.org.”
When planning ecotourism excursions, it’s incumbent upon travelers to carefully review and seek out tour providers that are implementing sustainability practices to limit the environmental impact on the fragile habitats they visit. Eco-tour related emissions may be unavoidable, but measurement, reduction and neutralization of these emissions is a key component to maintaining responsible travel options while fighting the negative impacts of climate change.
The “Leave No Trace Behind” ethic is supported by the four major US federal land management agencies and by most eco-travel organizations trying to uphold high standards of environmentally-responsible tour operations. These principles can be followed in eco-tourism planning and observed onsite during tours, but eco-travel operations still generate other sources of harmful environmental emissions through transportation and onsite energy consumption during tour operations.
Carbonfund.org works with several eco-tour operators who take their environmental commitment beyond the tenets of “Leave No Trace Behind” by measuring, reducing where possible and mitigating all carbon emissions from their operations, and CarbonFree® partner Jackson Hole Eco Tour Adventures is a great example.
Jackson Hole Eco Tour Adventures maintains carbon neutral operations for the transportation and energy consumption they cannot eliminate by supporting Carbonfund.org’s clean air and carbon reduction projects around the world.
"It's so important to do what we can to leave the smallest impact possible here on planet earth. This is why we partner with the Carbonfund.org," states Taylor Phillips, Owner and Lead Guide for Jackson Hole Eco Tour Adventures.
Eco Tour Adventures was created with the idea of helping people connect with and gain a deeper appreciation for the natural world through wildlife observation and natural history interpretation. Their premise is that their tour guests develop a stronger bond with the natural world and will make more environmentally sound choices in their daily lives. TripAdvisor recently named Jackson Hole Eco Tour Adventures as one of ten great wildlife tours. Carbonfund.org is proud to partner with Eco Tour Adventures in their carbon emissions mitigation efforts, helping their organization serve as a positive role model for its tour guests and for other eco-tourism businesses.