It is impossible to completely remove one’s “footprint” on a vacation expedition, but we struggle to organize our trips in a way that minimizes our impact and encourage our clients to a change.
Every adventure presents opportunities to tread lightly on our environment and by following classic responsible-hiking guidelines you are being part of the movement that can promote conservation and travel.
Trails and walking paths Stay on designated trails and walking paths. Cutting corners anywhere causes erosion and can damage ancient artifacts or historical locations. It is never acceptable to deface natural or human-made objects visited on a EcoCircuitos trip adventure.
Reduction and disposal of waste When possible minimize packaging and avoid using wasteful consumable goods. Trip Leaders should ensure that all trash is deposited in appropriate receptacles, even if prevailing norms are less strict. Garbage and organic waste are not to be buried or scattered under any conditions. Seek out recycling receptacles for paper, cans, bottles, foil, and plastic. Set an example and leave places cleaner than you found them, but be mindful of conveying a judgmental attitude towards local environmental sensibilities.
Bathing and washing When dedicated facilities are unavailable, these activities should be undertaken with buckets or wash basins well away from lakes, streams, and the ocean. Keep soap and detergent out of all water. Avoid wasting water and be aware that westerners’ water usage habits may be viewed as excessive in the local context.
Sanitation Use existing restrooms or latrine facilities. When there are none, walk at least 100 yards from trail, road, or body of water and dig a shallow hole (4 to 6 inches deep). Bury the waste. Do not leave toilet paper uncovered and, if safe, burn it before covering the site.
Endangered species It should without saying that guests should not collect or purchase any items made from endangered plant or animal species. Importing products derived from endangered species into other countries is not only illegal, but it provides financial incentives for pillaging critical natural resources.
Plastic Plastic waste deserves special attention from conscientious travelers visiting developing countries. Conveniences in demand by western tourists are often delivered in some form of plastic: beverages, packaged foods, toiletries, and souvenirs. Unfortunately, poor countries face an expansion of non-biodegradable garbage on an unprecedented scale and most of them lack adequate processing infrastructure. Plastic wastes cannot be easily re-used or reprocessed and have numerous associated health risks.
The Trip Leader should seek out every opportunity to help EcoCircuitos guests avoid consumption of products packaged in plastic. In particular, water bottled in glass (which can more easily be reused or recycled) is always preferred over water in plastic bottles, even at additional cost.
Transportation practices The Trip Leader is encouraged to notify EcoCircuitos if they observe a outfitter or transport company pursuing unsatisfactory environmental standards, or to report on operators taking measurable steps to improve their environmental practices.