Posted by: ecodestination | September 15, 2009

Doing your part: basics for eco travel (double post)

Closed off Turtle nesting site

Closed off "Turtle nesting site" in the ruins of Tulum

This is a double post! (Are you excited? Woooo, you should be!)

Sometimes it’s the little things that matter. This is one of those times. Whether you consider yourself an eco expert or a newbie, skim this list in case there’s something new in there for you! And please feel free to add to it in the comments section.

  • Stick to the rules that ask you to refrain from tresspassing into spots such as sea turtle nesting areas. The ruins in Tulum, for example, display a few signs with this message.
  • Go ahead and pick up some trash and toss it in the garbage bin when other people have been inconsiderate. Help undo the harm with your kindness and compassion for life and the environment.
  • Bring your own aluminum bottle to refill rather than wasting money and resource to buy and toss glass and plastic drinking bottles and cans (even if you can afterward recycle them, it’s better to reduce your use of resources to begin with :)). Why aluminum? Because plastic is toxic – and its carcinogenic, or cancer-causing, chemicals leech into water and food and enter your body (here is a plastic buying guide). Stay safe by recycling your water and nalgene bottles and switching to aluminum. Be sure to check whether the tap water in your area is safe to drink! The water in Tulum, for example, is not.
  • Rent and ride a bike/walk/rollerblade/etc rather than drive when possible.
  • Remain quiet in biodiversity areas – even the beach! And especially at night, when many animals venture out to nest, spawn, feed, and so on. Even whispering and small amounts of light have been found to disrupt the mating and normal behavior of wild birds and other animals.
  • Do not feed birds, reptiles, and other wild animals.
  • Be kind to the stray dogs that dot the areas where you’re spending your time – they’ve done nothing wrong. Consider buying them some food, at least giving them your leftovers, and setting out a bowl with water for them, particularly in hot weather. We all just want love and have the same basic needs, including food and water.
  • Do not remove coral, rock, etc. when diving, snorkeling, and so on. Any removals can upset ecosystem balance – no matter how much you want that object as a souvenir!
  • Support eco establishments and products!
  • And speaking of eco products… remember that all toiletries and cleaners can be toxic (and usually are). For example, sodium laureth sulfate, which is in everything, has been found to cause cancer. Look it up here. Try switching to mindful brands for your body and the planet. Yes – they can be expensive. Cheap alternatives include using baking soda as shampoo and toothpaste, baking soda or cornstarch as deodorant, coconut oil to style your hair and as personal lubricant,honey or organic cold-pressed oils to cleanse your skin (this is excellent even for acne-prone skin), and so on. Find a deodorant recipe here plus more ideas here and here.

This planet is yours, mine, and everyone else’s – this includes non-human animals. It is not anyone’s to tras. It is our home. Let’s humbly bow and thank our Mother Earth for sustaining us, and offer our efforts to be sustainable in return. Join in the cycle of life, not destruction.

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