Chapter Eight

Socially responsible travel

Ethical Traveler
A grass-roots alliance that unites people who see travel as a positive force in the world. Provides resources and information to transform travelers into “accidental ambassadors,” and endeavors to harness the economic power of travelers to strengthen human rights and protect the environment.

Tourism Concern
A U.K.-based non-governmental organization, specializing in ethical, sustainable, and environmentally responsible tourism. Publishes various books about ethical tourism, as well as an informative quarterly magazine, Tourism in Focus.

The Ethical Travel Guide: Your Passport to Exciting Alternative Holidays, by Polly Pattullo and Orely Minelli (Routledge, 2006, print)
Endorsed by Tourism Concern, this guidebook lists hundreds of travel destinations and opportunities that promote a positive impact on local people and their environment. Lists places to visit and stay in over sixty countries. Chapters cover the definition of ethical tourism, what’s wrong with traditional tourism, why it’s important to be an ethical consumer, and globalization and its effect on travel.

Native Tours: The Anthropology of Travel and Tourism, by Erve Chambers (Waveland Press, 2009)
A readable academic exploration into the cultural and environmental consequences of travel.
Kiva is a person-to-person micro-lending website that empowers individuals to alleviate poverty by lending to unique entrepreneurs around the globe: “When you browse entrepreneurs’ profiles on Kiva, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else.” Discussion forum for lenders online at

Environmentally responsible travel

Lonely Planet Code Green By Kerry Lorimer (Lonely Planet, 2006, print).
Discovering a more authentic and sustainable travel experience.

National Geographic’s Center for Sustainable Destinations
Resources and information for “geotourism” — travel that “sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place — its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.” Works with allied organizations to help develop and disseminate information for adopting the geotourism approach — by destination communities, by tourism professionals, and by travelers themselves.

Sustainable Travel International
A non-profit organization that promotes sustainable development and responsible travel by providing programs that enable consumers, businesses and travel-related organizations to contribute to the environmental, socio-cultural and economic values of the places they visit, and the planet at large.
A clearinghouse for practical ecotourism around the globe, with an emphasis on Latin America. Features online forums, conference information, feature stories, and scholarly reports.

Worldwatch Institute
Organization created to empower decision makers to create an environmentally sustainable society that meets human needs. Worldwatch focuses on the 21st-century challenges of climate change, resource degradation, population growth, and poverty by developing and disseminating solid data and innovative strategies for achieving a sustainable society.

MyClimate CO2 offset calculator
Online tools to calculate and offset your CO2 emissions from travel. MyClimate promotes the gathering of knowledge about CO2 reduction, raises awareness and inspires long-term climate protection.’s Green Travel Resources
Resource listing for carbon-neutral travel, eco-friendly lodging, eco-friendly car rental, and eco-friendly tour operators. Includes some destination-specific resources.

The International Ecotourism Society
Nonprofit dedicated to promoting ecotourism including developing ecotourism guidelines and standards, providing training, technical assistance and educational resources.

Nature Conservancy
Addresses the most pressing conservation threats on a global scale.

Rainforest Alliance
The Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior.

Sustainable Travel International
Sustainable Travel International is globally recognized for promoting sustainable development through travel and tourism.