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We here at Traveler love to go off the beaten track to obtain a true sense of place, but we also know that traveling can take its toll on the environment. So of course we're thrilled to find that more and more tour companies are offsetting their carbon footprints, donating to conservations efforts, and overall, becoming more eco-conscious. From Madagascar to Mexico, here are some eco-adventures that make us travel happy.
The Mesoamerican Ecotourism Alliance (MEA), which offers trekking tours into Mexico’s 300,000-acre El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, recently joined with Trees, Water & People (TWP) to offset all of its itineraries. MEA calculates the carbon footprint for each itinerary and then makes a corresponding financial contribution to TWP, who then re-invests the money into reforestation projects, solar heaters, or fuel-efficient stoves.
CC Africa provides refuge to nearly 90 black rhinos near five of its lodges. The conservation group has raised over 5.5 million dollars in the past 15 years to fund animal conservation projects, as well as to community development projects (they have built more than 120 schools and trained 250 teachers and 4,500 students in environmental awareness) in six African countries.
Conservation group Blue Ventures offers six-week volunteer expeditions to Andavadoaka in Madagascar. Their new nonprofit carbon-offsetting program (Blue Ventures Carbon Offset, or BVCO) distributes solar and energy-efficient stoves to Madagascan communities. The stoves “dramatically reduce wood use and associated deforestation, as well as the time and money expended by families in gathering fuel wood.”
For more eco-friendly tours, check out Traveler’s October 2007 issue for our second annual Tours of a Lifetime.