Every Day is Earth Day
Jennifer Haddow | April 21, 2016
You go on a trip. You have the time of your life. But your adventure can make so much more of a positive difference, to actually help save lives and the Earth. I’ve seen it first hand.
I just came back from visiting the tiger reserves in central India, where endangered tigers are taking their last stand, against poachers and habitat degradation. Once I saw a tiger run free in the wild with my own eyes, I fell in love with this majestic animal and knew that I couldn’t walk away without doing something to help protect this species.
In central India, tourism is making the difference in encouraging the development of protected areas that help save the Bengal tigers from extinction. Wild Women is helping to fund a program in Kanha park that engages local villagers in patrolling the park to ward against poachers, and track tiger activity to help conservationists keep the tiger population strong.
There are some places in the world that are so threatened, I feel like we really have no leeway to screw it up. The Galapagos Islands arethat kind of place, a fragile, precious ecosystem where ecotourism has supported the local movement to establish the protected areas that are now rigorously cared for, so wildlife are protected. This window into the very evolution of our species risks being darkened forever if we are not extremely careful with leaving a light footprint. So our Wild Women tour in the Galapagos uses a solar powered yacht and we also travel by kayak to minimize our ecological footprint when we visit.
I had the privilege to tour the Great Bear Rainforest last summer, and my heart was breaking as I sat a few metres away from a wild grizzly, knowing that he would be a target. Once you come into a wild place and open your heart, you know you must become its guardian and defend the integrity of the natural balance. It become personal.
My blood boils when I think of the travesty of trophy bear hunting so WWE also donates to Pacific Wild, to support the campaign to ban trophy bear hunting in British Columbia.
Recently I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Jane Goodall to talk with her about her work and how Wild Women Expeditions could help. She told me how tourism is a critical factor for protecting wildlife and, if done right, can make a hugely positive difference.
She reminded me that wilderness conservation won’t happen unless we help communities to get out of poverty and economic despair. Dr. Goodall will grace the cover of the next issue of Wild Women Magazine, and all profits from the mag will go to support her charitable work.
As we get closer to the global celebration of Earth Day (which really is every day), I have been thinking a lot about how Wild Women Expeditions can best contribute in the movement for environmental sustainability and what we can do, as an outdoor adventure travel company, to play our part.
Before I became Director of WWE I worked for many years in international development, social justice and environmental conservation organizations – I am deeply committed to moving forward the agenda of living in a sustainable way and standing up to the forces that would degrade the natural world.
Ecotourism has the power to transform communities and change the tides towards environmental conservation. In many places, it is tourism that generates the economic viability for protecting our wild places and helping communities to lift themselves out of poverty.
When you travel with us, you are not only getting an adventure of a lifetime, you can help us save lives.
So on Earth Day, I am re-igniting my best effort to dedicate Wild Women to supporting environmental conservation, making our tours benefit communities and bringing more awareness to the issues of women we engage with in places like India, Egypt and Peru.
We are a member of the Adventure Travel Conservation Fund, Leave No Trace, and other travel industry initiatives that are dedicated to sustainability.
If you join our Wild Women Community Group on Facebook you can see how passionate our members are about social justice and conservation – I am inspired every day by the amazing efforts being made to care for our Earth and each other. We can, and will, do more – together.
We are very concerned about climate change so will be working with Sustainable Travel International this year on a new program to offset the emissions generated on our tours.
I feel like my life’s work is to be a force for supporting the re-wilding of women, so we can be in a deeper relationship with nature and to feel the vitality and joy that comes from being active in the outdoors. I want to ignite a great love affair between women and the wild. 😉
So, on Earth Day, every day, I will be doing my part and I invite you to take action in whatever way calls to you. It’s a great place to start, right now, right where you are.