When I started Epicure & Culture back in 2012 my goal wasn’t just to enlighten and inspire through articles and photography, but to incite positive action. I want my readers — all of you — to feel moved to go local, travel more responsibly, think about your actions, support global good projects, immerse yourself in global cultures, nurture your relationship with yourself and live a more conscious overall lifestyle.
I also want to make Epicure & Culture a collaborative online space that includes not just my and Epicure & Culture staff voices, but yours.
Nobody is perfect. I for one will be the first to admit I’ve purchased a plastic Poland Spring water before hopping on a late night subway home, or eaten meat without truly investigating how it arrived on my plate. We’re all human and it’s not always easy to think fully about every action we make — not to mention the right choice isn’t always the simplest.
We Can Do Better
That being said we should always work and strive to do better, for ourselves, for our neighbors and for our planet. Which is why I’ve decided to start monthly action challenges where I encourage you all to focus on one simple task, and share your results here. At the end of the month, I’ll turn the submissions into an inspiring wall to be published on Epicure & Culture.
I’ve just returned from an amazing trip, The Way to San Jose, which allowed me to experience some of the major highlights of Central America, like white water rafting before visiting the company owner’s organic farm for lunch in Costa Rica, and summiting the uber challenging Concepcion Volcano on Nicaragua’s Ometepe Island with a local guide. The trip was hosted by Intrepid Travel, a tour company focused on responsible tourism that has recently done away with elephant trekking and dissuades travelers from booking experiences that involve close encounters with wildlife.
So, let’s make our first challenge about responsible animal encounters, starting with education:
Make your goal this month to educate yourself on responsible animal encounters and wildlife tourism and learn something you didn’t know before. You can also help to educate others by highlighting your own finds for responsible/ irresponsible animal encounters, ethical/unethical companies, smarter food/product choices and tips/guidelines you’ve learned along the way.
Some helpful Epicure & Culture articles:
- Can Tiger Tourism Be Responsible?
- Ethical Questions Raised by Dolphinaria (& Responsible Alternatives)
- Can Zoos Be Ethical? Answers For The Responsible Traveler
- How Palm Oil Deforestation Is Hurting the Orangutan Population
- 5 Ways To Enjoy Wildlife On Holiday – Without Harming Them
- A Unique Approach To Sustainable Marine Tourism
- Wildlife Experiences: A Humane Holiday Or Torturous Tourism?
- How Rhino Poaching Is Funding Terrorism (And How You Can Help Stop It)
- Wildlife Tourism In Thailand: An Elephant-Sized Controversy
Outside resources & tips:
- Contact wildlife organizations like Born Free USA, the Blue Ocean Institute, Conservation International, Elephant Nature Park, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Greenpeace and the National Wildlife Federation and ask questions to find answers to pressing questions.
- Watch Blackfish [Documentary]
- Watch An Elephant Never Forgets [Documentary]
- Get involved with the Right Tourism Campaign
Feel free to leave your findings, advice and ideas in the comments below, or if you’ve got photos/video to go along with it that won’t attach you can email me at editorial (at) epicureandculture (dot) com.
On my Way to San Jose trip I learned that travelers shouldn’t put sunscreen on right before doing into the water, for example, on a snorkel or dive trip. Sunscreen should be applied at least 15 minutes before entering the water so it absorbs into your skin and is less likely to contaminate reefs and marine life. Moreover, choosing natural sunscreens — think titanium dioxide and zinc oxide over chemicals — is a smart idea.
Together we can make a difference!
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