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Responsible Travel: Engage and Learn

Learning never ends for those interested in responsible travel.

Action Without Borders ( connects people, organizations, and resources “to help build a world where all people can live free and dignified lives.” Its work is guided by the common desire of its members and supporters to find practical solutions to social and environmental problems, in a spirit of generosity and mutual respect.

Big Volcano Ecotourism Resource Centre ( This Australia-based site, which includes numerous links gathered during research, includes a collection of ecotourism and sustainable tourism research papers, website links, and codes of practice. The operation is conducted from a home office in a rural location using a single line dial-up 56K modem, so if any page is slow to load, they say so!

Cultural Survival ( This leading international indigenous rights organization promotes the rights, voices, and visions of indigenous peoples. One of its goals is to increase global understanding of indigenous peoples’ rights, cultures, and concerns; to this end, Cultural Survival publishes a quarterly magazine and provides resources, organizational links, and indigenous news and information on its site.

The Earth Charter ( is a collective name for the global network of people, organizations, and institutions who participate in promoting the Earth Charter, and in implementing its principles in practice. The mission of the Earth Charter Initiative is, “To establish a sound ethical foundation for the emerging global society and to help build a sustainable world based on respect for nature, diversity, universal human rights, economic justice and a culture of peace.” The Earth Charter can be downloaded from the site, and there is an extensive listing of relevant worldwide resources and links.

Earth Island Institute ( Life on earth is imperiled by human degradation of the biosphere. Earth Island Institute develops and supports projects that counteract threats to the biological and cultural diversity that sustain the environment. Through education and activism, these projects promote the conservation, preservation, and restoration of the Earth.
Recommended: You can volunteer for projects.

Ethical Traveler Ethical Traveler, Travelers, it turns out, are voting with their dollars every day. They economically support the countries they choose to visit. Given the vast economic clout of the world's travelers, perhaps travel can be a force for good. The nonprofit group Ethical Traveler suggest that travelers consider using their vacations to support countries with outstanding records on human rights and the environment. Ethical Traveler wants countries to see that they will benefit when they do the right thing for their people and their natural resources.  Every year, they publish a report on the most ethical developing destinations worldwide. The 2013 winners are announced here (links to .PDF file).

FairTrade ( The FairTrade Foundation is the U.K. member of Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO), which unites 20 national initiatives across Europe, Japan, North America, Mexico and Australia/New Zealand. The FairTrade mark is an independent consumer label that appears on products as an independent guarantee that disadvantaged producers in the developing world are getting a better deal. For a product to display the FairTrade mark it must meet international Fairtrade standards set by the FLO. Producer organizations that supply Fairtrade products are inspected and certified by FLO. They receive a minimum price that covers the cost of sustainable production and an extra premium that is invested in social or economic development projects.

Green-Travel ( Established in 1990 by Marcus Endicott, Green-Travel was the first speciality tourism community of any kind online and dedicated to culturally and environmentally responsible tourism worldwide.

Lonely Planet has offers tips for making responsible travel choices via its forum. The Thorn Tree’s Responsible Travel branch focuses on how global travelers can visit places in a responsible manner.

NativeWeb ( This nonprofit, educational organization’s website facilitates the dissemination of information to and from indigenous nations, peoples, and organizations around the world. Its travel section ( links travel and eco-tourism organizations and resources developed by or for indigenous or marginalized peoples.

* Slowfood ( is an international association that promotes food and wine culture, but also defends food and agricultural biodiversity worldwide. It opposes the standardization of taste, defends the need for consumer information, protects cultural identities tied to food and gastronomic traditions, safeguards foods and cultivation and processing techniques inherited from tradition and defends domestic and wild animal and vegetable species. Recommended: Slow Food’s Terra Madre offers news, blogs, and information for and about “food communities” worldwide; For those who speak Italian, Slow Food’s Editore section offers publications and information relevant to travelers interested in sustainable agriculture and food production. Cost: Mix of Free/Pay (various membership levels) Contact: Slow Food USA network.

Urban Environmental Management Research Initiative’s Sustainable Tourism Site: ( This grouping of urban planning researchers from around the world look at urban areas as the intersection of natural, built, and socio-economic environments, creating sustainable ecosystems. Its section on urban heritage and conservation is particularly unique:

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