Earth Steward Service Project
At Nomad Travel contributing to responsible tourism is a priority. Our Earth Steward Project promotes the model of sustainable tourism. Through activities such as recycling, composting and Moop (Matter Out Of Place) collection, etc., the students actively give back to the communities they pass through. Perhaps more importantly, the project instills the need for responsibility tourism now and into their future travels.
The Earth Steward Service Project has two key modules, Active and Passive service. Active accounts for the parts of the project that require physical activity. Passive accounts for the part of the program that by simply partaking in this program they are contributing to the care of the planet.
Recycling: On average per 12-day program, our students recycled 6 x 40 Gallon Bags. This equates to a total of 5520 Gallons of recycling that escaped from landfill! (this is enough to fill an entire tanker truck).
On-Board composting: Last year we initiated an onboard composting system. The students actively separated their compostable material (apple cores, uneaten sandwiches, etc.) into one bin while placing garbage into another. This effort returned over 1.38 tons of nutrient rich material back to local farms and community parks.
Matter Out Of Place (MOOP) collection: On average each student gathered at least 25 pieces of MOOP per program. Although a fairly low estimate, this effort accumulates to 6900 pieces for the entirety of our summer.
Reusable Tableware: Where given the opportunity, instead of using plastic disposables, the students would use and wash reusable tableware. When this was not possible they would be given eco-friendly tableware and corn based biodegradable disposables. This effort drastically reduced the amount of harmful plastic used as well as helped preserve Canadian forests by not using paper-based disposables.
One water bottle initiative: students were able to limit themselves to one water bottle per-journey rather than one per day (or several per day). If each delegate disposed of one bottle per day, our 2012 season would have accounted for 13,800 disposed bottles! By enforcing the reuse of water bottles we prevented this large number from being disposed of.
The Students were also involved passively. Through watching educational films and by being informed of how our various vendors contribute to sustainable practices, the students became passively aware of the communal efforts towards Earth Stewardship.
Carbon Credits: By simply traveling with Nomad Travel, the students were passively contributing to care of the planet and to responsible tourism. Carbon Credits were purchased to help reduce their carbon footprint while on the programs and bring coach travel emissions as close to carbon neutral as possible. With last year’s purchase efforts, they passively captured a whopping 80 metric tons of coach emissions.
No Idle order: We convinced our coach company to a no idling arrangement. Any time the students are off the coach the driver immediately shuts the engine off. This of course drastically reduces emissions while traveling.
Finally, the students were lectured for hours at length on various subjects related to responsible tourism and Earth Stewardship. Our Sustainability-Ninja Oath (below) gives you an idea of what the students would be lectured on while on the coach.
1) Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (The Three R’s): Limit your consumption by turning off lights, electronics, facets, not idling motor vehicles, and by using what you already have, or what others are no longer using. Reuse your water bottle, lunch and snack containers, and shopping bags. Recycle drink containers on coach, at lunch, and during activities.
2) Leave No Trace: Take only pictures, leave only footprints. Help eliminate the trace of others, no MOOP! (Materials Out Of Place)
3) Compost: Give back to the earth and replenish the nutrients in our soils by disposing of organic wastes into a compost (where possible). Avoid needlessly sending waste to the landfill! Organic materials like apple cores, banana peels, orange peels, uneaten food waste, wood fiber products (napkins, toothpicks, popsicle sticks). DO NOT compost soda cans, juice boxes, glossy paper, plastic packaging, snack wrappers, or chip bags.
4) Support Local: Experience local food, learn local customs, live local culture. Eating locally not only enhances your experience of Western Canada and the bounty it has to offer, but it also limits the amount of energy needed to transport foods from afar.
5) Give Back: Help keep the beautiful places you visit beautiful. Support local environmental projects by learning more about them, offering donations, and respecting the places you visit. For example, adopt a whale, purchase carbon credits, support eco-tourism.
6) Choose Eco-Friendly Products: Choose biodegradables made from corn or other vegetable-based materials because they break down easily in nature. Purchase post-consumer recycled products like napkins, clothing, and paper.
7) Sharing Is Caring: Share what you have. Carpool, split napkins, share sustainability tips, trade books, donate old clothes, and purchase pre-worn clothes.
8) Stay on the Trails: Respect all living things. Stay on the designated path while hiking to avoid harming plants. Animals need space, stay a safe distance while trekking.
9) Think Beyond Today: Before you make a decision, take the time to consider how your actions may affect yourself and others in the future. If you find your action to have negative consequences, then reconsider your options. Make choices that benefit all today and tomorrow.
10) Stay Fit!: Ninjas need to keep fit. Use your own energy to get around. Avoid use of motor vehicles by walking, biking, skipping, hopping, and running.