As our inner worlds collide with new people, places and things, we imprint a part of ourselves on them, and them on us. Travel is a powerful force for good when its purpose is supporting biodiversity, conservation and the protection of communities. Each month I share the stories and insights from across the world that give us a better understanding of why we must always strive to travel better.

“For the first time in history, a conviction has developed among those who can actually think more than a decade ahead that we are playing a global endgame. Humanity’s grasp on the planet is not strong. It is growing weaker. Our population is too large for safety and comfort. Fresh water is growing short, the atmosphere and the seas are increasingly polluted as a result of what has transpired on the land. The climate is changing in ways unfavourable to life, except for microbes, jellyfish and fungi. For many species, it is already fatal.

Tsavo East National Park, Kenya, Africa

Because the problems created by humanity are global and progressive, because the prospect of a point of no return is fast approaching, the problems can’t be solved piecemeal. There is just so much water left for fracking, so much rain forest cover available for soybeans and oil palms, so much room left in the atmosphere to store excess carbon.

Meanwhile, we thrash about, appallingly led, with no particular goal in mind other than economic growth, unfettered consumption, good health, and personal happiness. The impact on the rest of the biosphere is everywhere negative, the environment becoming unstable and less pleasant, our long-term future less certain.”

Unfortunately, those are not my words but those of the American biologist EO Wilson. He is right in that we need to look after the world’s biodiversity and have radical solutions to do so. Travel needs to pay its part in this – we cannot return to the ‘same old’ or ‘normality’. We have to travel differently, if at all. We have to travel better.

Articles of interest putting forward a better way to travel:

Sophy Roberts explores Africa’s ‘year of zero’ and the wider impact of stalling tourism on the continent due to coronavirus – Financial Times

Chris Haslam offers his own insights on Africa’s desperate situation and a rise in the number of poachers – The Times

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has changed rapidly for the better in recent months, but like Africa has had its own share of problems – National Geographic

Dervla Murphy makes the case for more considered travel – The Times

Fiona Harvey on how righting the wrongs of human exploitation could solve the looming climate crisis – The Guardian

Thanks for reading

Justin Wateridge

Author: Justin Wateridge