Responsible Travel Guidelines for Volunteers
In order to help Earthwatch on our scientific field research expeditions in a way that does not compromise our environmental, social and cultural responsibilities, and which also maximises the economic and conservation benefits to communities, there are certain actions that you can take.
- Travel to and from the project rendez-vous by the most direct route and environmentally sustainable means available. Earthwatch offsets all volunteer carbon emissions through Climate Care and encourages, and provides information on non-air travel where possible.
- Ensure that any extra travel you are involved in before or after your expedition is beneficial to local communities and does not degrade the environment.
- Inform yourself about the local customs, culture and traditions before you travel, and learn a few words of the local language - this will improve your experience as you will be able to interact with local people.
- Respect cultural differences - remember that you are a guest in the communities visited and that often your hosts will do things differently - be patient and polite.
- Find out about social and economic development conditions that are related to your chosen expedition, and be respectful and tolerant of these.
- Ask the research team about local peoples' perceptions of the research being undertaken and how the scientists work to benefit the local communities.
- When packing be aware of local dress standards and pack accordingly - refer to your expedition briefing and travel guides.
- Be aware of and sensitive to the impact of photography - always ask permission before taking a photo.
- Environmental awareness is extremely important in these most fragile areas of the world - reduce your consumption of energy and water where possible, minimise waste and use environmentally friendly products.
- Educate by example and involve yourself in any clean-up operations, or at least, clean up after yourself.
- Do not get involved in any kind of illegal activity, and do not support the trade in illegal products or protected species.
- Feed back your experiences to Earthwatch Institute (Europe) or the operating company you are travelling with in order that improvements can be made.
- Remember to honour any commitments you made while in the field as this helps to build trust - a requirement in achieving sustainable operations and supporting scientific field research worldwide.