About Sacred Earth Travel
What a long, strange journey it has been! A journey that started in 1993, when I first made several field trips to Central and South America to study Ethnobotany. Travel adventures to far-flung places, where I could learn about plants, people, and the cultures that weave both together, have always been my passion. And thus, after some extended stays in the magical rainforests of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Peru the idea of ‘Sacred Earth‘ was born.
Sacred Earth is an internet based forum for Ethnobotany and Ecotravel, which I use to express my interests and passion for Mother Earth and to explore the spirituality and wisdom of nature. From the beginning I realized that eco-travel, if done sensitively, could be an ideal route to sustainable development, which could help native communities to access much-needed resources without sacrificing their culture, their lands or their natural resources – on the contrary, by sharing their knowledge they could help disjointed westerners to reconnect with the earth and the spirit of nature.
The project grew, slowly at first, but steadily, as I forged relationships and networked with various projects and other travel professionals in Central and South America who share my vision and are equally committed to ecologically sensitive travel.
15 years later Eco-tourism had become the buzz. And although not all that says ‘eco’ may be green, a genuine concern and growing interest in sustainable development, elimination of poverty, conservation of endangered habitats and species, and green lifestyle philosophy has emerged. And just as well, I would say, for if we were to ignore these issues our Sacred Earth would soon face a terrible demise.
So, 15 years later, the initial project had grown into two succinct forums of their own – Sacred Earth continues to focus on Ethnobotany, conservation and nature education, much as it has always has done, and Sacred Earth Travel has evolved into a forum of its own. Thus, in 2006 Sacred Earth Travel was launched as a separate site, focusing exclusively on Eco-travel.
What does Eco-Travel mean to us?
There are many definitions of ‘Responsible’,’Sustainable’ or ‘Eco’-Travel. My working definition is that eco-travel should responsible travel, focusing on low impact nature-based activities, such as wildlife observation, bird watching, nature cruises and soft adventures, such as snorkeling, diving, hiking, and horseback riding. Community-based tourism projects are a vital aspect of our catalog as I would like to encourage true cross-cultural communication between travelers and host communities – for it is individuals, who change the world, one friendship at a time.
I choose the operators with whom I work on the basis of their commitment to ecological standards of their operations and their social commitment to the local communities within which they work. In reality, every operation and business is unique and generalized standards are hard to apply. One lodge for example, is not especially ecological in its operation, but is attached to an organic, shade grown coffee plantation, uses a majority of food from their own organic farm, supports the local community through fundraising assistance for the local school and also supports the work of scientists working on conservation research or field projects in their area – and the lodge happens to be in a prime location for wildlife and bird watching. Other lodges take meticulous care to supply only bio-degradable soaps, have composting toilets, and reed beds for effluent water treatment – and are involved in the local communities. So, there is a certain range, but I do make sure I know where people stand before I consider taking them up in my catalog.
I hope that Sacred Earth Travel through promoting such special, eco-friendly operators and businesses, and by raising awareness, will contribute to preserving both, the beauty of nature in fragile and endangered habitats and the integrity and beauty of the indigenous cultures, who live there, while providing unique opportunities for the traveler to experience and learn to love both.