At WorkingAbroad, we are always striving to ensure that our volunteer projects are as sustainable, ethical and as beneficial for our world as we possibly can. Whilst travelling overseas to volunteer at a wildlife, environmental conservation or community project has many benefits for the planet, and to communities both local and global, there is an important aspect to consider as with all overseas travel, and that is the environmental impact of travel itself.
It is well known that aeroplane travel is one of the most polluting travel options in terms of CO2 emissions per passenger. And whilst it is not always realistic to avoid travelling by plane altogether, we have put together some tips to make sure you are minimising your environmental impact when travelling to a volunteer project overseas. At the heart of this approach is the concept of ‘Slow Travel’. Slow travel has its roots in the slow food movement of the 1980s, and is a philosophy that encourages slowing down from current travel practices which are becoming increasingly unsustainable for the environment, moving away from the typical models of large hotels, package deals, cruises, cheap flights, short term trips, and instead travelling in a more environmentally friendly fashion, using alternative means of transportation, taking time to experience the local community and leaving a minimal impact on the places you visit. This article gives an excellent summary of the slow travel movement.
You can also find out more about slow travel when volunteering abroad and a list of projects we recommend on our slow travel blog article.
And here you can read a recent article from our blog with tips on how to be more environmentally friendly when travelling abroad.
In 2020, we have launched the WorkingAbroad Low Carbon Manifesto. The ongoing climate crisis requires everyone in the travel industry to act responsibly and be held accountable. With this in mind we have created our Low Carbon Manifesto, a resource with information on the climate crisis, and travel options for people who want to travel without using flights, as well as our ‘Snail Travel’ community groups for inspiring sustainable travel stories.
Tips for More Environmentally Friendly Travel