We’ve all heard a lot of talk about sustainability, such as sustainable farming / food / development... etc. Here we’re introducing a new form of sustainability: an amazing way to explore other cultures through sustainable travel.
First off, what does “sustainability” even mean?
We tend to hear this word “sustainability” in the context of the environment or ecology. However, this word has a far more vast definition. Remove all socially programed associations with this word, and what is at it's root?
It is defined as an ability or capacity of something to be maintained or to sustain itself at a certain rate or level. It’s about taking what we need to live now, without jeopardizing the future generation's potential to thrive.
After hearing this definition, what do you suppose we mean by “sustainable travel”?
As travellers or tourists, it is for us to visit and explore a city without compromising or negatively altering the future of that city. It’s to travel with the intention of not just fulfilling your needs and desires, but also being mindful of the host country’s well-being. It is to give back to the communities you visit. It is finding that balance between getting and giving.
A Note on International Volunteer
By: ANDREA YOUNG, International Development Specialist
The way LLT has approached sustainable travel is by giving back to communities through volunteering. But what's above and beyond this practice in sustainability is the many incredible outcomes of international volunteer.
International volunteering does more than just aid the recipient countries. It is also a form of aid for yourself and your community. Being exposed to other countries and cultures builds global awareness. You have the opportunity to be informed and better understand what’s happening around the world. You can:
- Challenge your current perceptions of all things and all people.
- Develop a deeper love and pride for your own country and the world as a whole.
- Create a sense of brotherhood beyond borders.
- Stimulate a strong sense of compassion and tolerance.
Being able to put faces and personalities to the numbers in the news gives us the drive to fight for change and equality across borders.
Diving in a little deeper...
It is also important to consider our Canadian government versus the unstable governments of many countries around the world. Canada is fortunate enough to have a government that funds many forms of social aid programs for those in need. However, this is certainly not the case for many countries. There is often no real or sufficient source of welfare or social programs for the needy: no homeless shelters, nowhere to get food if you are hungry, no services to help you find employment, no healthcare for even the most basic or desperate of health needs, no access to clean water... Few of these resources are available in the countries of the world where poverty is the norm, and not the exception. Existing services are often overburdened or inaccessible, leaving the poor with no where to go and no one to turn to.
For these reasons, we deem international volunteer crucial. We are fortunate enough to come from a place where being able to help our global community is an option. Celebrate this fortune, and help because you can.