When you think of sustainability, the first the thing that usually comes to mind is environmental responsibility. While conserving natural resources, is a crucial component of sustainable travel, it is just one piece of a very dynamic concept. Perhaps the most important and most often overlooked aspect of sustainable travel is the impact on local communities. As world travelers, we must keep in mind our behavior, and the influence it has on the local culture. In order to preserve the authentic qualities of these destinations, we must do our part in taking the appropriate measures to reduce our social and environmental impact.
Destinations in the third world boast a wide range of experiences appealing to the culture or adventure thirsty traveler. Some of the most world renown landmarks including Mt. Everest, the Egyptian pyramids, Machu Picchu, and the Taj Mahal all reside in developing nations. Underneath the grandeur and splendor of these built and natural environments, lies the insistent hand of child beggars. Many Westerners, unaccustomed to this degree of poverty, feel compelled to help these suffering humans, by giving them a few dollars or a meal. This act of compassion, despite it’s good intention, creates more harm than good.