I have read an article about the impact of tourism on the environment and on local communities at the destination level, which I found quite depressing. But except going to the Jungle with an NGO (which I don't really want to do), I don't know what individual travellers can do about it. It is in the first place the responsibility of tour-operators and hotels to do something about it, not of consumers. Anyway tourism always helps local economies, doesn't it?
That's for sure... it's sad that something that economically helps a country can in turn bring ruin to its environment. There are always two sides to the coin.
As a traveller, you have to decide if the positive impact of your visit on a location is going to outweight the negative impact of your visit. There are a lot of dimensions that you measure these impacts on - the impact on the environment, the impact on the economy, the impact on the local culture and the impact on yourself. If the good that comes out of your visit outweighs the bad associated with it, then you go. If it doesn't, than you stay home.
There is no way to travel some place and not have a negative impact on the environment. All you can do it minimize that impact.
Travelling in Brasil I had to ask myself that question fairly often.
Ecotourism is a massively expanding venture and I have been reading a lot of articles about the negative impact even of these so called "eco friendly" tours.
The stress constant interruption by people has on the environment and more often the animals and their living patterns is becoming more and more evident.
However, I hope one day to be working with these environments and how can we really understand them if we never visit?
Its such a difficult situation.
The tourism is often vital to local communities that is a definite, but often even the locals have little or no idea of the impact their companies are having on the environment.
I say pick your destinations and your tour operators wisely.
I tried and didnt always succeed, but at least I know I did try eh?