Namaste NEPAL

Re­spon­si­ble tourism and our eco-ad­ven­ture around the enig­matic Hi­malayas

Philippine Tatler Traveller - - Destinations | Inspiration - WORDS: HINDY WEBER PHO­TOS: GIPPY AND LU­CAS TAN­TOCO, HINDY WEBER

Eleven years ago, my hus­band and I de­cided to com­mit to a health­ier and more sus­tain­able ap­proach to rais­ing our fam­ily. First or­der of busi­ness was to get away from the pol­lu­tion and fre­netic pace of Makati. We moved about an hour away to Sta. Elena in Sta. Rosa, La­guna and built a “green” home made of ship­ping con­tain­ers and other re­cy­clable ma­te­ri­als. We en­rolled our chil­dren in a holis­tic school nearby; adopted a home­o­pathic ap­proach to medicine; took courses on farm­ing, natur­o­pathic well­ness, and nutri­tion; un­til, even­tu­ally, we started grow­ing our own veg­eta­bles in our gar­den.

The years to fol­low were re­plete with down­siz­ing and detox­ing from phys­i­cal and emo­tional mat­ters that were no longer sen­si­ble to us; and re­cal­i­brat­ing to a new “flow” where our life choices were in sync with our fam­ily val­ues. Lit­tle did we know that these choices would later lay the ground­work for a com­plete trans­for­ma­tion that would echo into ev­ery as­pect of our lives.

One of the val­ues we chose was eco­log­i­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity. We wanted to make sure that ev­ery­thing we con­sumed and pur­chased had lit­tle to no detri­men­tal im­pact on the Earth’s ecosys­tem. An over­whelm­ing feat, to say the least, but it was an ideal we aimed for 11 years ago, and still do to this very day.

We be­lieve our lives are in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked to that of the planet’s. What­ever the planet feels, we will feel sooner or later. What­ever we give out, will even­tu­ally come back to us. It was no longer enough to cre­ate a healthy and eco­log­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment at home. We had to think be­yond sus­tain­abil­ity in­side our home and more on how we im­pact the larger whole. This is when we be­gan con­sciously less­en­ing our food and plas­tic waste, cul­ti­vat­ing and grow­ing soil wher­ever we could, and en­sur­ing cleaner wa­ter­ways in our busi­ness and home ac­tiv­i­ties.

This was also about the time we be­gan mea­sur­ing our car­bon foot­print. We learned that we were con­tribut­ing about six and a half met­ric tons of car­bon into the at­mos­phere by tak­ing three trips a year. We also won­dered how much plas­tic and food waste we gen­er­ated dur­ing these trips abroad. Just think about all the food and pack­ag­ing from air­ports, air­planes, room ser­vice meals, restau­rants, con­ve­nience stores and driv­ethru thrus. The thought alone makes me queasy. We quickly real re­alised that our com­mit­ment to sus­tain­abil­ity had to exte ex­tend into our trav­els as well. We had to make more con con­scious de­ci­sions about the coun­tries we vis­ited, and the ho­tels and ac­tiv­i­ties we chose while there.

Aside from food waste, we also cared about ecofriendly prac­tices in food pro­duc­tion, so we looked for or­ganic restau­rants and spe­cial­ity mar­kets wher­ever we trav­elled. Fair labour and trade prac­tices also mat­tered to us, so we would do back­ground checks on the ho­tels be­fore book­ing. We also checked that the h ho­tels had green prac­tices when it came to their food, lau laun­dry, house­keep­ing, and waste man­age­ment. It was also im­por­tant that these es­tab­lish­ments were cul­tur­ally

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