We use nature for free. How tourist can thank the wildlife for the experience?

    21 Jun 2021

    We’ve already got to know what is ecological footprint and why we should pay nature for its ecosystem services. Let’s continue our exploration of modern eco-friendly lifestyles with acknowledgment of what sustainable tourism is.

    I am thankful to the head of the Ukrainian Nature Conservation Group NGO, zoologist Oleksiy Vasyliuk for the useful explanations of this topic.

    Let’s remind you of the previous “series”.

    Even when we light a fire and smoke reach somewhere, some wild animals will leave it. Remember, nature is much smaller for them than it is for us.

    When we plan our route, it is good when we will at least stop in camps where someone has already stopped. Just because wild animals avoid such a place.

    There are, of course, places in the world where you can’t choose your route. For example, of this kind is Huashan, the most spectacular route in the world. It is one of the five sacred mountains of Taoism in China. The mountain is known for its picturesque cliffs and difficult and dangerous ascent to the top.

    So what is the biggest problem for a tourist? Garbage. There are many “well, but…” around this topic. We should burn garbage or not? How far from wild nature tourists should carry it? What to do with cans and wet wipes? Should we use detergents and shampoos while traveling “into the wild”?

    Garbage incineration is the release of substances into the atmosphere. But the option of simply leaving garbage in the mountains is not accepted.

    Conclusion: all that we can advise you is just taking with you less potential garbage – bottles, for example.

    The cans are the easiest human-made things for nature. You can burn, the varnish also burns. But you cannot burn glass and it does not decompose in nature.

    After glass, the worst is wet wipes. They do not decompose and are not recycled at all.

    Detergents: it is better not to take it with you, because for fish shampoo is a serious factor in pollution. Laundry soap is less harmful.

    You should take plastic and polyethylene out of the wild.

    Should we burn this kind of garbage?

    When polyethylene smolders, a large amount of chemicals is created due to the temperature difference, up to 80. You will definitely harm your health if you throw bags in the heat and they smolder.

    The climate will not change significantly from this act, because after the industry in China and in the United States and vehicle emissions, these packages will not change anything in the global balance. And you’ll breathe by a bunch of harmful substances.

    But! If these packages are burnt in a large flame at a steady temperature, the situation is much better.

    The best thing is to bring the garbage to a city where there’s a better chance that it will be recycled. If you do not have such an option, let this bottle burn at a high temperature. I will be better than dozens of insects will die in it.

    It is also desirable to use gas in cylinders, rather than lighting a fire in the wild. Of course, there will still be a problem with used gas cylinders. They can be recharged, but only a limited number of times.

    How can we, tourists, thank nature?

    We use nature for free. We do not pay for what we see and for having a rest there, for some extreme experience we don’t pay too. But we can say “thank you”.

    You can reduce the production that nature suffers from.

    Buy quality things. If you buy them, you throw them away less. The resource of the planet, spent on the production of an expensive thing, is not much different from the resource spent on some junk that you throw away immediately after the travel.

    Thrift. You will throw the things away less.


    Refusal of disposable packaging.


    Hitchhiking. (On the nuances for the Gulf countries we’ll talk at the end of th article). Here, as with BlaBlacar, the idea is to save resources – the person is driving anyway. While hiking no vehicle runs out of fuel specifically for your trip.

    Cycling. It’s more environmentally friendly, cool and fun practice.

    Wikipedia contribution. There is a photo contest Wiki loves Earth on Wikipedia since 2013. We announced it on our site. This is a photo of natural heritage and protected sites too. Anyone who is exploring natural areas or preparing a book can now download these photos in free access. People uploaded a lot of valuable information for different years from different perspectives. This is knowledge for future generations.

    In a hundred years, your photo, e.g., just a landscape or a bush, will be invaluable evidence of what nature was like.

    The Wiki Loves Earth website lists protected areas by the country where you can upload more photos.

    Appendix. Hitchhiking: what we’ve found about the Gulf countries

    UAE. Hitchhiking is not allowed in the UAE, some sites say. But other resources add: once you’re outside of the big cities, hitching is extremely common in both Oman and UAE.

    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. When you are in, hitchhiking is quite feasible. The highways are built on the USA system and are difficult to hitch on. However, stand at an exit, and a Saudi will soon stop to ask if you need help and will run you out to a good place. The ferry to the Farsan Islands is free from Abha, and hitchhiking in the

    Saudi drivers also tend to be very helpful, and you shouldn’t have to wait for long for a ride. However, the local driving habits make it a life-threatening endeavor. And remember at all times that the hard shoulder is considered a driving lane.

    For your safety, favor a stretch of road with a speed bump or a sharp bend. Service stations are good too. Stick your arm out to signal you are seeking a ride. Be prepared for a no seat belt, death-defying high-speed adventure.

    The main issue with hitchhiking here is that it is super hot most of the year, so pack a lot of water and have some sun protection.

    Iraq. Except for the autonomous Kurdistan region, Iraq is considered a dangerous place. It would probably be very risky to hitch there.

    Hitchwiki highly recommends to NOT hitchhike in the rest of Iraq (regions south of Kurdistan) except Kurdistan Region at the moment.

    Iraqi Kurdistan. This region is autonomous from the rest of Iraq and is completely safe for hitchhikers. People are warm, hospitable and very western friendly.

    Note that the Kurdistan Region (KRG) currently includes the provinces of Duhok, Erbil, Sulaymaniyah, and Halabja. Kirkuk and Nineveh planes regions, which were taken by Peshmerga from Daesh are no longer under Kurdish control.

    Iran is a very friendly country. Some hitchhikers on their way to India even decide to stay in Iran instead. Remember that there’s no word for hitchhiking in Iran and the concept doesn’t exist there. The vast majority of the country has never heard of the words “hitchhiking” or “autostop,” let alone know what they mean. 

    Oman. Hitchhiking in Oman (especially in the more populated north) is quite easy.

    Hitching in and around the area of Muscat is more difficult, making up for the ease of the rest of the country. 

    Hitchhiking is relatively easy outside of Muscat. Getting out of Muscat is the hardest part. 

    Have a nice and eco-friendly trip!

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