Many other countries also see ecotourism as a excellent way to finance the protection of their national reserves, attract tourists, and boost their economy.

March 12, 2006 - Melissa Mathis, Greenspan

Volunteer Conservation Project

These conservation projects put you to work in stunning locations with local people who carry out wildlife conservation. Experience is unnecessary, just bring enthusiasm.

Take a Volunteer Vacation.

Take a volunteer vacations in Peru, or Costa Rica. These short-term adventures last one to two weeks, and  they focus on cultural-awareness and sus

tainability. They are often compared to a "mini peace corps". All program costs, including the cost of airfare, are tax-deductible.

You need no special skills nor do you need to speak any foreign language. Immerse yourself in a new culture. Enjoy befriending people in new and interesting countries, and experience the reward of helping them on meaningful community projects.

You can help by writing a letter to President Lula of Brazil.

Sending letters and emails to elected officials is one way to let them know your preferences regarding U.S. involvement in protecting the environment.

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Ecotourism is being hailed by environmental organizations and the Brazilian government as a viable new industry, and a vehicle to sustainable development. Responsible ecotourism minimizes the adverse effects of traditional tourism on the environment, and it reduces the need for deforesting the Amazon rainforest. The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people".

The industry has already created thousands of new jobs for the Brazilian people. Environmentalists are optimistic that by drawing in travelers to spend money on the rainforest, deforestation will be reduced, more jobs will be created, and it will provide economic support for local residents. 

Millions have been spent by the Brazilian government on developing ecotourism as a way to profit from the Amazon rainforest without destroying it.

Many other countries also see ecotourism as a excellent way to finance the protection of their national reserves, attract tourists, and boost their economy. For example, in countries such as Kenya, Ecuador, Nepal, Costa Rica, and Madagascar, ecotourism represents a significant portion of the gross domestic product (Wikipedia)

Ecotourism is not just sustainable tourism in natural areas. Ecotourism entails many principles: careful appreciation of the areas, ethical behavior towards local people, active involvement in local conservation efforts, appreciating biodiversity, and promoting sustainability. It's also educational for the tourists and local people.

Tourists have local guides to traverse the rainforest, experience wilderness adventures, and go on river journeys to remote villages where they can encounter the local cultures, and buy handcrafts made by the indigenous tribes. The revenue generated not only benefits the local people, but it provides much needed funding for the protection of the local parks and other natural areas. Ecotourism builds enthusiasm and activism among travelers, educates them, and fosters interests in conservation.

Volunteer vacations are another form of ecotourism where tourists experience personal growth through volunteer efforts and activism. With these vacations the flora, and fauna are often not the main attractions. It's about getting involved, and helping the local cultures.

Ecotourism alone, without proper planning and management in sensitive natural areas, will not guarantee the preservation of the ecosystem's integrity. Complete dependence on ecotourism is not an option for local cultures because of ever present fluctuations in climate, and socio-political conditions. However, few other income generating options are available to many of the indigenous communities. Ecotourism is widely regarded as a viable economic development alternative, and it has become increasingly popular amongst conservationists and travel aficionados.

Some current destinations are: Peru Andes - Cusco & Machu Picche, Brazil Pantanal & Iguassu, Paucartambo, and the Galapagos.

Eco-tourism is thriving, helping protect conservation areas, and educating the local cultures on how to preserve their ecosystems while generating revenue. (Read More)

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