Studying law taught me many things. And I’m not only talking about law stuff. Especially focusing on international law made me notice that law professionals are not just those know-it-all lawyers we see in TV shows’ courtrooms, but also people who fight for the rights of indigenous peoples, for the right to water, for equal rights and opportunities for every citizen of a country, for raising awareness for and trying to stop climate change, etc. And especially, I noticed that there are several things every person should know, because they could really empower people to make a difference in this world, but they often stay hidden behind the paragraphs and articles of too long and complicated international treaties. What I appreciate, though, is that the United Nations are actually putting some effort into involving the civil population into their programs, in particular when it comes to Sustainable Development an extremely broad matter which could be summed up as “everything we could possibly do to make this world better for us and our children”.
Moreover, growing up in a region where tourism plays a huge role in the economy, thanks to natural wonders as Lake Garda, the biggest lake in Italy, and the Dolomites, UNESCO World Heritage mountain chain, I have seen what impact humans can have on the environment: from the always bigger and longer ski slopes to the terrible traffic in high seasons, to the rubbish left from some jerk tourists under the woods of a national park, etc.
But in these years, while becoming an active traveler, I’ve become more aware of the huge potential traveling can have on the world: a better understand of other culture, a better knowledge of what our planet can offer us and of its weaknesses, a wider exchange of positive ideas. And I have started notice how the people with the most closed views, the racists, the white supremacists, were usually people who hadn’t got the chance to travel outside of their country, their region or even their valley during their life.
2017 is the United Nations International Year on Sustainable Tourism for Development, and on August 22nd the campaign “Travel. Enjoy. Respect.” was launched. The purpose of this campaign is perfectly summarized by the words of Taleb Rifai, General Secretary of the UN World Tourism Organization: “Whenever you travel, wherever you travel, remember to: respect nature, respect culture, and respect your host. You can be the change you want to see in the world. You can be an ambassador for a better future. TRAVEL, ENJOY AND RESPECT.”
So now is up to us travellers and there are plenty of things we can do to raise awareness on sustainable development and support it ourselves as well! Here’s a short list of things you can do right now, while planning your next trip, traveling or simply staying comfortably at home:
- Reduce your water and energy consumption whenever possible;
- Respect wildlife and their natural habitats;
- Buy locally-made handcrafts and products;
- Research your destination to learn about local customs, traditions and social conditions;
- Learn to speak a few words in the local language: the can help you connect with the local community and its people in a more meaningful way.
- Observe national laws and regulations of the country you are visiting;
- Take photos instead of protected cultural artifacts as mementos of your trip.
These and more tips and recommendations can be found in the UN “Tips for a responsible traveller” publication, available for free download at this link!
Follow @IYSTD2017 on Instagram for more examples, recommendations and updates.
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Potete leggere questo post in italiano qui!