ESTC Talks

ESTC Talks

#ESTCTalks - Harnessing Our Relationships With the Earth


Ben Sherman, the President of Native Tourism Alliance, believes that sustainability is about stewardship of the earth, and a sense of great kinship with the earth, similar to a relationship with a family member. We need to care for the earth just as we would for a family member. The relationships between humans and the earth bring about deep connections. Noting that Indigenous peoples around the world have been living very close to the earth, Ben continues to maintain his relationship to the earth.


#ESTCTalks - Making Smart Decisions for a Sustainable Future


Megan Epler Wood (EplerWood International) believes that we all need to think of sustainability as an investment we are making in our future, and the future of the next generation. She sees sustainable tourism as a smart investment that can be scaled up effectively with the right partners. Her goal is to help the global business and donor community make smarter and more effective investment decisions for the planet’s future which can finance conservation of our environment and support the dreams of people around the world.


#ESTCTalks - What Will You Do Today for Your Great-Great Grandchildren?


Sustainability is not only about us, now and here, it is about more than that. Rafael Gallo, the President and Founder of Rios Tropicales believes that we should live our lives with the future generations in mind: "If you do anything in life just for your behalf, I don’t think that there is any sustainability there". Rafael's work at Rios Tropicales shows just that.


#ESTCTalks - Empowering the Stewards of the World's Unique Natural Areas


Sustainability needs to be about the people who are the stewards of the wilderness and the beautiful, unique natural areas of our world. Keith Sproule, Tourism Business Advisor for WWF-Namibia, believes that all of us in the tourism industry "have to figure out how to structure benefits for those people." If they see tangible results from reducing the risk of losing those wild areas, Keith believes, "they will continue to sustain the last outreaches of wilderness". Like many of us in our industry, Keith wakes up every day feeling passionate about working on sustainable development, working to improve the tourism industry's impact on people and places, and creating a sustainable environment.


#ESTCTalks – Tourism as Part of the Intricate Balance of Nature


When we asked Karen Lewis, the founder and owner of Lapa Rios Ecolodge, what sustainability meant to her, she responded by saying that sustainability is a balance. She thinks of the world as a circle, with all the world's creatures being equal rather than one being better than the rest. She believes that humans are "just part of a system rather than the dominant species". Ecolodges around the world, such as Lapa Rios Ecolodge, follow this concept of being part of a system and focusing on balance.


#ESTCTalks - Bottom-Up Approaches to Environmental Stewardship for Future Generations


Quoting one of his favorite authors, Sigrid Olsen on the picture of earth from outer space showing "whirling blue green planet in the endless void of space", Daniel Dustin, the Chair of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism at the University of Utah, believes that when looking at this picture of what we call home, we "don't see all these divisions that tend to divide humanity", but rather we see an ecological reality within which we have to learn to live. One of the most important challenges that we face today is that we have to make sure future generations have the same opportunities we were given.


#ESTCTalks - How Can We Create a System That Regenerates?

Sustainability Is Happening All the Time in Nature

Chris Barclay, the "Chief Daydream Believer" at The Gingko Society, finds that people can talk about sustainability over and over again and overthink it, but basically it means to mimic the natural system at what it does to itself and at contributing to the larger system. "If you look around you, it's going on all the time, everywhere... right under your nose." So how do you create a system that regenerates? Studying and watching everything that goes on in nature, and replicating it, coupled with a clear vision means achieving a sustainable environment.


#ESTCTalks - Touching People's Hearts, Souls and Stomachs

Judy Kepher-Gona, CEO, Basecamp Foundation

Judy Kepher-Gona, the CEO of Basecamp Foundation, believes that sustainability consists of empowering people, safeguarding the livelihoods, environment, and local cultures, and making a difference in the world. It's everything that touches "peoples' hearts, souls and stomachs." She encourages everyone to "go out and shout about it!" At the Basecamp Foundation, a non-profit tourism based organization, sustainability is a top priority. The foundation showcases responsible tourism practices, develops tourism models for sustainable development, and promotes responsible tourism by engaging in local, national and international stakeholder dialogue and advocacy.


#ESTCTalks - The Journey to Sustainability is Not Out There... It's Within!


Joe Staiano, Founder of Meaningful Trip, is passionate about the power of travel to bring about positive economic and social change, and truly believes that meaningful travel – traveling purposefully and with care - can change the world. For him, sustainability is about connecting people to places around the world, caring about what is happening in the places we visit, and bringing lessons home. Socially-responsible travel allows travelers to make a difference and give back.


Meaningful Trip

Meaningful Trip tours offer unique travel experiences that support women’s health, education, hunger, and poverty alleviation efforts domestically and abroad. Meaningful Trip is one of only two US tour operators to have signed The Code - a code of conduct and best practices within the tourism industry to prevent sexual exploitation and trafficking of children. Its vision extends beyond just a tour or vacation; it is about creating an awareness, dialog and engagement on important issues in our everyday lives.

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