You know what I always say: when you start to know something, to understand it, then you can start to love it, and with love comes empathy and the need to help, protect and save. When you hear on the news that something terrible happened very far away, it’s easy to feel less connected to the tragedy, like it’s something happening on another planet. I’m guilty of this as well. But when something happens to people or places that you know, NOW it’s personal.
To make my point and try to sound less like a broken record, I asked a few other bloggers about their favorite places. Places that were not home but that they had gotten to know and love while traveling, and that they would do anything to save.
Sadly, most of the places they talked to me about, and were desperate to save, were places that were already in bitter need of saving.
WHAT’S THE PLACE YOU WOULD DO ANYTHING TO SAVE?
“I’ve been up to Whitsundays a few times and one of the best things to do there is snorkeling. The Whitsundays is part of the Great Barrier Reef, one of the biggest reefs of its kind in the world. It’s so large it can be seen from space. It’s filled with thousands of species of coral and animal life filling the sea with vibrant colors and beauty for almost the entirety of the Queensland Coast (about 2300 km). Unfortunately, protecting the GBR is not just hypothetical. Last year the Abbott Government actually made plans to dredge a lane through the middle of it so that ships could easily pass through it. Thankfully I don’t think this got up, but what a travesty that would be for a World Heritage listed natural wonder.”
Luke, from Backstreet Nomad
“If there’s a place I’d want to save, it would be Halong Bay in Quang Ninh province of Vietnam. I visited in 2013 and thought it was one of the most beautiful landscapes I’d ever seen. The thing is that places like these attract a lot of wanderlusters like ourselves and throughout the years the bay had been struggling with excessive tourism. It’s hard not to be taken in by the impressive images you see online of turquoise waters and pristine limestone cliffs, but the harsh reality is that the bay is suffering from extreme pollution generated by the wastes from the hundreds of tourist boats, local boats and local fishing villages that ends up in the bay each day. If something isn’t done soon, the damage to this UNESCO world heritage site could be irreversible. Let’s raise awareness about the issue and save this beautiful bay.”
Bianca, from The Altruistic Traveller
“A place we’d do anything to save is the rainforest in Borneo. We spent a month traveling through the Malaysian side of the island last year and fell in love with the nature, the people and the food (those Sarawak Laksas …!). But the rainforest there has such a sad story. So much of it is being cleared daily for the palm oil industry and animals like the orang utans, pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys and many more are seing their homes being destroyed every single day. We got lucky and saw a few orang utans in the wild near the Kinabatangan River in a small piece of rainforest. But look around and it’s surrounded by palm tree farms. This is truly a place that needs to be saved.”
Stefan and Sebastien, from Nomadic Boys
“The place I would do anything to save is the Abel Tasman in New Zealand. The Abel Tasman National Park is considered one of the most beautiful areas of New Zealand. There are beaches, walking tracks, kayaking and other activities that you can do there, but the main draw is the Abel Tasman Track. I spent 4 days hiking through the bush and beaches and camping every night in places where I’m sure some people would love to build a million dollar resort. One stop on the track called Bark Bay was my absolute favorite, and while you can water taxi in and out from places along the track I’d recommend walking at least one day! When people think of hiking it’s usually mountains and valleys, but the Abel Tasman gives you beaches. Is this real life?”
Sonja, from Migrating Miss
“When I think about places I’d do anything to save, the world itself springs to mind; my family’s island in Scotland, the Amazon and reefs in warmer seas. Forced to choose, our temporary home in the Bolivian cloud forest fills me with the most dread. Within a kilometer of our fledgling ecovillage, loggers have begun do dig in. Just beyond the red flowing river, amongst the flocks of butterflies and birds, there’s a festering scar in the forest. It’s quiet now and elsewhere the ecosystem continues to flourish as if unaware that it should be in mourning. Time passes in bands of weather rather than minutes and nothing except the boulders remains still for long.”
Katie, from Feathery Travels
But don’t be sad now. These places are loved by many people, and I hope that, together, we’ll find a way to save them. And you also have a part in this rescue mission, as a traveler by making smart choices, and as a human being by caring, staying away from palm oil products, recycling, and more.
Above all, travel and keep falling in love with wonderful places and wonderful people!