BY SAMANTHA LEASE
A new and trending buzzword in the environmentally conscious world, biopositive, is one that you should get familiar with.
Biopositive is regenerative in nature, both literally and figuratively. Merriam-Webster defines biopositive as regenerative: specifically relating to damaged living tissue, in which repairing of that damaged tissue takes place.
Right away it’s obvious that this eleven letter word is important, but how does it relate to the everyday person? Apparently, a lot more than we think, and it has a special connection to travel and tourism— but not in a cute way.
With the holiday season approaching, many of us will travel without thinking much of it. The most important thing on our minds will be the coronavirus and not so much the environment. We hear words like ecosystems and biodiversity and we think that they’re reserved solely for use by marine biologists, scientists, and school textbooks.
But what if we told you that your seasonal travels could be directly affecting innocent animals, beautiful landscapes, and doing harm to the environment? We’re not saying that you can’t or shouldn’t travel -that’s silly- but we are hoping that you might now want to become more aware of your own personal environmental footprint.
Yes, it’s honestly pretty bonkers, one journeying person like yourself can really make a difference in this World starting immediately. But how? By starting small, starting with your travels this holiday season!
Calling all animal lovers! Whether you’re a fan of the furriest babies, or maybe something that slivers and doesn’t have all fours, biopositive travel definitely relates to you. And if you think there’s no way that you have any part in driving out cute innocent animals from their homes— you’re sadly mistaken. No one plans to deliberately harm an animal’s natural habitat, or even worse, the animals themselves, but by participating in the latest trends you might be doing just that.
If your tourism escapades include posing with tigers, riding atop exotic camels/elephants on the beach, or partaking in safari activities that aren’t meant to preserve wildlife or its surroundings, you aren’t being very biopositive. ‘Doing it for the gram’ has its consequences: those tigers you’re taking pictures with— they are most likely heavily drugged, and while you’re busy getting the perfect selfie, you’re unknowingly contributing to an illegal black market and animal abuse. Even simple activities like fishing need to be done responsibly. Make sure to check your local fishing rules, ie: stay within the minimum number of fish you’re allowed to catch, some lakes require that you release the fish, beware of protected areas so as to not harm baby fish, etc. It’s easy to do your part— just do your homework! Check state websites for different rules and regulations, search the internet for sustainable safari options, or ‘adopt’ an animal via WWF.
When possible, try to view animals and nature from a safe distance. Not sure what that means for the area you’re planning to travel to? Get online and Google. That’s the beauty of the internet! Anything in question is searchable.
Another biopositive concept to contemplate when planning your getaway this holiday season is how you can avoid overtourism. Overtourism is exactly what it sounds like— too many tourists visiting a place all at once. Overtourism is a real issue, and when traveling to hotspots, you might actually be disrupting nature and making things harder for the animals that live in those environments, along with contributing to the destruction of the land, ecosystems, and its natural elements. Take the beautiful country of Iceland, for example, there are more tourists visiting Iceland than there are residents, and these tourists are actually heavily polluting the once pristine Iceland. More and more tourist attractions are being implemented and less nature conservation strategies are happening.
And of course, overtourism doesn’t just apply to Iceland. We’ve recently seen similar issues where overtourism is ruining historic native places in Santorini, Rome, Barcelona, and the list is sadly growing. A biopositive tip when traveling to your next destination: try to visit places that you normally wouldn’t venture off to. Choose a beach that is not well known or traveled to, and visit hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Pick local spots to explore and try to avoid the otherwise touristy traps. Other simple things to consider that often get overlooked when traveling: don’t litter, even that tiny bandaid is going to do more harm than good, if you see trash go the extra mile and pick it up (you can bring a small trash bag in your purse or backpack to throw any waste in), try to carry a refillable water bottle as opposed to using a purchased plastic one, don’t pick at trees, plants, flowers, or disrupt anything natural going on at your destination, and try to be more intune with nature and the environment in general.
What else? Don’t travel without a real purpose, and when you travel, travel with care. There’s more to life than getting that perfect Instagram shot. Don’t follow the crowds! Go off the beaten path and forget the so-called hotspots that are popping up on your feed. Crowds trample, trash, and invade the environment. You know those beautiful blooming wildflowers in California? Thousands of people, cameras and iPhones in hand, came, saw, and literally conquered those delicate flowers— which aren’t guaranteed to grow back. Not without their seeds at least, which if trampled before naturally shedding and doing their thing, these perennials may not have a second chance.
So what’s so sexy about being biopositive? It’s a stand that you can personally take, and having a voice and a passion is attractive. Speaking up is the new staying quiet. Having an “I don’t really care” attitude is so passé. Showing that you care for the planet, and the effects that we are having on it, is something people can get behind.
By educating ourselves and others, we can make a difference for our future and generations to come. Social media allows us to spread the word on biopositivity, and word of mouth is another contagious way to talk about being biopositive. Feeling brave? Bring up biopositivity and how it relates to travel during your next holiday meal. Tired of your aunt bringing up the idea of marriage and your relationship status everytime she sees you? Enter the biopositive banter. It’s better to talk about something than to stare around awkwardly, right?
Need some more eco-friendly talking points? Here you go....
- Planting cute trees and bright florals to bring life back to your yard
- Creating a design for your garden, a covered greenhouse perhaps?
- Choosing to walk or ride your bike more
- Taking trains is the new flying high in planes
- Hip eco-conscious hotels or other accommodations and what they are doing to make a difference
- Investing in environmentally conscious holiday gifts for friends and family. Check out our sustainable collection of accessories crafted from apples, mangoes and cacti.
- Making cheap $15 donations to multiple biopositive causes that you’re newly passionate about
So the next person that asks what you’re into recently or what you’ve been up to, tell them you’re into biopositive actions. Taking small baby steps towards the greater good. Tell them you’re trying to become more planet sensitive. Planet sensitivity is sexy, and the more you care the more it will show and act as a magnet for other positive things to enter into your life. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
About the Writer
Samantha Lease is a millennial freelance writer focused on fashion and luxury lifestyle, who has recently taken up a passion for sustainability. Samantha has a BBA from Pace University, and she also holds a Vogue fashion certificate from the Parsons School of Design and a paralegal certification from Boston University. She has a major soft spot for all animals and nothing comes between her and her beloved ragdoll cat— Jellybean. If you’re in need of a high dose of fashion, check out her blog.