The time has come for Nepal as well as the entire world to start accepting the fact that there are certain things about our environment that just cannot be left unaddressed for too long before it will start having repercussions in a magnitude that will be unmanageable and devastating. Nepal relies in a major way on tourism and if left to continue the way it is at present, the future of this awesome industry that provides comfort to both the providers and the visitors, remains extremely fragile. From the depletion of natural resources to the causes that accelerate glacial meltdowns, we humans are the ones responsible in a variety of ways on contributing to the problem. Even conflicts that we so often hear about all around the world are the byproducts of a poorly managed natural resource department of national governments.
There is a severe lack of understanding regarding our environment and an even more irresponsible attitude from both the leaders of a country as well as it’s inhabitants. The “business as usual” scenario cannot last for too long now. Unless Nepal sets it’s priorities straight and simple, both along the political line as well as the social part, it is going to be a battle that may take forever to win and the casualties will continue for decades to come. What we at Visit Himalaya Treks are doing however, is focusing on ourselves and believing in the motto “what we can do in our own capacity rather than what anyone else can do for us” and have begun to take several actions that may make a difference. Responsibility lies not only with the travelers but also with the organizers and knowledge has to be shared and implemented by both parties. We have started giving options to our clients whether they would like to carry their own non biodegradable rubbish back to base or would want an extra staff to carry it for them. To subsidize partially we are even offering to insure the extra staff ourselves and not charge the client. The plastic that we leave behind in the mountains ends up in the rivers, the streams and the beautiful valleys. They may also end up as smoke that all of us breathe when people burn it, releasing harmful toxins in the air.
We are trying to use as much of the locally grown products as possible and are experimenting on various different methods of using traditional ingredients to prepare western style cuisine using the seasonal vegetables grown in and around the trekking trails. Responsible tourism also highly depends upon the ability of the tour organizers and the travelers to be able to recognize social injustices such as discrimination against women and the backward classes of Nepal. The travelers can play a big role in promoting fair practices by tour operators by asking the right questions and following through with it. After all, the effects of an unjust society are felt by the environment too.
Deforestation may not be as big a problem as it was several years ago but we want to ascertain that it does not reoccur again. From the most devastating landslides every year to the loss of a lot of the plant and animal species, deforestation can have devastating effect on our environment. We are for the preservation of trees and forests as they not only are a major carbon sink but also home to a whole range of wild plants and animals. The rhododendrons of the mid hills of Nepal are one of the most captivating sights that travelers from all over the world come here to witness. We would want to keep it that way.
Visit Himalaya Treks Pvt.Ltd believes strongly on sustainable tourism and is in the process of starting a project that will help establish model eco villages in Nepal. As this is quite an ambitious project in itself we feel that with enough conviction and effort it can be done. By maintaining the simplicity of life in the far flung villages of this country, an environmentally conscious agenda can comfortably be inserted that will have tremendous amount of economic possibilities for the local inhabitants. The adaptation that they will have to make in helping to convert their neighborhood into a more eco friendly one will certainly not be a herculean task as they haven’t yet been corrupted by a majority of barriers faced by the more populous areas of this country. Soon we will be circulating our ideas and plans regarding this particular project and seeking further advice and any voluntary help from clients who may want to be a part of it. With a landscape as rich as this, Nepal has got to start taking responsibility and Nepalis have got to start taking action. Visit Himalaya Treks is dead serious in setting its priorities straight and cannot follow the tradition of sticking Environmental banners in our website by simply paying the annual fee and being content with it. Much more work has to be done than that in order to make a difference and believe it or not, it is doable in a way that will be beneficial to everyone in the long run.