In this age, where climate change hangs over today’s young generation in the same way nuclear war did for their parents, we put forward our stance on travel – should we be doing it at all?
Here at STC Expeditions, two clear objectives underpin our business. Firstly, we aim to show our remarkable world – in all its glory and with all its challenges and opportunities – to the students who travel with us, giving them the chance to learn from direct experience. Secondly, we strive to be responsible and sustainable, making the way we travel environmentally and ethically conscious.
It might seem as though those two things are contradictory – that you can’t travel without having a negative impact. But we’ve flipped things around and interpret them as working together to create opportunity rather than conflict.
That’s a big question, and the answer isn’t the same for everyone. So let’s think about the students who travel with us. Often disparagingly referred to as the ‘snowflake generation’, it’s implied that today’s young people lack resilience, are hypersensitive and have an over-inflated sense of entitlement. They’re encouraged to have opinions and are given access to forums for expressing their ideas, but information is filtered, curated and skewed in a way that makes getting to the truth tricky. And while the world has opened up in a virtual sense, it’s also becoming increasingly insular and inward looking, in both personal and political arenas.
That’s why we think travel may be more important now than it’s ever been for this generation of students. By visiting unfamiliar places, seeing otherworldly landscapes and meeting communities with very different lives, our travellers gain a ‘global education’. They see the world in real life through their own lens, not through the camera of someone else’s smartphone. It broadens their horizons and inspires new ways of thinking. If seeing somewhere on the news is impactful, imagine the results of experiencing it first-hand.
New Ways of Thinking About Travel
Climate change hangs over the current crop of school-age students in the way nuclear war did for their parents. At STC Expeditions, we’re well aware of the contribution air travel makes to our carbon footprints. We’re also conscious that not all travel is ethical or sustainable. That’s why we ask every group we work with to address some very important concerns before they head off. We help them carefully research their destination and think about:
- Why they’ve chosen a destination
- What they’ll learn and what personal experience they’ll gain
- What effect (positive or negative) their visit will have on local people and the local environment
We plan each detail of every adventure taken by all schools that travel with us. In practice, that means:
- Limiting travel to destinations blighted by over-tourism
- Only working on projects run by locals that have a tangible benefit to local communities
- Working with local guides and leaders as well as staying in accommodation and taking part in activities run by local companies
- Making use of every moment with packed itineraries that justify the distance travelled and time spent
- Being thoughtful and responsible in all aspects of every day, from shunning single-use plastics to avoiding unethical animal attractions
- Actively mitigating the carbon footprint of every flight we take by contributing to direct-action projects
We know that travel of any description has an impact on the environment and local communities. We also know it has a positive impact on travellers themselves. So we’re working hard and always striving to ensure the impact is positive for everyone involved.
If you would like to hear more about our commitment to Responsible Tourism, please feel free to call the office to speak to one of the team.