The Venture Outside Commitment: “Leave it Better Than We Find It”
Vacations should be good for you. We know you’ll have an amazing time on, and a lasting benefit from, the journeys Venture Outside has planned for you.
We at VO believe that our vacations should be good for the earth too. So we make a commitment to participants in our adventurers and retreat that we’ll do everything we can to provide an experience that is ecologically sustainable and beneficial to the broad community of earth.
In the big picture, you’ll have a great experience with Venture Outside. Maybe just as importantly, we at VO will work to leave the earth just a little better than we found it for each participant. You’ve probably heard of the LNT ethic – Leave no Trace – to practice when you’re out in nature. We’ll strive for that and then go one better and try to leave the earth a little better than we found it.
How about it? Is it even possible? Can someone have a wonderful, transformative travel experience, and actually help the earth?
VO buys its produce for meals from local organic farms, we minimize travel with fossil fuel as much as possible by utilizing hybrid vehicles when they are available, we run our office with off-the-grid solar energy, we recycle everything, go paperless as much as possible, and more. We work to identify our carbon footprint, and for things we can’t mitigate, we plant trees on degraded sites to offset our footprint. When the timing is right, VO trippers and retreaters will be given the opportunity to participate and perhaps plant a tree or two themselves.
VO doesn’t maintain a large inventory of our own equipment, a large contingent of American guides that go abroad, or our own properties. Most of what you pay for when you book a trip or retreat will go into local economies and to local proprietors. We believe this is a critical aspect of travel, and is another reason we avoid mass market tourism where dollars go to large corporations and never make it to locals. There are a network of ecolodges, organic farms, non-profits and others, that have made a commitment to green concepts and sustainability. We seek them out and give them our business.
It may be as simple as cleaning up a parking area or a boat launch, or piling up some shoreline flotsam on an island, to work off a bountiful meal. Opportunity is everywhere, and our groups collectively decide the what, where, when, and how.
A major portion of the profits from VO go to support the non-profit activities of the Center for Ecological and Cultural Living Arts (CECLA), a 501(c)(3) organization. CECLA is dedicated to the demonstration and education of sustainable living skills and processes. CECLA’s accomplishments have included: education programs related to organic farming, permaculture, and holistic land management; and support of a reforestation project outside of Cusco, Peru. CECLA currently is developing a children’s reading and music series to teach young readers about healthy earth concepts like organic farming.
We believe that exposing VO trippers to other cultures and healthy earth living concepts such as the “Live Well” ethic of Indigenous communities will be good for the earth. Our adventures and retreats will introduce “Other” ways.The “American Way” is wonderful in many ways, but not so much in terms of energy consumption, our emphasis on possessions, and in our loss of community. By emphasizing experience over purchases of “stuff,” seeking out simple pleasures, and experiencing the warmth and authenticity of native communities, your experience with VO will set the stage for meaningful journeys…both outside and inside!
Put all of these things together and, well….we’ll make a difference!