Deforestation. Endangered species on the brink of extinction. Climate change. For decades, these words have been in news headlines, research papers, documentaries, and political agendas. Daily, we are bombarded with depressing stories and shocking images of the destruction of our planet’s ecosystems. Humanity has an abundance of data, facts, and theories. We don’t need more knowledge or more awareness. If we want to end environmental destruction for good, we need to get people back out into nature.
At The Adventure Junkies, we believe when you step out into the wild places of the world, you don’t return home as the same person.
Stepping outdoors creates a chain of events that all have a positive impact on the environment. First, it gives adventurers an awareness of the world around them and their place in it. Second, it provides jobs for the local community. Third, it demonstrates the value of wildlife and natural ecosystems to government leaders.
Experiences outdoors inspire people to protect the environment like nothing else. Films, books and T.V shows can spark interest but nothing beats the experience itself. You have to be there. After locking eyes with a whale shark while scuba diving it’s almost impossible not to care about the health of our planet’s oceans.
The adventure travel industry helps lift people out of poverty by providing work to people who live near places that face environmental threats. By creating jobs, people no longer see wildlife as pests but as an opportunity to live better lives. Community members become part of the solution.
In some places in the world, the highest paying jobs are those which are the most devastating to the environment. Killing mountain gorillas and selling their hands is one way for people in eastern Congo to earn money. Catching sharks and cutting their fins off is how some feed their families. People don’t go into this line of work by choice but by necessity. People who have enough money to eat, send their kids to school and pay for their basic needs don’t seek out this dangerous and often illegal work.
The Adventure Junkies believes that giving work is the most sustainable solution to conservation issues. Creating opportunities for people to earn an income is better than giving money to NGOs, better than creating documentaries and better than using pure force to protect wildlife.
As the author of the book Give Work and founder/ CEO of Sama Source, Leila Janah, puts it, “Traditional charity models rely upon donations to provide access to goods and services, access to food, access to education, access to health care, access to clean water and other life-saving interventions. But what people really need and desperately want isn’t access – it’s income.”
When created in a socially and environmentally conscious way, outdoor adventure experiences such as hiking, kayaking, scuba diving, and wildlife safaris bring new jobs to the local communities. From guides, drivers, cleaners, cooks and hotel staff, the outdoor adventure industry creates lots of opportunities to earn an income.
The economic value created by the increase in adventure travelers visiting a certain country demonstrates wildlife is more valuable alive than dead. This encourages governments to find solutions to protect ecosystems. At The Adventure Junkies, our mission is to make the outdoors accessible to everyone in order to inspire people to value, understand and protect our planet’s ecosystems.
To accomplish this, we see there are two steps to the equation. The first is to help people learn new outdoor activities such as hiking, scuba diving, kayaking, and more. The second is to bring adventure junkies to the outdoor experiences that are designed to have a positive impact on the environment and the local community.
To get people back into nature, we created an outdoor education platform to make getting into nature accessible to anyone with the desire to do so.
So, what is The Adventure Junkies doing to connect outdoor adventure and conservation? We’re taking a small first step. I am dedicating my time to learning more about what we can do as a company in the next few years. I’ll be writing this blog as a way to introduce you to the places, people and ideas that harness the power of adventure to conserve the environment.
On this blog, I will take you on all kinds of adventures from the hiking in the Peruvian Andes, kayaking with whales in Argentina, horseback riding in Kyrgyzstan, kiteboarding in Sri Lanka and many more outdoor experiences which have a positive impact on the local community, environment, and your soul.
Together, we will explore the connection between outdoor adventure and conservation. I will give you a peek at what we are doing as a company to make achieve our mission and how you, as a fellow adventure junkie can contribute to conservation in a unique and meaningful way.
There is a growing breed of adventurers that wants to explore the world and do good. And since you’ve read this far, I’m guessing you’re one of them. This blog is for you, for people who share our mission and want to be a part of it.
Like any journey, you have to start somewhere, this is that somewhere. If our mission resonates with you, let us know in the comments below!