In Celebration of Earth Day: TTC and TreadRight Foundation Support the Wilderness Foundation – Africa
For Earth Day, our 25+ brands have united together to support our non-profit TreadRight Foundation. And for every single booking made across all of our TTC brands, TreadRight will be donating $1 to the Wilderness Foundation – Africa as part of its wildlife initiative. Each dollar donated will go directly towards purchasing additional aerial patrol time for the TreadRight Bat Hawk which helps to directly keep rhinos safe from poachers.
Wildlife organizations face an uphill battle against a well-funded and ubiquitous adversary. If organizations like the Wilderness Foundation – Africa are going to win the dire fight to save the rhino, and it is a fight we have to win, they require leading technology and tools in order to do so. That is why each of our travel brands across the planet is participating in this important Earth Day campaign helping to purchase more flight time for the TreadRight Bat Hawk. The plight of the rhino is a global ‘all-hands on deck’ problem so we are getting everyone we can involved.
Earth Day Q & A with TreadRight Ambassador, Céline Cousteau
Our TreadRight Ambassador and documentary filmmaker, Céline Cousteau is helping to tell the stories of the many sustainability partners TreadRight helps to support around the world. In support of Earth Month, we asked her to provide her insights about conservation, her personal experience with wildlife and how to become more active citizens.
1) How does travel better educate people of the importance of wildlife conservation?
When people see for themselves and have very personal hands on experiences it creates a much a deeper understanding of the importance of what they see compared to reading about it or even watching the story told by someone else. Travel is an amazing way to get people immersed into a place, interacting with people and ecosystems which gives them the opportunity to really feel the wildlife that is all around them and have it become more relevant to their life.
2) Can you please tell us a personal experience of your interactions with wildlife that have better affected your appreciation of conservation?
Wow. I’ve been privileged of having a lot of interactions with wildlife. From swimming with an anaconda in the Amazon to cutting a fishing net off of an entangled humpback whale off the coast of Chile. And although I’ve always really had an appreciation for wildlife – when you come eye to eye with these animals, and you have that moment or that brush of interaction – it becomes so much more personal and so much more real. Those are really unique and privileged moments that are perhaps not given to everyone. But I do think that it brings us that much closer to the importance and plight of wildlife. Another experience that I’ve had the privilege of is swimming with and filming humpback whales off the coast of Hawaii because we had permits and we were working with scientists, we were able to get close. To have a humpback whale look at you and acknowledge your presence, really makes you feel how small you are in the big expanse of this planet but at the same time, it’s an incredible acknowledgement of your existence and that’s something profound.
3) For citizens who want to help or get involved with wildlife conservation, what would be the best way to help?
First, I would ask that person to identify where their passion lies. Is it in a specific continent or country? Is it a particular ecosystem or animal? Then start doing research about who’s doing work in those areas and lend your support; donating funds is the kind of support that should never be underestimated. Even if it’s a recurring $10 a month, that’s something really important for these organizations. Secondly, if people are given the opportunity and they have the time, volunteering is another powerful way to offer support. There are organizations that accept volunteers in the field and that’s a wonderful, tangible and hands-on way to get involved. I also feel that volunteer vacations with the family are a wonderful way to teach children that you can actually go to amazing and exotic places and give back to those places, whether it’s wildlife conservation or other projects. And be a more informed consumer so please look at the products that you buy and chose those that create less damage the environment. Examples are wood harvested sustainably, local and seasonal (and organic) foods, products that donate back to nonprofits or communities, etc. which all have a benefit for wildlife conservation as a domain effect. I suggest visiting treadright.org to see the organizations TreadRight has vetted and partnered with if you need some inspiration on getting involved.
4) For example, how does the loss of a single species affect an eco system?
This is more of a scientific question that could be complex, but very briefly I would say that we need to look at an ecosystem as something that functions as a whole with all of these moving parts and when one of these moving parts is eliminated, if it’s an animal or plant, then the whole ecosystem suffers. If we can understand that each part is important, then we understand that all they all need to exist in order for that entire ecosystem to be healthy and below water, this includes our human species as well. Nature is like our cities and our cities are like nature. We need all of the parts to function and contribute for the entire system to function.
5) As our TreadRight Ambassador and filmmaker, you have been helping TTC tell the stories about our sustainability projects; why is it important that we share these stories of our initiatives especially during Earth Month?
In order for an audience such as the general public or your customers to be more aware of what you’re doing, you need to talk about what you’re doing. Because we’re visual creatures, I feel that documentary filmmaking is a fantastic way to share stories and really have people understand how intricate the work is and how complex a business is. I feel that I can serve as an authentic spokesperson for the wonderful work that TreadRight has been doing around the world. Sharing those stories makes people’s experiences travelling in those countries more profound and real. Knowing that by simply going to those places, they are also contributing to these conservations project through the work of the TreadRight Foundation should be something they are proud of being a part of.
“People protect what they love.” – Jacques Cousteau
Happy Earth Month & thank you for your support,