Community Eco Projects is a way for communities to save money and protect the environment at the same time. It is about economic development and social good in addition to environmental preservation. It is a concept that started in the 1970s in Greece. It involves sustainable tourism which excludes any form of external tourism such as airplane flights or other non-indigenous tourism like fishing. This would include volunteer work in projects like ecotourism, which requires no travel beyond the destination. These projects can also be community based, which means that people work on them year round and they may also involve food waste composting, recycling, and energy retrofitting.
Improving The Local Environment
There has been a lot of publicity about the idea of organising a Community Eco Game for the benefit of the community and its local environment. This year, in January, Greece held an event organised by the Green Union which raised millions of Euros and attracted tourists from far and wide. There is also a campaign going on for the coming year with the hope of raising another million Euros. So, if you want to support these Community Eco Projects, why not make it an event organised by your school or college, local leisure and sports club or a church group?
To make this possible, there is a need to get some volunteers. At this point in time, this is still largely a student movement with the main emphasis being student volunteering. The main issues in organising Community Eco Projects is the generation of funds. Can the community benefit economically from such projects? And how do you get people from a different cultural and ethnic background into your group? I have heard some interesting ideas regarding this.
Organising The Community
I have known people who have made history out of Community Eco Projects. One of these volunteers was a member of the Armed Forces who decided to take part in ecotourism as a means of helping the soldiers. Through their own project, they planted trees for habitat in areas where there was minimal development. In doing so, not only did they get free timber, they planted trees that were not harvested for timber. This planted a sustainable tree nursery and helped save on timber costs for the military. This helped raise awareness amongst other military personnel about how their actions are affecting the local environment.
Another high profile community project was organised as part of a PR campaign in support of the London Summer Olympics. A group of students decided to stage an ecoclub where they would be raising money for the event by selling tickets. This has proved to be an excellent event as it has helped raise over a million pounds for the environment. The annual awards were so successful, that a year later, there were additional events added to the programme for the Beijing Olympic.
As this shows, ecotourism isn’t just a student activity. It has the potential to unite people from a diverse background and from all walks of life, in order to raise money for a common cause. Ecotourism is a growing event in the world, which can act as a vehicle for social change and raise awareness of the issues our planet is facing. If you have the opportunity to organise an eco-tourism event, consider organising an eco event next time the Olympics are on.