From protecting the nesting habitats of endangered sea turtles to preserving cherished cultural heritage sites, travel philanthropy funds such as the Heart of St. Kitts Foundation have the power to create real, tangible impact at the local level. But this progress doesn’t just happen on its own or because of the isolated efforts of a few people. The potential of travel philanthropy funds to make a difference instead relies on the support and participation of the local community as a whole. It doesn’t matter whether a person is a hotel owner, tour guide, environmental specialist, government official, school student, or artist – each and every destination resident can play a role in growing this collective impact.
Located in Chilean Patagonia, Torres del Paine National Park is considered by many as the 8th wonder of the world. This will come as no surprise to those adventurers who have been lucky enough to gaze upon the park’s jagged peaks and turquoise lakes.Of course, where natural beauty and adventure abound, people often do too. In the last four years alone, park visitation doubled, and in 2016 reached a historic record of 252,000. Unfortunately, Torres del Paine’s soaring popularity has also been accompanied by an increase in man-made forest fires. Since 1985, the park has lost one-fifth of its 242,000 hectares to fires, all of which were started by tourists. These fires devastated native Lenga tree forests and the habitats of already endangered species.
“If you do any simple research, you will discover and be relieved to know that the Willamette River is safe to swim in,” notes Willie Levenson, ringleader of the Human Access Project, a Portland Oregon-based group committed to cleaning up and changing the reputation of the city’s primary body of water.
For decades, the Willamette—like many rivers that flow through US cities—was a stew of industrial waste and sewage. No longer. According to the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, the Willamette is safe for human recreation.