April 2, 2009 – G.A.P Adventures, the world’s leading adventure travel company, is spearheading a number of initiatives for Earth Month to raise awareness of the importance of minimizing environmental impact and travelling in a low impact and sustainable manner. The roots of Earth Month run deep at G.A.P Adventures, with our awareness campaign growing stronger each year.
“Weaving sustainability into every aspect of our operations and our travellers’ experience is the essence of G.A.P Adventures,” said Richard G. Edwards, Director of Planeterra, the non profit foundation founded by G.A.P Adventures. “Earth Month is an opportunity to question how as a business or as a traveller one can integrate sustainability into every decision, to not only lessen impact on ecosystems and other cultures, but to create positive impacts.
“Our experienced Product Development team and field offices have demonstrated a strong commitment to designing tours that ensure the protection of local people and the environment. Working in partnership with our local leaders and guides, we strive to operate our tours in a manner in which our dedication to sustainability is evident on every G.A.P Adventures trip.”
G.A.P Adventures Earth Month Activities:
Dollar-A-Day program – Double the impact
In honour of Earth Month G.A.P Adventures will match each donation to our Dollar-A-Day program. This initiative provides travellers with the opportunity to donate one dollar per day for the duration of their tour with 100% of these proceeds going directly to support Planeterra projects.
Planeterra supports more than 25 local community projects, as well as non-profit organizations and international charities that focus on the areas of health, education, community development, environmental conservation and employment skills training.
Kenya Community Tourism Project: Through Planeterra we are working to raise funds to install water tanks in a remote village in western Kenya. By purchasing and installing 3,000 litre water tanks, time and energy spent hauling water for survival in the past can now be invested in education, further agricultural production, and other economic activities.
Brazil Reforestation Program: Through our partnership with Trees for the Future, we are working with local communities in the development of a reforestation program, which seeks to improve living conditions and increase agricultural production in the area. The initiative includes training programs for 100 local farmers which teach practical techniques to manage land sustainably. Over the coming year we aim to plant over 1 million trees and native plant species in an effort to reduce the negative impact that deforestation has on climate change, while improving the living conditions of local people in the area.
New Delhi Street Kids Project: Through Planeterra’s partnership with Salaam Baalak Trust, we provide scholarships to young people who once lived and worked on the streets of Delhi. Travellers on G.A.P Adventures Project India trip can also choose to take part in a city walk led by a child who was once living and working on the streets.
Cuba Greening Project: Through Planeterra, we support a schoolyard greening program that brings together elementary school principals, teachers and students in creating a natural green space on their school grounds. The children are involved in all stages of the hands-on planning, design and implementation of the project. It allows them to decide what to incorporate into their green space, including native trees and shrubs, fruit trees, organic vegetable gardens, composting and medicinal plant gardens.
Minimizing our impact
G.A.P Adventures has taken numerous steps to reduce its impact on the environment. The company demonstrates its desire to be a responsible member of our local communities through the following initiatives:
Public Transportation Subsidy: In an effort to encourage Head Office staff to do their part to reduce air pollution, individuals who purchase passes for use on Toronto’s public transportation system are provided with a monthly subsidy.
Supporting Green Energy: Head Office, and Toronto, Calgary, Melbourne and New York Concept Stores are all 100% powered by green energy providers including Bullfrogpower. These companies provide green electricity and purchase power exclusively from wind and low-impact hydro generators.
PEFC Certified Brochures: All G.A.P Adventures brochures are 100% PEFC certified. The PEFC Council (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes) is an international organization focused on promoting sustainable forest management.
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle: In an effort to reduce paper within the office, all fax transmissions and pay stubs are sent electronically. G.A.P Adventures also donates used computers and equipment to reBoot Canada, who refurbish these items for people with limited access to technology.
Clean Air Commute: Pollution Probe hosts the Clean Air Commute, a weeklong event to promote awareness of Toronto’s air quality. G.A.P Adventures has won awards for the past seven years as a result of 100% staff participation in using cleaner methods of commuting to work.
Volunteer Adventures– Save 10%
Volunteer adventures are a way to give back to the communities and regions we visit. Travellers can make a difference to the local communities while taking a hands-on approach to bringing about positive change.
G.A.P Adventures encourages travellers to experience this life-changing way of travel and is pleased to offer 10% off volunteer tours booked by April 30, 2009.
G.A.P Adventures offers a variety of volunteer adventures to choose from including:
Project South Africa
Volunteer opportunities include working with local preschools and elementary schools, assisting teachers with many programs, including reading, arts and crafts and sports – and helping to paint and refurbish classrooms and school buildings.
Project Costa Rica
Work along side local and international volunteers to help protect endangered sea turtles. Volunteer activities include night patrols along the beach, data collection, beach clean-up and area maintenance, monitoring of the baby turtle hatchery, counting baby turtles and releasing them.
Help build a Peruvian cooking stove with plenty of time to relax and explore. Benefits of the stove include the removal of smoke from the kitchen, a 50% decrease of wood usage and the reduction of eye and lung infections especially among women and children. No building experience is required.
About G.A.P Adventures
G.A.P Adventures is a world leader in the adventure travel industry offering small group adventures on all seven continents and beyond to more than 85,000 global travellers annually. The award-winning trips, which focus on culture, nature and active travel, are ideal for those with a sense of adventure – people who want to leave the beaten path and authentically immerse themselves in a local culture or environment to experience the real world in a sustainable manner. Demonstrating its ongoing cultural, social and economic commitment to responsible tourism, G.A.P Adventures established the Planeterra Foundation, as a way the company and its passengers can give back to the communities visited. For more information, please visit www.gapadventures.com and www.planeterra.org.