This month I explored Kristin Weis's Way of traveling. A new feature on sustainable, ethical tourism, always proudly on Womanscape.
© Kristin Weis 2018
Clear day or not, you are most likely to find her outside, as close to nature as she can get; a family habit. Kayaking, cross-country-skiing, trekking up mountain peaks in all seasons, not for the summit but for the view, 'making space for me and my thoughts.' She will don ski goggles or sunglasses, bike through Arctic winter storms, breathe in the balmy, salty breezes of the Dominican coast. To her, this is peace.
Kristin Weis is not a conventional peacebuilder or lady. She fights for human security by putting a spotlight on our relationship with the environment. Her goal is to improve the way we use and conserve it; this is the only one we get.
'We like to forget just how dependent we are on our environment. We leave it out of our stories and our solutions when it requires a starring role.'
Her journey began where most classic quests to save the world do: in Washington, D.C, studying conflict management and foreign policy. But while the rest of her peers went on to work in government buildings and think tanks, she went her own way … to develop models for eco-tourism and waste management in Malaysia.
She founded Roskanet, a project that creates eco-tourism and design solutions that support local, coastal communities in developing countries. One such solution, ‘Smart Tourism,’ as she calls it, involves a three simple rules of traveling:
One, Respect the locals; you are their guest. The people, their culture and environment: the plants and animals, and all living things. Interact with them mindfully. Begin by picking up your litter, and speaking of litter,
Two, Reuse, recycle, upcycle. Be aware of the trash you create; even if it goes in a bin, it is still waste you are leaving behind. So avoid single use items; use proper glasses and real plates. No plastic or Styrofoam. After all, you are on holiday.
Three, Direct the flow of your money back into your host community. Buy local, authentic products; you will help small, ethical businesses grow.
Everyone wins: travel is more enriching and local communities gain resilience. Saving the world by keeping the view beautiful for the next visit.
Kristin is still on her way, now pursuing a Master’s Degree in Coastal and Marine Management. Her research focuses on social-ecological resilience and the role of tourism in Dominica. In her free time, she trains peacebuilding professionals on environmental issues and solutions, and always finds time to trek, surf, ski. Breathe outside in nature.
For more inspiring stories of women changing the world their way, visit Womanscape.
Learn more about Kristin’s projects by visiting: https://www.facebook.com/roskanet/