We care for our environment all over the Earth and are passionate about being as green as possible. Sense Earth is committed to reducing, reusing, and recycling as much as we possibly can to reduce our waste. We are committed to being environmentally responsible and to travel the Earth with a positive impact whilst supporting conservation and community initiatives. Conservation efforts are financed almost exclusively by tourism, with the majority of wildlife sanctuaries being dependent on the income from safari expeditions. Therefore, in order to create a more sustainable future, we need to encourage ethical tourism to these areas.
Sense Earth’s founder, Jenny Bowen is an ecologist and all our staff are working in an industry they love and are passionate about. We are dependent on the well-being of the earth’s wildlife, environment, reserves and national parks in order for the business to operate. We believe it is our duty to protect, nurture and educate all who work in the business and travel with us.
HOW WE WORK OVERSEAS
Our Ethos and Philosophy
Sense Earth believes sustainable tourism is essential. Whilst travelling, we can have a positive impact on the economy, local communities, and the environment. Sustainable tourism encourages good practice in the use of natural resources, maintains socio-cultural authenticity and provides economic benefits for local communities.
- Sense Earth encourages guest to travel responsibly. We ensure game viewing does not disturb the wildlife and the ecological impact on the surrounding area is minimal. Guests will also get to feel the culture and return home with glorious memories having travelled on an environmentally and socially sensitive journey.
- We ensure that our ethical wildlife journeys directly contribute to local initiatives so our guests can leave a loving imprint.
How we Operate
We work in conjunction with local operators, local guides, communities and small, locally owned, family-run accommodation so that our guests get a genuine experience as well as supporting on the ground initiatives. This is achieved by:
- We visit and support remoter and less visited national parks, wildlife reserves and wilderness areas evenly distributing funds and our impact.
- We try to minimise environmental impact by travelling in small groups and, as much as possible, on foot.
- We work with local guides and help them to enhance their skills.
- We work with specialist local operators with similar values to ensure that everyone benefits.
- We buy local produce, when possible.
- We develop and are committed to long-term plans to visit rural areas and support local communities on a regular basis.
Sense Earth encourages guests to be responsible tourists, travelling with respect and sensitivity to the local environment. Sense Earth uses local tour guides, making sure guests money stays in the destination. Simply by travelling with Sense Earth, guests are supporting the destination they visit. We do our best to use accommodation and other services which aid local community initiatives or support local conservation projects. Responsible travel is an intricate part of the holidays we organise.
Water is a scarcity, so we ask guests to be aware of their water usage; take shorter showers and don’t leave the tap running whilst cleaning their teeth. We encourage the use of biodegradable products such as shampoo and soap – be sensitive to the environmental impact that other less caring products cause. We ask our guests to switch off lights and reduce electricity output to a minimum.
- We emphasise to our guests not to leave any litter as it destroys the fragile ecosystem and has a negative effect on tourism. Appropriate ways for removing litter is provided, or we encourage guests to simply put it in their bag and dispose of it at their accommodation. Litter also includes cigarette butts which are poisonous to the wildlife and, if still lit, can have catastrophic consequences.
- We ask our guests not to ask guides to get closer to animals for the ultimate photo. Instead, guests are encouraged to savour the experience and respect the wildlife.
Sense Earth encourages our guests to learn a few words of the local language which shows respect for the culture and helps our guests to integrate into the local community. Appropriate phrases are given in our handbook.
We ask guests to respect local customs, wear appropriate clothing and behave in an appropriate manner. Sense Earth can organise for guests to donate to a local school or community, and we can organise this in advance. There are certain ways to give gifts in an appropriate and fair manner which we advise how to do.
We discourage the giving of sweets to children as this encourages begging, takes children out of school and isn’t a healthy option.
We inform our guests to ask before taking photos of local people. If guests have a digital camera, we ask them to show their pictures to their subjects. Not only is this polite, but it can break the ice and encourage conversation.
Sense Earth encourages that guests buy handicrafts and souvenirs from local stalls rather than imported souvenirs from neighbouring countries. In doing so this directly supports the local communities and encourages local initiatives which are reliant on tourism. We also stress not to buy souvenirs made from endangered species such as ivory and ebony.
Cultural experiences are a core strength of Sense Earth, and these are carefully managed, in a sensitive manner, so that everyone benefits. We take our guests to visit traditional communities to learn about the local way of life, spend time in schools, join a church service, meet a traditional healer, and participate in much needed local projects. We support, financially, local tourism ventures.
Projects we support
Sense Earth supports conservation and assists communities in our holiday destinations. Our holidays are balanced with the preservation of the earth, the conservation of the wildlife and supporting the local people whose countries we visit.
As part of our commitment to social responsibility, we donate regularly to several charities that are close to our heart in the countries we visit. We support both community and conservation initiatives. Where possible we help raise awareness, fund, and/or develop partnerships with, local communities to develop low-impact and environmentally friendly tourist areas.
The Shamba Trust supports community efforts to provide high quality preschool education for children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds in Eswatini. The charity helps promote early child development at family and community levels and provide children with adequate nutrition. Sense Earth has worked with this charity in helping to fund and build playgrounds in two communities in the southeast of Eswatini.
The Turgwe Hippo Trust came into being after the hippos’ lives were threatened during a horrendous drought in the southeast lowveld of Zimbabwe in 1991/92. The Trust was formed after the successful completion of a feeding program and water supply exercise undertaken by Karen and Jean-Roger Paolillo during those traumatic times. This has continued to this day and not only do the hippo benefit, but so do all the local wildlife as well. It is a pleasure to support the Turgwe Hippo Trust.
Eswatini Communities – there are numerous community projects which Sense Earth directly supports. Some are ongoing, and regularly visited by UK schools. St Helen and St Katharine School, Abingdon, providing invaluable assistance for the long-term building of Mhlumeni High School and the construction of an Old People’s Home in Section 19. Abbey Gate College, Chester, have formed a partnership with Mlindzini Community, visiting every 2 years to provide support and cementing this relationship.
HOW WE OPERATE IN THE UK WHILST WORKING FROM HOME
Sense Earth includes our company values on sustainability in our job descriptions, training programs and performance reviews. We encourage employees to adopt the following initiatives when working from home.
- Enable sleep mode and power saver features on computers and other equipment. This reduces power consumption when these items are not in use.
- Use smart power strips that turn off peripheral equipment when the primary device is turned off. For example, when a computer connected to a smart power strip is shut down, the connected monitor and printer will be turned off too. This helps save energy without having to rely on having to remember to turn everything off.
- Use energy efficient lights, especially LED’s. LEDs save both energy and money.
- Turn off lights or power when not in use and place laptops in sleep mode.
- Only boil as much hot water as you need.
- Unplug devices from the wall – electronic devices still use energy when they are plugged in but aren’t being used.
- Ensure devices are in the most eco-friendly setting, i.e., turn the screen brightness down to save energy.
Green our Supply Chain
- We are committed to making as many business purchases through local vendors as possible. Whether it’s our office purchases, business cards, or printing, by supporting local vendors we help keep money circulating within the local economy.
- We are committed to using suppliers who adopt green practices.
- Water is a scarcity, so we are aware of our water usage; take shorter showers and don’t leave the tap running whilst cleaning your teeth.
- Use biodegradable products such as shampoo and soap – be sensitive to the environmental impact that other less caring products cause.
- Set printers to print on both sides of paper as a default. This will automatically cut paper costs and saves money as well as resources.
- Go paperless. Documents are shared, edited and passed on using cloud-based services like Google Drive and One Drive. This helps reduce the need for printing.
- Sense Earth uses Signable – all documents are signed electronically.
- Where paper required, we encourage the use of recycled paper.
- We encourage the use of recycling – from general waste, glass, paper, and plastic.
- Recycle printer cartridges.
- Desk plants can increase the oxygen flow within a room and improve the air quality. This can offset any chemicals released into the air.
- We encourage remote team meetings via Zoom.
- When face-to-face meetings required, we encourage car sharing between participants.
- Reduce travel to a minimum.
- We encourage everyone to take a break in their garden or park and maybe to be part of a local project.
- We encourage desks to have visual access to the outdoors.
CLIMATE NEUTRAL CHECKOUT FOR SENSE EARTH
Offsetting: Sense Earth is looking to provide an option for guests to offset the emissions produced in taking holidays to our destinations. A CO2 footprint and compensation cost of each trip will be calculated, taking into consideration the flight, land transfers, and accommodation booked. Offsetting is not about being carbon neutral but being carbon positive.
The cost: Sense Earth will absorb the cost of carbon offset and invest in projects that promote clean energy technologies, conservation, forest management, or other environmental efforts that combat the effects of climate change by reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.