Why Our Climate Smart Commitment Is Good Global Citizenship

A Note from Rick Steves' Europe COO Craig Davidson…

At Rick Steves' Europe, we consider ourselves travel teachers. We are in the business of providing the skills that empower people to have a lifetime of fun, affordable, and culturally broadening trips. And just as travel changes someone's life for the better, we want our initiatives to have the same effect. That means targeting climate-smart projects that provide leadership and educational opportunities to the people in the communities where the projects are being implemented. In developing countries, it means funding projects that include educating and empowering women and girls.

This means that many of our projects will have nuanced goals. They will include things such as environmental education, protecting biodiverse lands through conservation, teaching and supporting climate-smart farming and forestry, and lobbying to create smart environmental laws. We like to think of it as creating a diversified mutual fund of climate-smart projects where the primary investment is in people.

We know this won't be simple or easy — but the effects of climate change aren't simple, either. We will probably fund some projects that won't deliver what we expected, while some will succeed beyond our wildest dreams. All we can promise is that every project in our portfolio will be designed to pay back our debt to the earth and strengthen the communities involved. And we will be transparent with you about them all.