How can a traveller explore a new place without causing harm to its natural environment? Imagine a trip to the wondrous Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh, where you return with zero guilt of causing a change to its culture and environment. This is, indeed, possible thanks to social enterprise Ecosphere.
Ecosphere is a collaborative effort of the locals of Spiti as well as professionals from various backgrounds, which focuses on eco-travel to create sustainable livelihoods, all linked to conservation of Spiti’s culture and nature.
Over the past two decades, they have worked with more than 70% of Spiti’s population, impacting lives through responsible tourism. The NGO also promotes traditional handicrafts, from paintings to clay structures and silks.
While they want to develop the place and protect its people and resources, they also want to share Spiti’s rich cultural heritage and traditional knowledge with tourists. They work towards three target areas — economy, conservation and development.
Towards this goal, they offer a range of activities that benefit the local communities, and help in overall development of the region.
Ecosphere has helped set up over 80 homestays, more than 150 greenhouses for farming, supported the education of over 95 girls, installed solar water pumps, and recycled over two tonnes of waste.
The NGO tries to ensure that their trips are carbon neutral by investing in renewable energy options like passive solar houses, green houses, solar water heating systems and cookers. They levy a conservation charge on all trips, which is utilised for development and conservation initiatives in Spiti.
The organisation won The Better India’s ‘Sustainable Tourism Awards’ for their exemplary work in reducing carbon footprint during travel and contributing to sustainable travel.
Watch their inspiring work here:
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