Why Kayaking Is The Eco-friendly Way To Adventure
“Make Fun Happen. Create Cool Products. Use Business to Improve the Environment.” Since day one, these three points have served as our business model.
The first two are fairly self-explanatory: we make fun happen by hosting a variety of awesome ocean adventure tours (the best there is this side of the Mississippi), and we have a custom line of apparel, accessories, and other cool products for adventurers, locals, and everyone in between.
But sometimes the third item on the list—arguably the most important—is left out of the narrative, or simply unclear. How does an adventure/apparel company use business to improve the environment?
I’m glad you asked. Let’s get into it:
Tourism’s cool younger brother, Ecotourism
As a big part of the global economic picture, tourism has the ability to do a lot of harm and damage to native communities and local industries. At it’s worst, tourism can disrupt tribes and villages, upset local economies, and damage natural reserves and landmarks unsuited to a large amount of visitors.
Of course, it also has the ability to bring about huge economic opportunity. There are hundreds of cities and regions that have benefited from travelers coming through and providing a new source of income, but sometimes the costs of doing business outweigh the benefits.
It was important to us from the very beginning that our business model was created within the parameters of ecotourism—the philosophy that industries linked to tourism and travel have the responsibility to ensure the natural, cultural, and environmental protection of the areas they do business in.
If that sounds like a load of hippy hoopla, think of it this way: when a large amount of people travel through a small area within a short amount of time, something is going to happen to that environment. At best these effects are minor, but if left unchecked they can be potentially disastrous: tons of trash and litter left on the ground, vandalism of monuments and landmarks, shrinking populations or even the extinction of native wildlife.
In our case, the responsibility we have as an adventure tour company is environmental. Our tours operate out of the La Jolla Ecological Reserve, a Marine Protected Area (MPA) made of about 6,000 proliferate underwater acres, renowned as one of the largest congregations of marine life along the coast of California. As a result the area is popular amongst visitors and locals alike, and regularly studied by marine biologists and ocean scientists.
The La Jolla Ecological Reserve is referred to as an underwater park and is therefore open to the general public. We like to think of it as a playground full of marine life, unique microhabitats, cave systems, scenic views, and more. There’s a lot to see and enjoy, and our job is to guide anyone who’s looking for a fun way to explore it.
This is where we’ve needed to be careful. When you’re building a business within an area full of sea life and fragile habitats, certain precautions must be taken in order to preserve these environments and keep them in their natural state.
Kayaking toward a greener future
One of many reasons we love kayaking is that it’s one of the greenest ways to get out on the water without disrupting local ecosystems. Unlike larger commercial boats, kayaks are completely sustainable, which means no gasoline, no oil, and no sound pollution from motors. Also, since our tours are in a reserve, nothing can be left in or taken out of the water to ensure the underwater habitats remain unperturbed.
This allows us and all our customers to experience the beauty of one of California’s most unique ocean attractions without ruining or disturbing any animal’s home. Therefore, thousands of guests come to La Jolla and join us on tours every year, and we’re proud of the fact that through a sustainable business model we’ll be able to operate for years and years while preserving the La Jolla Ecological Reserve.
In addition to doing everything we can to limit and prevent negative effects here in La Jolla, we wanted to find a bigger way to give back. Since we couldn’t exist as a business without the ocean and all that it has to offer, we figured that finding a way to further preserve and protect our seas would be well worth the effort.
That led us to join 1% For The Planet. You can read more about that here, but essentially it allows us to pledge one percent of every dollar that comes in to a non-profit organization of our choice. We partnered with GreenWave, which runs a program teaching and spreading the practice of 3D ocean farming—a sustainable alternative to sourcing food, mainly seaweed and shellfish.
Beyond putting meals on the table, this method of growing food is the greenest form of farming currently in practice. It doesn’t require any input (so no need for pesticides or water), helps balance the carbon level in the oceans, and even assists with the rebuilding of reef ecosytems, which further replenishes ocean life.
You can read more about the rad stuff GreenWave is doing here. Keep an eye out for our visit to the GreenWave headquarter at the end of the year, where we’ll formally present our donation (via giant check, Happy Gilmore style).
And if you're looking to join us on the water, remember that in addition to having an awesome time you'll be participating in one of San Diego's greenest activities, and even helping give back to the planet.
Our kayaks are grey, but our hearts are green
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