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Break for summer responsibly

Let’s talk about travel! Now that brighter (and warmer) days are ahead of us, you and your family or friends may be thinking about taking that trip you’ve been putting off since early 2020. Whether you are traveling within the U.S. or are heading abroad, chances are that you’re planning to pick up a few souvenirs along the way.  No matter where you plan to shop, always remember to ask yourself the Five Ws of responsible souvenir purchasing before you head to the register.

Who: Who is selling this? Ask yourself if you trust that the seller knows the history of the items and is selling it for a fair price. This is especially important for handmade items that come from overseas, Native American reservations, Amish farms and workshops, or other populations that may be subject to exploitation.

What: What is it made from? Make certain that the items you buy do not contain any part of an endangered species (including hair), or that its manufacture did not hurt the local environment.

Where: Where did it come from? Find out if the item was made in the same country as where you are purchasing it. If not, find out where it was made to be sure that it was responsibly produced.

When: When was it made? This is especially important if you find yourself in a vintage or antique market. Learn how to identify ivory and real furs and skins, and do not purchase items that contain those.

Why: Why do you want it? Be sure that you are purchasing items for the right reasons. If you are buying something just to show it off, you run a much higher risk of accidentally purchasing something problematic. 

You can also use the Five Ws when you are looking for environmentally-responsible tour or excursion operators. Putting in the extra work to keep your travel as environmentally responsible as possible will ensure that we can continue to share these amazing destinations with generations to come! We at Zoo Atlanta wish you happy and safe travels, and we hope you come back to see us soon!

Katie Anderson
Supervisor of Youth Volunteers

Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl