ecovolunteering impact


Evaluating the impact of its eco-volunteering mission on the environment is quite complex and ultimately amounts to weighing the balance between the mission's contribution to biodiversity and the impact generated by the arrival of eco-volunteers.

Positive volunteering for local biodiversity

Eco-volunteering brings a lot to local biodiversity.

First of all, financial assistance, in the form of a donation, will allow the biodiversity protection program to make its project last, by training and hiring staff, by purchasing study or care material for animals, by carrying out local environmental education programs, or by hiring forest rangers to fight against poaching and deforestation ... In addition, the help of the volunteer in the field comes in support by providing additional arms and good will, and sometimes even very valuable skills!

It is more or less difficult to quantify the benefit of volunteering on biodiversity. Most projects depend largely on the financial resources of the eco-volunteering to survive, and one can without much false modesty attribute a large part of the results they display to the eco-volunteers.
For example, in 2019, the support of eco-volunteers will have enabled Cybelle Planète partner projects to:

  • benefit from more than € 155 in donations!
  • benefit from more than 4300 volunteer days;
  • enrich the knowledge bases on terrestrial and / or marine wildlife with thousands of documented observations;
  • save the thousands of injured or orphaned wild animals and release them into the wild when possible;
  • to carry out long-term monitoring of populations of endangered species and to alert the authorities when necessary;
  • ensure regular monitoring of sensitive natural sites;
  • protect hundreds of sea turtle spawns;
  • carry out large-scale mangrove reforestation projects;
  • to participate in the publication of decisive scientific studies on endangered species;
  • to carry out environmental education programs, fight against plastic waste, etc ...

This long list allows us to say that eco-volunteering is a real benefit for local biodiversity.

See reports of volunteer action

Impact of volunteering on the environment

The benefit of eco-volunteering on local biodiversity is real, but does it offset the impacts generated by the presence of eco-volunteers on site?

Overconsume the territory

Eco-volunteering is a mode of travel which, by its essence, avoids the main hazards of mass tourism with, overall, basic reception infrastructures, little or no “luxurious” comfort (example: no air conditioning) , no intermediary with an economic contribution directly profitable to the population or to the local project, ecological equipment (dry toilets, solar panels),…

However, by the simple fact of the presence of volunteers on site, the eco-volunteering remains responsible for a disproportionate consumption of the territory compared to that of the local inhabitants (daily use of motorized means of transport, consumption of water and food modest but still high compared to local standards ...). Overconsumption is all the higher as most ecovolunteers, once their mission is over, extend their stay to do tourism and discover the country in which they have moved.

CO2 emissions

Most of the eco-volunteering missions that we offer require a trip by long-haul plane, responsible for CO2 emissions. We are thus balanced between a responsible mode of travel that is useful for biodiversity, and the use of a mode of transport which is a major source of greenhouse gases (GHG). Tourism today represents two-thirds of international flights! How can we ignore this?

Drift of eco-volunteering

Eco-volunteering is still a very marginal voluntary activity, which does not benefit from any official rule. Most of the eco-volunteering missions offered on the internet are real environmental programs, but you should know that there are a certain number of offers for "false good deeds", which for example offer feed "orphan" baby lion cubs which in fact come from inhuman breeding for hunting, which conduct pseudo scientific monitoring which ultimately will not be used for any study ... These abuses will harm the environment all the more because they generally exploit endangered species. extinction, protected reserves, without providing any positive gesture for the environment in return.

Tipping the balance positively

For those who wish to contribute to the preservation of our Cybelle Planet by adopting virtuous lifestyles, the question is inevitable: Does the benefit of my eco-volunteering mission counterbalance the impact generated by my presence on site and by the GHG emissions generated by my trips? ?

Obviously, there is no key answer, but we can nevertheless try to compensate as much as possible our negative impact on the environment by financing projects supposed to reduce GHG emissions by an equivalent amount (carbon compensation), or by supporting local environmental protection programs (territorial compensation). On the other hand, it seems more than desirable to adopt greater sobriety in our ways of traveling.

Limit travel

In 60 years, our mobility has increased from 1500 to 4500 km per year. Between 2003 and 2016, the number of trips for personal reasons of French people abroad (abroad and overseas departments) increased by 43% to reach 24,5 million in 2016, figures which continue to increase! These trips mobilize natural resources in the host countries and contribute to increasing greenhouse gas emissions. When will we see sobriety in our travels?

The trip has become “in”, the absolutely must-do. Have you ever seen someone count with pride the number of countries they have traveled to, like a real globe-trotter, even if the stays are less than a week? Little by little we forgot to take the time to dream and savor our trip, to plan it and imagine it before departure, to take the time to discover and appreciate during the trip, and to integrate the benefits and the new knowledge acquired after the return!

Failing to stop traveling, let's travel less, longer ... and take the time to appreciate each step before, during, and after.

carbon offsetting

Carbon offsetting is a proposed solution to greenhouse gas emissions which has its limits and which is still very complicated to understand in terms of calculation methods and the real benefits derived from projects and the planet. In addition, to date, less than 0,1% of travelers offset their carbon emissions, since this remains a voluntary action.

We did a carbon offset study. We believe that it can be an acceptable means of partial compensation provided that you choose the compensation organization and the projects that will benefit from it.

Territorial compensation ©

The notion of territorial compensation was created in 2010 by three committed tour operators, including Jean-Pierre Lamic, Founding President of Eco-responsible travelers and tour operators (VVE). This compensation method, close to solidarity tourism, is related to the territories and their real needs: among these needs we should mention the preservation of local biodiversity. The idea is to compensate directly in the areas impacted by the traveler by providing substantial support for local environmental conservation or local sustainable eco-development programs. Note that unlike the potential negative effects of carbon offsetting, territorial offsetting represents a gift and not a right to pollute.

Due to its main vocation, eco-volunteering is a territorial compensation solution.


sustainable measures 2


To read to go further on sustainable travel: