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World of Festivals

Prat?tyasamutp?da. Does that word say anything to you? If not, that's perfectly understandable, because that word is in Sanskrit. The meaning of this word is one of the most cardinal principle of Buddhism, and as I believe it is also the real essence of ecotourism. In English, Prat?tyasamutp?da means "Dependent Origination" - or in words that us mortals can understand, you are a part of everything and everything is a part of you. So basically all that you are and all of the actions you take in your life has an impact on the world and the people in it. And what is Ecotourism if not understanding your impact on the environment and taking responsibility for it? Last summer in Europe, I understood the meaning of Prat?tyasamutp?da. It was the end of May, and I found myself, 19 years old girl from Jerusalem, inside a rented van with 2 other Israeli guys, starting a 3 months journey in which I would cross 8 countries and participate in 13 festivals. It was not an "Eco-Trip" by definition. We weren't there to protect rain-forests, teach orphans or volunteer in organic farms. We came to europe to travel and work in festivals, but it was there that we've learned that everything in the world is connected, and that awareness made us eco-friendly as possible (and people-friendly too (: ). We tried to be ecological by the small choices we made. You can't drive all over europe without using many liters of fuel, but we always had some hitchhikers taking a ride in the back of our van (once we even forgot that there's a hitchhiker there!). Plus, it is still better for the environment to travel like this than by planes; Even though it was not always the biggest fun for me to wash the dishes everyday, using disposables was not even an option for us; We slept in our car, under the skies or at good people's homes - never in hotels; And even that it was more of an inevitability and not something that I am proud of - we took very few showers and barely did laundry - water conservation, isn't it? :) Many of the festivals we visited also showed great efforts to be as ecological as possible, and it was inspiring for us to see that it's possible. When you have a festival with ten thousands of people, it is inevitable that there will be plenty of... body wastes. In some festivals there was a thing called "pootopia" - alternative environmental toilet systems, so you can be nice to nature even when you're taking a dump.

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