Frequently Asked Questions

What is A Clean Break?

Simply put: a mechanism for sharing ideas about ethical earth-friendly holidays.
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How can a holiday be more ethical and earth-friendly?

Tourism contributes to climate change, can damage historical buildings and other cultural heritage, can harm wild places and animals, and can have negative effects on local people. However, it’s possible to have all the great things you want from a holiday (fun, relaxation, adventure...) while minimising its negative impact and even maximising its positive impacts.

There may be no such thing as a holiday that is truly ethical and earth-friendly. With a little thought though, and an open–minded approach to travel, it’s possible to have holidays that are at least more ethical and earth–friendly.
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How did A Clean Break come about?

Rachel Papworth developed A Clean Break while participating in Landmark Education’s Self Expression & Leadership Programme, which requires each participant to create a project which inspires them and makes a difference in their community.

Rachel was struck by the number of people she met who, like herself, were passionately committed to living ethically, and prepared to make consumer choices to reflect that, yet tended to relax their ethical commitments when taking holidays. She developed A Clean Break to make it easier for people to have their holidays reflect their ethical commitments.

"By sharing ideas for ethical earth-friendly holidays, people will find out about holidays that they’d love to go on which just happen to be more ethical," explains Rachel. "At the same time, they’ll become more aware of responsible tourism issues and some of the simple things they can do to increase the good, and reduce the harm, their holidays do".
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How can I avoid contributing to climate change?

Whilst you can’t travel without contributing to climate change you can look for ways to reduce your contribution. Holidays by boat, by train or by cycle offer scenic and adventurous alternatives to flying, one of the fastest growing sources of CO2 (10 tonnes is the average family amount). The Institute for Public Policy Research predicts that air travel will be responsible for one third of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Air travel is the least sustainable way to travel.
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Isn’t carbon offsetting enough?

Not really. It sends out a message that you can throw money at the problem rather than avoid it in the first place. Friends of the Earth argue that it is preventing legislative measures and even encouraging the emission of carbon emissions. Cheat Neutral makes the point nicely.
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How can my holiday support a community?

Whilst voluntary work through a charity or non-governmental organisation can be the driver for planning a community-supported holiday, there are also simple ways to make your holiday have a positive impact. For example:

  • Think about where your money is going. You might try to put money into the hands of the local population by drinking the local beer (rather than a more familiar brand that’s imported), and staying in locally-owned accommodation (rather than in an externally-owned chain hotel)
  • Open your mind to the local cultures and traditions, they may transform your holiday
  • Minimise your environmental impact. Be sensitive to what rubbish you leave behind, using products that biodegrade quickly where possible. Be sensitive about your use of local resources; fuel, water and electricity. Take with you a means to purify tap water, rather than buying bottled water. Help preserve local wildlife and habitat by treating them with respect (e.g. stick to footpaths where they are indicated, and follow the advice of your guides).

For more information see Tourism Concern’s tips on ethical travel.

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After all this, can I still have a fun and relaxing holiday?

With a little imagination we think so. And we’d love to hear about the ethical earth-friendly holidays you take. You can share them by using the Add Holiday form.
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Are these really frequently asked questions?

Probably. :-) They’re the sort of questions we thought we might be asked. If you’ve got questions that aren’t answered here, email us at You can also join in the discussions on our Facebook Group. If we notice that another question is frequently asked, we’ll add it to this page.
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