All activities on our volunteering holidays make a contribution to protecting or improving the environment. Formal environmental assessments and appropriate resulting actions are an integral part of Biosphere Expedition's environmental policy.

Biosphere Expeditions always aims to minimise the negative effects on the environment of all its activities. Expedition volunteers are fully briefed on all aspects of this and told how to minimise their personal and the mission's impact on the environment. Where possible, all paper and other recyclable materials are recycled. Water and energy efficiency are always under consideration and where possible efforts are made to minimise the energy usage of our volunteering holidays.

In order to reduce environmental impact further, all expeditions are vegetarian and they use cars, equipment, food and medicines with environmental impact in mind (see the other policies on here).

Biosphere Expedition also works with Climate Care, who encourage people to repair the damage they do to the environment every time they fly or use other fossil fuel-burning means of transport. All our conservation volunteers are encouraged on a voluntary basis to make a donation to Climate Care based on the damage their travel to the expedition base has done. This donation is paid into a fund that invests in projects that reduce emissions such as renewable energy and energy efficiency. Biosphere Expeditions then covers the carbon debt incurred whilst the expedition is actually in the field.

Briefings before the start of the volunteering holidays and leaders during the volunteer program highlight relevant social issues and offer best practice examples to volunteer citizen scientists.

All missions are developed with local partners and scientists, as well as community representatives where appropriate. This consultation serves to minimise negative impacts on local cultures. This is often developed through a more complete integration into local communities, by working alongside them to achieve a conservation objective.

Biosphere Expeditions publishes results and recommendations based on collaborative work together with those who helped gather data and draw conclusions.

Biosphere Expeditions believes that, as humans, we have designed an economy that is dependent upon endless growth. We have also designed an economy that generates incremental profits by constantly increasing productivity. Endless growth on a finite planet is an unhealthy and unsustainable mathematical impossibility. Cancer is perhaps the best analogy to endless growth. It grows until it kills the body that hosts it. Therefore Biosphere Expeditions is not committed to growth. We want to do a limited number of volunteering projects and we want to do them well, making a difference to our partners and local communities on the ground as well as the wildlife and habitats that support them. We want to retain full control of our processes and actions, with our left hand knowing what our right hand is doing. If there is growth, we will make sure that it is sustainable and necessary, which means it should be based on local demand and conservation need. Our economic decisions we make for our volunteering holidays will be based on this maxim.

In addition we are committed to the following:

  • Accommodation on our volunteering holidays varies from fixed camps, jungle lodges to tents. Where applicable, these will be owned locally.
  • Where possible the vegetarian food we will supply will be sourced locally and ideally from organic sources.
  • Where applicable, expedition volunteers are encouraged to spend their relaxation time using local facilities and resources.
  • Biosphere Expeditions always works in close conjunction with local people and makes sure that the fruits of our work benefit local helpers, their society and the environment they live in.
  • Accommodation varies from fixed camps, jungle lodges to tents. Where applicable, these will be owned locally.
  • Where possible food is sourced from locally supplied produce and ideally from organic sources.
  • Where applicable, expedition participants are encouraged to spend their relaxation time using local facilities and resources.
  • Biosphere Expeditions always works in close conjunction with local people and makes sure that the fruits of our work benefit local helpers, their society and the environment they live in.

Biosphere Expeditions volunteering holidays are all about animal conservation and research on, or caring for, animals in its broadest sense. Because of this, Biosphere Expeditions will offer through its catering no animal meat (including fish) on expedition. In addition, the United Nations (alongside many other studies) has identified vegetarianism as one of the major ways to reduce impact; it has also concluded that a global shift toward a vegetarian or vegan diet is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change. In line with all of the above, Biosphere Expeditions will only offer a vegetarian diet wherever possible on expedition.

Those more interested in our reasons behind this policy for our volunteer programs can read an interview with our executive director on this topic.

Equipment such as cars, computers, GPSs, camera traps etc. as well as food are essential for running expeditions. Medicines are an important component of each expedition’s safety and medical umbrella. However, the production of all of these things uses up the planet’s resources, especially when paired with the obsession to always ‘need’ the latest model, operating system etc. or the myth of sell by and expiry dates, which are by and large purposefully created to maximise profit for the producer only and result in a high sale/production rate and large amounts of waste.

Biosphere Expeditions will resist these destructive tricks of hypercapitalism by doing following:

Cars

Cars have a significant environmental impact and giving up car ownership is one of the key lifestyle changes that people can make for the environment. Biosphere Expeditions in 2020 got rid of the last car it owned wholly or in part. Since then we have used car shares, hire cars or cars of staff, partners and participants to reduce the impact that cars have on our operations. In addition, we will use electric and other non-fossil fuel sources of power wherever possible.

Computers and other technology equipment

Computers and other technological equipment also come at significant environmental cost. Pair this with the obsession – driven by the industry in order to maximise new sales and therefore profits – of always having to have the latest model, operating system or new gadget, and the impact becomes much greater. Biosphere Expeditions will resist this by using equipment until end of life, even if this means it might not run at high speed or with the latest operating system. As long as the equipment does its job in a reasonable and safe manner, we will continue to use it. When it stops doing so, we will dispose of it responsibly or pass it onto someone who can still make use of it.

Other equipment

For the same reasons of reducing waste and impact, Biosphere Expeditions will also use other pieces of equipment until end of life and without being driven by having to have the latest stuff. Again, as long as the equipment does its job in a reasonable and safe manner, we will continue to use it. This might be tents, compasses, rucksacks, dive jackets, underwater slates, datasheet clipboards and many other pieces of equipment that we need to run our citizen science expeditions. Again, when equpiment stops doing its job in a reasonable and safe manner, we will dispose of it responsibly or pass it onto someone who can still make use of it.

Food & medicines

Food sell by and drug expiry dates are well-known myths pushed by the food and pharmaceutical industries to maximise their profits despite the cost to the environment. Biosphere Expeditions will not go along with this and use food and drugs as long as it is reasonable and safe to do so. Biosphere Expeditions will also serve vegetarian food on expedition only (see our food policy and vegetarian background information for more on this).

We encourage our citizen scientists implement these policies on a personal level too.

Biosphere Expeditions works with Climate Care on achieving carbon neutrality in its expeditions (i.e. harmful emissions as part of the expedition are offset against donations reducing greenhouse gases). Climate Care is an organisation that invests in projects that reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects. The first two displace fossil fuels in the energy generation mix and the latter absorb carbon dioxide. All emissions during the expedition are offset by Biosphere Expeditions.

In addition to this we encourage every expedition participant (1) to chose an expedition that takes place close to where they live and to travel to its assembly point by means other than flying and (2) to work out the carbon deficit they incur through travelling to the expedition assembly point and back home again. For a relatively small sum, Climate Care can then help to remove from the atmosphere the same amount of carbon dioxide as is produced by flying or other forms of transport to the assembly point.

ClimateCare

Biosphere Expeditions actively encourages and seeks out support from companies whose activities have a direct connection to Biosphere Expeditions’ volunteer programs, research and conservation work through provision of products and/or services that can support this work. This includes manufacturers of outdoor & research equipment, IT, vehicles, or providers of services such as transport, training, education or PR/marketing. Biosphere Expeditions also approaches grant-giving bodies and trusts whose funds are not derived from environmentally destructive activities.

Biosphere Expeditions does not accept support from the following:

Corporations whose activities, services or products come with a persistent and large-scale negative impact on the environment. These include oil, gas, logging, mining and other such companies, which Biosphere Expeditions judges to fall into this category.

Corporations whose activities, services or products come with a persistent and large-scale negative impact on human health or welfare. These include tobacco, alcohol, some food production & processing and other such companies, which Biosphere Expeditions judges to fall into this category.

Corporations who Biosphere Expeditions judges to obtain their revenue by unethical means or who have a record of unethical conduct.

With our planet under attack like never before, it is our mission to make, through our citizen science volunteer conservation holidays and volunteer programs, an active contribution towards a sustainable biosphere. At Biosphere Expeditions we believe in empowering ordinary people by placing them at the centre of scientific study as wildlife conservation volunteers and by actively involving them out in the field as citizen scientists, where there is conservation work to be done.

We promote sustainable conservation and preservation of the planet's wildlife by forging alliances between scientists and the public. Although these days the terms "volunteering" and "voluntourism" are much used and abused, we at Biosphere Expeditions are committed to running ethical wildlife conservation volunteering projects to all corners of the Earth. Our volunteer expeditions to save wildlife and wild places are not tours, photographic safaris or excursions, but genuine volunteering research expeditions, based on good citizen science.

We always work in close conjunction with local people and scientists, and ensure that the fruits of our volunteering holidays benefit our local helpers, their society and the environment they live in. Adventure, remote locations, different cultures and people are part and parcel of our conservation holidays and what our expedition volunteers can experience, but also the knowledge that you will have played an active role in conserving part of our planet's biosphere.

Since 1999 we exist for those who, through their hands-on work, want to make a difference to the survival of the particular species or habitat under investigation, and to the world at large. We invite everyone to come and join us out in the field, at the forefront of conservation and the fight for a more sustainable planet, to work, learn, experience and take responsible guardianship of our biosphere. So join us and take part in our volunteer programs!

To achieve this, Biosphere Expeditions will wherever possible • collaborate with reputable scientists, research institutions and educational establishments (wherever possible from the host nation) who are experts in their field • collaborate with organisations and businesses which operate in an ethical and/or sustainable way • operate in an ethical and sustainable way, minimising negative impacts on local cultures, environments and economies • publish results and recommendations based on collaborative work together with those who helped gather data and draw conclusions.