Founders Gabe Aufderheide and Trevor James had a distinct vision when launching Moterra Campervans. They wanted to get people beyond the standard tourist loops and give them the opportunity to truly immerse themselves in the beauty, history, wildlife, geology and pristine open spaces of the western United States – particularly the spectacular National Parks and public lands that inspired their business. We chatted with the Moterra Team to learn more about their company and how sustainability fits into the Moterra vision.
What was your reason for working with TreeEra to plant trees? How do trees fit into Moterra’s mission?
As a business striving to encourage people to travel and explore the outdoors through self-contained van travel, we make it a priority to remain conscious of our impact and global footprint on this planet. While our business encourages people to go “off the grid,” we also know vehicles contribute to the climate crisis, so it is of utmost importance to us to ensure we are doing our part and taking care of the Earth as much as we use it. We feel that exploring our great outdoors is not only an opportunity to see the world, but also an opportunity to better ourselves and the places we visit along the way. When we found an opportunity through TreeEra to offset our carbon footprint by planting trees every month, it felt like a no-brainer to our team!
What are some other businesses that you think are doing well in the environmental space?
There are so many companies taking environmental initiatives that we look up to! However, being in the travel and tourism industry, sustainability on a local level is something that really strikes a chord for us. We are local to Jackson, Wyoming where the economy operates almost entirely off tourism, so we have to make a plug for our hometown where we’ve seen environmental initiatives go beyond just one business. The Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce has initiatives for sustainability that expand throughout the entire town, including a zero waste initiative and implementing a “Jackson Hole Code of Conduct” among schools in the area. We are really proud of our small town for its sustainability mission and hope other towns follow suit!
What does climate change mean to Moterra?
We believe climate change is a call to action — to work together to take care of our planet. After all, we all share the ground we walk on! For Moterra, this means taking small steps to (hopefully) make a big impact. We try to use as many reusable products as we can inside of our vans, plan local outings for our guests who opt into our itinerary services, and encourage our team to participate in local volunteer opportunities to continue to do our part in making the world we live in a better place.
Do you have any other tips on how to incorporate sustainability into one’s everyday life?
Definitely! Simple changes — such as always opting to carry a reusable water bottle, mug, and grocery bag are easy ways to eliminate waste. Personally, I keep those things in my car to ensure I always have one with me. Supporting local businesses, shopping at farmers markets instead of chain grocery stores, and/or buying items in bulk is a huge reduction in waste as well. It’s easy to throw away a lettuce container once you go through it, but why not reuse that container for leftovers? There are many creative options to reuse products! Lastly, learning about the local recycling rules in your area and finding ways to compost food scraps, whether through your city or in your backyard, is a fantastic way to incorporate sustainable practices into your daily routine.
Speaking from a travel perspective, it can feel really tough to accomplish sustainable practices while ‘on the go.’ My advice would be to think ahead: pack small, reusable items in your suitcase such as a bamboo cutlery set, reusable water bottle and grocery bag. Carpool wherever you can and consider putting more hike and bike ride opportunities into your itinerary. Download maps ahead of time to save on paper. Opt out of cleaning services at your hotel. Shop local, and book any travel excursions through local operators — preferably ones that give back to their communities!