Could we prioritize hosting when proposals come with a purpose of Volunteering on Permaculture and Healing?

Well, you could open a new topic like How can we care for the environment? :wink:

@Matrix I’d be very interested in this discussion if you’d like to start it somewhere. Couch-surfing on the surface seems like an intrinsically more ecological way to travel - just due to less resources being consumed. Do you think advancing couch-surfing as a whole would make a positive environmental effect? Perhaps we are enoucraging more travel (especially plane travel) which could be a negative, and perhaps there are ways to mitigate this.

While prioritising volunteering might run against the general incentives of the platform, it doesn’t mean we can’t think of other things that are potentially even more impactful.

1 Like

I’m going to be the unpopular opinion here:

You cannot give a badge for “caring about the environment” to ANYONE that takes more than one flight every 18 months. More that that and your carbon footprint is too big.

So, being that this is a travel community, or you can’t give it to most people, or you are just being hypocrite.

Sorry if I’m too harsh, none of us likes to hear that we are killing baby polar bears every time we take a plane, but we are. At least be honest with yourself about it and don’t expect a star for separating recyclable garbage, when you are abusing the planet anyways :woman_shrugging:


I would like to tackle this matter first, because I think it’s a priority to say that I DID NOT intend any attacks and I am sorry if it sounded as such.

I am taking the word “fallacious” in its strict philosophical logic meaning and, even with so, written in parenthesis and question mark, showing that I am NOT certain about it.

In this sense, “Logical fallacies, or just “fallacies,” in philosophy, are not false beliefs; to oversimplify, they are logical errors in argumentation, reasoning, explanation, rhetoric, or debate.“:

What I thought about when reading @nolo’s argument comparing environmental ethics with good cooking or conversation, sounded to me exactly as such: “The fallacy of faulty analogy: is A and B are alike in one aspect then they must be alike in other things.“

I will come over @Friendly_Charles’s other ideas and arguments later, as I appreciate them and I think they deserve an answer.

I just wanted to clarify immediately that my position is friendly and I don’t want to attack anyone but rather to contribute to build a much better hosting/surfing platform than CS.

1 Like

Well, if we get philosophical, I’ll try to sketch my argument again, because in my understanding @Matrix turned it upside down and then pointed out it’s fallacy… :nerd_face:

I argued against giving central weight to qualities other than being recommendable and safe as a host/guest when distinguishing individual members. Because it goes against the central purpose of this platform.

But if we would give little weight (like rewarding rather gimmicky badges) to something like environmental awareness, we’d actually put it on par with any other quality. That would distort it’s general significance.

That’s why I’m for finding different ways of introducing it to the platform, much like @itsi points out in his post.

In fact, there is an intrinsic volunteering call in the whole idea of the new platform, as most of the people “working” on it, like you or me, are volunteers and that’s the whole idea behind it, a real not-for-profit platform, like CS when it was first started, then… we know what happened, when it got big and eager… of profit…
I know and many agree that we should promote sustainability but I really don’t know how to do it, @nolo gave some ideas, but I think they are too general and not really implementable.

I have the idea of “badges”, in fact we have ALREADY a lot of them, @nolo has around 20! Are those badges really necessary or superfluous?

Maybe we should have less badges and really worthy ones, and I believe that to be an environmentally conscious traveler is a formidable and difficult goal and I don’t know how to measure it, not to be hypocritical, like someone said, but to try to do it, it’s worth the trial.

@nolo I didn’t turn your argument upside down, all I did was to point out that you can not compare certain values as equal or equivalent, like you said to be a good cook or conversationalist would be equivalent to be environmentally coherent. One is a plus quality in an individual, the other one is a matter of survival and human ethics, and you said it explicitly before “ Else one would need to you believe that being environmentally conscious is intrinsicely related to being respectful and recommendable“, and that’s absolutely right @nolo, it should be an intrinsic value of human beings… if we want to be survivors and to help in that task…

I’d still think starting a more open topic, like How can we… would lead to a committed conversation that will not be impeded by concerns that this platform is not about volunteering. I see you’re concerned this might be too general, but we can easily spawn more concrete ideas out of a general conversation.

I really don’t think I did, so I’ll try to phrase my argument again: We shouldn’t make environmental awareness central to member distinction. But we also shouldn’t make it a secondary distinction, because then it will appear equivalent to other secondary qualities, like being a good cook etc… and that’s distortive. That’s why I think we should look for other ways, entirely apart from individual distinction, how to promote it.

About these badges: you can see all of them here. That’s this forum’s badges and they are not related to any badges that could be part of the hospitality platform we are building ( If the distinction between the hospitality platform (in development) and this community forum is unclear, or you have ideas how we could explain it better, please post your concern or thoughts in the forum feedback topic: How do you like the forum? :+1:

I personally think that having other extra badges etc. would be additional clutter on top of common interests. If a host wants to prioritise hosting someone who is into environmental issues, that’s their own prerogative and we will provide tools for them to see that in a surfer’s profile, or even highlight their common interests in their requests.

If someone is able to show me an example of a platform that does it well, I am open to exploring the concept. But in the initial stages of building Couchers, we should only be focusing on the base functions of the platform.

1 Like

I like the idea of having reviews or references, for hosts and guests, such as those of Bookings, with a few different categories, one of them would be “environmental focus”, for example.

I think this is easy to implement and helps both hosts and guests to focus in sustainability as an important value.

I don’t think this is fair. I live in a massive city and I don’t have a garden, I can’t do permaculture. And I can’t have the luxury of quitting my job and go volunteer because of my particular responsibilities. So I should have less chances to be hosted because of this? Why?

Well then I want a badge because I only use public transportation.

And one because I support human rights causes.

And one because I help social causes.

And one because I don’t have a kid (that’s also a huge carbon footprint)

And one because I only took one flight this year.

And one because I support lgtb+ rights.

And none of them speak about how am I as a host or guest, so all of them are just clutter on my profile because people are going to choose to meet me (or not) for other reasons.

@anon46748786 I live in Argentina, 99% of people fly here.


I think we could use badges as a form of accolade for hosts/surfers who go above and beyond the norm, or are particularly big contributors within their community, or in this case, are particularly environmentally friendly. Here’s how I think this could work without adding clutter or making one person less likely to find a host than other:

We are going to need money to fund the platform, so one of the ideas I had was to offer a “premium” level (similar to reddit premium) which offers additional features and functionality that are not needed, but are nice to have. One of those features that is not needed but nice/fun to have is the ability to give people badges as an accolade. Let’s say you stay with someone and everything they do (from what they eat, to how they get around, to the solar panels on their roof) is environmentally conscious. You, as a premium member surfing with them, could give the person a badge because of their impressive environmental consciousness. We could even donate X amount from the cost of that badge to an environmental organization as well – so it’s a good thing for the environment, couchers and everyone involved. What does the badge do with regards to hosting/surfing? Nothing. It just looks cool and lets other people know that someone thought you are very environmentally conscious.

I don’t want to take this discussion off the rails with the idea of badges or a “premium” version that will help pay for the operational costs because those ideas are a topic for a different thread.

I also want to be clear that I’m not suggesting this is the only solution to making Couchers an environmentally conscious platform. There are obviously many different ways to help encourage people to be more environmentally conscious.

I’m with you @Aleja in that a profile shouldn’t be cluttered with a lot of badges. I think there could be 4-5 reasons or indicators that we could discuss, devise and design which make it apparent if you are a good host or guest: respect, friendliness, help in traveling issues and another one could very well be what kind of respect I have for the environment, and you have indeed mentioned several, which would put you into that category without having to live in a rural area or doing Permaculture in the Patagonia.

We just have to think, as you said, which are the other (legitimate) “reasons”, that a guest or a host could see in your profile to desire to meet you, other than social or certain affinities and qualities… and, as someone said it before, to be conscious and respectful of the environment should very well be considered to be respectful, in a general sense, as a human.


IMO this could cause a “super-host” type effect where people seek out paid members so that they can be given badges.

Personally I think badges are extremely tacky and not the way to go.

I think the best way to incorporate environmentalism into the app is through education. Rather than cause a clear divide between who is environmentally conscious and who isn’t (/who pretends to be environmentally conscious just enough to get a badge and put it on their profile), I think we should be looking at ways to make education about environmental issues accessible to the userbase, so that everyone can learn and grow.

Local events, blog posts, handy resources for all surfers and hosts to encourage them to #knowandgrow


Well, many of my friends are environmentally friendly, vegetarian, never fly, grow some of their food, no car, low consumers. On Couchers I´d like to meet other types of people, show them how I live, show people from other cultures how I choose to live. So an environment filter would be nice, to be able to filter away environmentally friendly folks, to filter badges out of the way.