Archive for the ‘Environmentally Friendly’ category

This week in Ecotourism (1 Sept 2017)

September 3, 2017

A few stories entered my awareness this week related to Ecotourism

A quick look at the state of ecologically aware travel around the world shows the planet emerging from the economic slump in some areas, coupled with an awareness of the need to protect vulnerable areas of the planet. A few highlights I found appear below:

Costa Rica - Carribean Sea - Parismina (Eco-Tourism)

  1.  From Fiji: In Fiji, the Momoan Park is going to become a center for eco-tourism, and ecotourism activities, according to an article published in the Fiji Sun.
  2. From India:  An article in The Hindu.com relates that in India, the Telangana State Forest Development Corporation has proposed projects specifically to attract visitors looking to appreciate nature and wildlife. The backwaters of Nagarjuna Sagar Reservoir in Nalgonda district have been acquired and a proposal has been submitted for transfer of land to the TSFDC, selected for fishing and views. Independent cottages, common dormitories, restaurant and other amenities would come up and a tourism circuit connecting nearby interesting places is planned, Mr. Mitra said.Another eco-tourism project has been proposed near the Kawal Tiger Reserve. About six acres of land would be purchased to serve as visitor amenity center for those planning to go on a jungle safari.
  3. From New Zealand:  A new aquarium and marine center will open in 2021, which has been designed to educate and provide information related to local eco-tourism.

    It is hoped this expansion of the Marine Parade aquarium will generate jobs, grow the local economy, creating a unique eco tourism destination, and deliver a landmark conservation center of excellence. The aquarium and center have a cost of $45 million, with a $7m investment from the council over three years, and the balance sought through a mix of private, and public investment.

  4. From Delaware, USA: An online newspaper in Delaware reported that various companies have different tours that allow tourists to gently observe nature.  Those include “floating yoga mats”, LED lit stand-up paddle tours, full moon excursion tours, and kayaking, on which tourists can observe wild horses, eagles, osprey, pelicans, herons, horseshoe crabs, jellyfish, and end up with a stop at a local brewery.
  5. From Indonesia:  The Asia Sentinel had a story about ecologically conscious travel in the rainforests of Sumatra.  It mentions the Hadabuan Hills as one of many locally-recognized conservation areas (according to the article, it is not a national park, a wildlife sanctuary, or anything else, just an unmanaged area that happens to contain some of the rarest wildlife in the world).  While discussing Sumatra and the effects of the 1997 World Economic Crisis, the article’s author also mentions the  “gargantuan and magical Gunung Leuser National Park”, which made me want to plan travel there right away.
  6. Thenmala_Ecotourism_bridge

“One could even combine a visit to Hadabuan Hills with a trip to nearby Lake Toba, the volcanoes of Beristagi, and a foodie trip to tasty Medan. [They] can even arrange for you to have some tuak or palm wine as you sit on your bungalow balcony watching bats flit against the stars.”

Sounds wonderful.

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Contact Attorney Robert Miller for any questions about international travel related to eco-tourism.

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What is ecotourism?

June 17, 2017

TractorRideAlthough there are more detailed ecotourism definitions, basically, ecotourism is this – it is environmentally friendly travel.

Through this particular form of tourism, travelers can immerse themselves in the land’s most naturally beautiful wonders and gain a new appreciation for what mother nature has to offer. Ecotourism adventures are fueled by conservation and a dedication to enjoying the land without human interference. If you’re committed to limiting your environmental impact or supporting locally driven efforts, this is the trend for you.

Beyond thrilling and educational day trips, it’s easy to make a positive environmental impact with a few simple decisions. For example, getting acquainted with your destination’s seafood options will help you to be more conscious of what you’re ordering for dinner. In the US Virgin Islands, for example, long-lived predators and various groupers are among the most threatened fish, while Lion fish are a non-native species invading the ocean and hurting the food chain.

In Peru, along with many other countries in Latin America, there are operators taking existing land, and existing farms or other businesses, and recreating them into thriving ecotourism locations.

Across all age groups, a preference for ecotourism (or “green travel”) is a growing aspect of the travel industry.  People in the industry are taking note.
 
“We see that more and more of our customers are concerned about not just the impact of their travel to the destination, but also once they get there. It’s more than not changing your hotel towel every day; many travellers now base their decision on where to stay based on the hotel or resorts environmental responsibilities,” said Andrew Shelton of Cheap Flights. 
 
He shares his top three tips on how eco-tourists can do their bit to decrease the impact on the environment:
 
1: Travel light: Not only will you save on baggage fees, but lighter luggage also increases the plane’s fuel-efficiency.
 
2: Conserve where possible: Due to severe drought, many parts of the world are currently very aware of how much water gets wasted on a daily basis, but the water conservation habits learnt now are applicable everywhere – especially in ecologically sensitive environments. Every drop counts –  don’t run the tap while shaving, re-use  towels for multiple days and ask room service not to clean the room.
 
3: Buy local: Doing so supports the local community and reduces the carbon footprint as goods were grown / manufactured in the area. 
What are your experiences and tips for ecotourism?

 

This Week in EcoTourism News

August 28, 2016

An article that I recently shared pointed out how purchasing experiences brings more happiness to individuals than purchasing things.  Purchasing a home, clothing, cars, and other material goods doesn’t come close to the happiness boost that experiences such as travel, dining with friends or family, or nature does.

Spending time in nature, while minimizing impact on nature, is a travel goal worth underlining, and worth promoting wherever in the world it happens.  This past week the following stories came across my desk:

  1. Romania Tourism Revamp Aims for more Danube, Less Dracula.  One man, Mr. Patzaichin, is bringing tourists to the Blue Danube of Strauss, rather than the focus in the past two decades on the culture and myths around Dracula. Romania is a country that can certainly have both.
  2. Apatani Tribe Giving Back to Nature.  In rural India, a tribe living in the Ziro Valley is notable for their low impact on their environment.  The customs and practices of the tribe may teach others how to use techniques that have the least impact on the environment.
  3. The Nenetsky Nature Reserve in Arctic Russia is opening a new eco-tourism route, called “Barefoot Across the Tundra“, in 2017.  It’s a five kilometer route, and sounds like quite an experience:  “Walking across the tundra barefoot is a fantastic experience. You have the indescribable feeling of sinking into the moss, catching your toes on the lichen, having berries burst under your soles, and then walking across soft, warm sand,” said Valentina Semenchenko, deputy director of environmental education at Saylyugemsky National Park.”
  4. In Maine, a Couple has Started a new Ecotourism Company, Venture Outside, which aims to provide tourists with “physical and holistic activities in natural settings around the world”.  Their most popular excursion is called the TMT  — the Try Maine Tri — a five-day adventure designed to rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit. The itinerary includes three sports, interspersed around other activities in various places throughout Maine, including the Boothbay-Camden area, Downeast-Acadia National Park region, and Baxter State Park.
  5. The Country of Ghana is getting a 1.2 billion Ultra Modern Ecotourism Park in its Capital City.  That funding will bring construction of amusement parks, orchards, an arboretum, wildlife safaris, museums, ecocommercial enclaves, and ecolodges, with as little disruption to natural vegetation cover as possible.

Thoughts on Ecotourism in the form of sustainable farming

July 16, 2016

Some thoughts on Ecotourism from news stories this week (July 8-15, 2016):

After reading about the eighth annual Ecotourism conference, which took place earlier this month, this week I saw an “ecotourism” article about a working farm, with goats, in Reno, of all places, which I thought was a strange subject and location for ecotourism.  When I, and I believe most people, think of ecotourism, we tend to think of unspoiled wilderness, or nature, and certainly pre-agricultural era environments.

The article really is about structuring farms to take advantage of natural symbiosis and existing processes in nature, and to that extent, it reminds me of the work of Joel Salatin from Polyface Farms.  You may be familiar with Joel Salatin from author Michael Pollan’s works mentioning him (in books and articles).  Salatin raises cattle, pigs, chickens, and other animals, and uses the symbiotic relationships between the animals and the growth and decomposition of natural processes to make a self contained system for growing animals and crops naturally. Joel is well known in the organic farming world for his nine books and many lectures, as well as being featured in several documentaries.  And his farm has been a tourist attraction of sorts as a result.

For example, Salatin’s structure of farming emphasizes healthy grass on which animals can thrive in a symbiotic cycle of feeding. he calls himself a “sun farmer”, as a result, as the grass grown by the sun is the center of the structure of the farming process.  Cows are moved from one pasture to another rather than being centrally corn fed. Then chickens in portable coops are moved in behind them, where they dig through the cow dung to eat protein-rich fly larvae while further fertilizing the field with their droppings.

I hadn’t thought about that as an eco-friendly aspect of tourism, but it clearly is.  It appeals to those interested in viewing the farm and the processes, and educates and helps save the impact on the Earth as well.

–Robert Miller

 

 

 

 

Eco Friendly Travel Tips

March 6, 2016

Eco Friendly Travel Tips

I have one rule at home that I admittedly find it hard to follow 100%.  But I do try.  That rule is to never purchase something new that I can get preowned or used.

There is much talk about how best to save the environment, and how to best use our purchasing power, as consumers, to urge more eco friendly products, from clothing to cars.  But almost nothing wastes more money than the process to make new consumer goods, while there are perfectly good items that can be used instead of wasting money on manufacturing new ones.

Consider the process to make new items or to manufacture more existing products:

  • The design of the product, from prototypes to redesigns;
  • The amounts spent on marketing the product, from print advertising, bus ads, marketing on car and truck wraps, blimps, and on giving away free product for promotion;
  • The fuel, energy, waste, and raw materials made to manufacture the product;
  • The fuel, energy, waste, and raw materials used just to package the product;
  • The fuel, energy, waste, and raw materials used just to transport the product, from cardboard boxes, to plastic casing, to shipping containers; and
  • The fuel, energy, waste, and raw materials used to trash, give away, or repurpose the product when replaced by another model or upgrade.

Under our current system, many cars, clothing, furniture, electronics, and other items are replaced long before their useful life is through.  Those products end up as waste in dumps, or additional resources are used to donate those to the third world.

It bothers me somewhat how much in kudos are given to manufacturers that make supposedly eco friendly products, without taking into account the total carbon footprint or impact of the entire design and distribution of the product.  It may be substantially better to use existing products rather than purchasing, and having shipped, a new more supposedly eco friendly item.

It often is a mental leap for many to realize that keeping an old gas guzzler running (for one example) might actually end up in a lower carbon footprint than purchasing a new lower emissions vehicle.  But the marketing attractiveness of new products sold in a sales pitch of being “Earth Friendly” might not tell the whole story.

When it comes to travel, looking for ways to stay, cook, eat, and sightseeing with a minimal impact on the environment is a worthy goal.  But sometimes that means foregoing the new “eco friendly” resort being built in the rainforest, and using the pensione, hostel, or existing hotels in the area instead.  Marketing doesn’t always mean effectiveness.

Eco-tourism coming to Goa

January 14, 2016

Although Goa, in India, is known for nightlife, beaches, and a “hippie” vibe, eco friendly travel is coming soon.  The forest ministry in Goa is looking to develop eco-villages in that city, in a bid to decongest the beaches and divert tourists to the beautiful, more rural, areas of the region.

Talking about the future of eco-tourism in the region, Goa Forest Minister Rajendra Arlekar was recently quoted, “We have to balance revenue generation as well as keeping the environmental balance of the state. Setting up eco-villages will help us greatly promote eco-tourism in rural areas.”

Hopefully those plans will become a reality soon.

How to be a responsible eco-tourist

July 17, 2012

After reading an article in Discover magazine (which I would link to, but I can’t find other than on my bathroom counter at home), I realized that there is a dark side to ecotourism.  It mentioned the trash, pollution from jeeps, and danger to tourists from animals or acts of nature.  The following tips, from a hotel group in India, might help.

How to be a responsible tourist

• Do not use facilities that have altered the natural habitat. These may include resorts, hotels, swimming pools, especially boundary walls and fences. These alter and inhibit animal movement.

• Avoid resorts that have swimming pools or fountains. These are wasting a precious local resource, especially in areas with water scarcity. Check if the resort uses a rainwater harvesting device.

• Recycle: You can use a towel for two days instead of demanding room service replace it every day.

• Avoid the use of detergents, soaps and toiletries that are toxic or not eco soluble. Check if the resort has restrictions on detergents, soaps and toiletries or waste-management systems and solar power.

• Do not use perfumes and deodorants on a safari.

• Do not use light and sound in restricted zones after dark. Do not insist on night safaris, driving through protected zones, or playing the stereo loudly. If unavoidable, put headlights on low beam, use the dipper and drive slow.

• Use resorts or home-stays run by local communities, people dependent on the forest, however basic. Ensure you are contributing to the local economy.

• Do not crowd

Babys first swim

I just used this photograph (marginally relevant to the swimming pool tip) because I think my son Louis is cute, and it reminds me of his first swim! – Robert 

animals. You may feel like your safari is a waste if you haven’t seen a tiger up close, but as one conservationist put it: “How would you feel to be put on exhibition, surrounded by 40 jeeps, each with eight humans, each with a camera?”