Palau is pioneering a new model of sustainable tourism

September 4, 2020 by  
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In partnership with Sustainable Travel International and Slow Food , the Palau Bureau of Tourism has launched a new project aimed at mitigating its tourism-based carbon footprint. The project’s long-term goal is to establish the island country as the world’s first official carbon-neutral tourism destination. With a focus on specific approaches to sustainable tourism , such as promoting local food production and developing a transparent carbon management plan, the project is sure to serve as an inspiration to other countries. Palau is a Pacific Island nation that is world-renowned for its natural beauty and considered one of the top marine tourism destinations in the world. The archipelago is made up of about 200 natural limestone and lush volcanic islands surrounded by crystal-clear lagoons. Unsurprisingly, scuba diving and snorkeling are some of the most popular tourist activities in Palau, thanks to the pristine coral reefs and an abundance of sea creatures. Jellyfish Lake, part of the island chain’s famous Rock Islands and connected to the ocean through a series of tunnels, is home to millions of jellyfish that migrate across the lake every day. The therapeutic clay of the “Milky Way” lagoon is said to contain age-rejuvenating components that attract locals and tourists alike. Related: 7 sustainable travel experiences to have this summer as an ecotourist In 2019, there were over 89,000 international tourists who visited the islands. This is considerable, seeing as the small country only has a population of just under 22,000. With such massive visitor numbers compared to permanent residents, the tourism industry is the main source of economic income and employment on the islands by far. “If the current COVID-19 crisis has taught us anything, it’s that we must strengthen our nation’s resilience to external threats — the greatest of which is climate change ,” said Kevin Mesebeluu, director of the Palau Bureau of Tourism. “Palau is blessed with some of the world’s most pristine natural resources, inherited through culture and tradition, and placed in our trust for the future generation. We must work to actively protect them, while also investing in our people. Palau embraces sustainable tourism as the only path forward in the new era of travel, and we believe that our destination can and must be carbon neutral.” Palau’s precious marine resources, small size and dependence on tourism make it extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The dangers of rising sea temperatures threaten the country’s marine ecosystems, coastal communities and important tourism industry. As is the unfortunate case with many vulnerable travel destinations, the large-scale tourist industry — despite providing the main source of livelihood for its residents — is also responsible for a portion of its carbon emissions and threats to local heritage sites. The remote island nation has relied heavily on imported food from overseas as well as carbon-heavy airline travel and activities in the past, habits that the new sustainable travel project plans to address. Palau has since taken extensive measures to protect its environment and promote responsible tourism. Once such a measure, deemed the “Palau Pledge,” became the world’s first mandatory visitor eco-pledge. Upon entry, all tourists are required to sign a pledge promising to act in an environmentally conscious and overall sustainable manner during their travels in order to protect the islands for future generations to come. Tourists risk a fine if they’re found engaging in activities like collecting marine life souvenirs, feeding fish or sharks , touching or stepping on coral, littering and disrespecting local culture. The program also bans tour operators from using single-use plastics and implements the world’s strictest national reef-safe sunscreen standard . Initiatives that increase local food sourcing reduce the country’s carbon footprint and set the destination up for food security success in the event of natural or economic disasters. This section of the project is imperative to showcasing the islands’ culinary heritage and building up the local income opportunities of Palau fishers and farmers. Even better, the program will put a specific emphasis on sustainable agricultural products and female-owned businesses. “The rapid growth of an unsustainable tourist industry based on broken food systems has been a key driver of the climate crisis and ecosystem destruction,” said Paolo di Croce, general secretary of Slow Food International. “This project represents the antithesis, a solution that strives to strengthen and restore value to local food systems, reduce the cultural and environmental damage caused by food imports, and improve the livelihoods of food producers both in Palau and beyond.” Becoming carbon-conscious doesn’t end with reducing carbon emissions; the tourism industry as it is will always have unavoidable carbon emissions from things like transportation and outdoor activities. To compensate, Palau has implemented an online carbon management platform for its visitors. The program will allow tourists to calculate a personal carbon footprint associated with their trip and provide offsetting opportunities that are in line with the country’s marine conservation and environmental restoration goals. Sustainable Travel International estimates that the platform has the potential to raise over $1 million per year for carbon-reducing initiatives. “This project has enormous potential to transform the traditional tourism model and is a notable step toward lessening the industry’s climate impact,” said Paloma Zapata, CEO of Sustainable Travel International. “Destinations around the world face these same challenges of balancing tourism growth with environmental protection. Carbon neutrality is the future of tourism and the direction that all destinations must head as they recover from COVID-19. We commend Palau for their continued leadership, and hope this inspires other destinations to strengthen their own climate resilience strategies.” + Sustainable Travel International Images via Sustainable Travel International

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Palau is pioneering a new model of sustainable tourism

Earth911 Podcast: Forest Founders’ Ford Seeman On Building a Sustainable Business and Life

August 10, 2020 by  
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Earth911.com talks with Ford Seeman, founder of Forest Founders, a … The post Earth911 Podcast: Forest Founders’ Ford Seeman On Building a Sustainable Business and Life appeared first on Earth 911.

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Earth911 Podcast: Forest Founders’ Ford Seeman On Building a Sustainable Business and Life

FOReT’s accessories marry sustainability with high-fashion

August 7, 2020 by  
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Mining for metals and gems often harms the environment — to say nothing of the leather, ivory regularly used to produce accessories. But who says that beauty has to hurt the Earth? Many less harmful options exist, and FOReT proves this with its line of sustainable, eco-friendly cork jewelry . FOReT keeps nature in mind and centers sustainable philosophies through every stage of production. Most FOReT jewelry uses cork, with small amounts of polyester and polyurethane. Cork comes from the outer layer of oak tree bark, which gets harvested every nine years. The harvesting process does not harm the tree, and in time, the bark grows back. This process encourages growth and renewal in the tree. Cork also helps make FOReT’s accessories water-resistant and durable. The jewelry line includes a range of eye-catching jewelry, including necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings. Even FOReT’s handbags and wallets use cork . FOReT’s wide product range helps you create a variety of looks. Each accessory features a high-end look and distinct style meant to get noticed. As FOReT’s website states, “We believe that there is no greater designer than Nature and this led us in search of a material that encapsulates its ethereal beauty. We came across the beautiful cork and were completely enamoured by it, inspiring us to launch our sustainable brand FOReT. At FOReT, we aim to create products that have a positive impact on our lifestyle and environment without compromising on the latest style and trends using the choicest of materials that resonate with being earth-friendly and responsible.” That’s what FOReT stands for, sustainable, responsibly-made fashion . The company commits to making the world a greener place. Every purchase helps fund FOReT’s biodiversity initiative with SankalpTaru , an NGO that plants trees in India. This initiative focuses on “planting and maintaining trees and supporting rural farmers.” FOReT is also a PETA-approved vegan company. + FOReT Images via FOReT

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FOReT’s accessories marry sustainability with high-fashion

Villa CasaBlanca is an earthen home made from clay found onsite

July 30, 2020 by  
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The Villa CasaBlanca in Bali puts a new spin on the ancient tradition of cob building — a construction technique using materials such as clay and straw, often harvested from the building site. The home is part of a larger project consisting of 24 similar sustainable luxury homes in a communal eco-village designed by Kurt Beckman and MUD Sustainable Homes. The practice of building cob homes certainly makes sense in the tropical landscape of Bali. Cob homes provide a naturally cool living space with natural resistance to termites, mold, fires and earthquakes. The country is known for the rich clay soil that helps grow its coffee, supply spa treatments and even inspire traditional mepantigan mud wrestling. Unfortunately, the cob building technique largely disappeared following the rise of concrete in the 1970s. According to the designer, the villa is the first and only modern example of a cob and bamboo home in Bali. Related: This glamping hideout in Bali is made entirely out of bamboo Inside, low-energy design considerations include full LED lighting, while outside, a graywater reclamation system and groundwater recharge well help control water flow. Though the cob construction technique naturally cools the space, the designers included additional open living spaces to allow for further access to breezes and natural light. Sustainable building materials for the home include bamboo and sugarcane for its curved grass roof and local volcanic stone for the house’s foundation as well as the bathroom and garden walls. The garden itself is landscaped with edible plants, such as lemongrass, sugarcane, chili peppers, bananas, pineapples, roselle and local herbs. The main building of the 1,291-square-foot villa has three bedrooms with another bedroom and study available inside the guest house. Additions like interior and exterior balconies, bedroom lofts, an upstairs lounge and a swing make the space more luxurious, and furnishings of local Balinese carvings honor the cultural heritage of the area. MUD Sustainable Homes and local craftspeople were responsible for the build of the Villa CasaBlanca, with interior design by Earthwright Eco Design. Located in Ubud, Bali, the project was completed in February 2020. + Villa CasaBlanca Images via Kurt Beckman

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Villa CasaBlanca is an earthen home made from clay found onsite

Tips for a Green Dorm Move-In Day and Sustainable College Year

July 29, 2020 by  
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College may not nearly as social this year but you … The post Tips for a Green Dorm Move-In Day and Sustainable College Year appeared first on Earth 911.

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Tips for a Green Dorm Move-In Day and Sustainable College Year

Agrihoods: The Intersection of Sustainable Farming & Real Estate

July 10, 2020 by  
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Agrihoods are residential housing developments with a professionally managed farm … The post Agrihoods: The Intersection of Sustainable Farming & Real Estate appeared first on Earth 911.

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Agrihoods: The Intersection of Sustainable Farming & Real Estate

Cricket Protein Promises a More Sustainable Dog Food

July 3, 2020 by  
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What if there was a healthy alternative to mammal- or … The post Cricket Protein Promises a More Sustainable Dog Food appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Checking On the Future of Sustainable Tires

June 30, 2020 by  
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The tire has been around for approximately 200 years — … The post Checking On the Future of Sustainable Tires appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Checking On the Future of Sustainable Tires

We Earthlings: Laundry Tips To Reduce Microplastic Pollution

June 30, 2020 by  
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Did you know that by reducing the temperature of a … The post We Earthlings: Laundry Tips To Reduce Microplastic Pollution appeared first on Earth911.com.

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We Earthlings: Laundry Tips To Reduce Microplastic Pollution

Infographic: Why Should You Switch To Green Cleaning?

June 30, 2020 by  
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Have you ever thought about where all the cleaning chemicals … The post Infographic: Why Should You Switch To Green Cleaning? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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