Condé Nast Traveler Recommends GSTC “Aside from air travel, properties have some of the greatest impacts in terms of energy use and food.” Check a hotel’s website for a “Responsible Travel,” “Environment,” or “Good Stewards” section—if they’ve spent time, energy, and money to be low-impact, they’ll likely have this information displayed – says Jim Sano, WWF’s […]
The Toll of Tourism: Can Southeast Asia Save Its Prized Natural Areas? From Thailand to Bali, a huge increase in tourists, many from China and other rapidly developing economies, is straining sensitive ecosystems to the breaking point. Some countries are trying to control the boom, with a few closing popular destinations to allow damaged […]
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This year’s Earth Day marks 49 years since millions of Americans took to the streets to protest for environmental reform in the wake of a growing ecological and environmental concern. These peaceful protestors from schools (sound familiar?), universities and communities were becoming increasingly aware of the impact industrialisation had had on the world around them: oil spills, increasing air pollution and loss of biodiversity.
In the half-century that followed, 1 billion people across 192 countries joined the movement, and Earth Day today is celebrated annually in what is the largest civic-focused day of action in the world. Every year on April 22, people plant trees, sign petitions, meet with their elected officials, clean up their local neighbourhoods and march for change.
In 2019, Earth Day’s theme is Protect our Species, a subject that seems very timely given the global decline in biodiversity. This decline has been linked to climate change, the growing human population, continued habitat destruction, chemical pollution, invasive species, trafficking and poaching and unsustainable agriculture. It’s an issue which the Earth Day Network, who coordinates Earth Day activities around the world, is tackling head-on:
“The good news is that the rate of extinctions can still be slowed,” says the Earth Day Network’s website, “and many of our declining, threatened and endangered species can still recover if we work together now [emphasis added] to build a united global movement of consumers, voters, educators, faith leaders, and scientists to demand immediate action.”
To do this, Earth Day 2019 seeks to bring together those willing to stand for the future of our planet to educate others and raise awareness, work toward major policy shifts, take part in a global movement which embraces nature and its values and take individual ownership and action to contribute to real change.
This is all well and good, but is it enough? We all know what it’s like to get caught up in the moment of an exciting event – you feel inspired, fired up, ready to stand up for what you believe in and demand change. But what happens when the social media posts stop and the protesters go home? When the Earth Day celebrations finish for another year and you wake up the next morning, ready to rebegin the daily grind?
What are we really doing, every day, to protect our beautiful planet, demand change and – to continue this year’s theme – protect our earth’s incredible biodiversity?
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Rethink your consumption:
- Shop mindfully. Think: Do I really need that product? Does it have a negative impact on the environment? Is there an environmentally-friendly alternative?
- Choose certified businesses for your holidays and choose zoos which have conservation programs in place
- Buy fruit and veggies from local farmers and talk to them about their farming practices
- Buy organic when possible – the avoidance of pesticides is better for your health and for wildlife
- Reduce your carbon footprint:
- Swap your lightbulbs for efficient CFLs or LEDs
- Turn off lights and appliances at the wall when not in use (including your computer)
- Use public transport, carpool, walk or cycle where possible
- Keep your car tyres properly inflated to get better mileage on your tank of fuel
- Hang your clothes on a clothes line rather than using a dryer
- Take the stairs (this is good exercise, but also reduces energy use!)
- Consume less plastic – avoid plastic straws, take your own bags to the shop, refill your water bottle
- Save water:
- Turn the tap off when you brush your teeth
- Take shorter showers
- Only run dishwashers and washing machines when they’re full
- Use a watering can, rather than a hose, for your garden – and only water in the morning or evening to reduce evaporation
- Plant native trees and plants which are best suited to your local climate
- Reduce pollution:
- Opt for non-toxic cleaning products or make your own
- Properly dispose of chemical products
- Avoid pesticides in the garden
- Use sunscreen that’s good for the planet
- Recycle everything you can
- Pick up rubbish when you see it, particularly in natural areas
- Encourage your team or family to reduce single-use plastics in the home and office
- Protect wildlife and habitats:
- Follow signage in national parks – this is designed to protect ecosystems and wildlife
- Volunteer for a cause you care about
- Petition for change by writing to your local government representatives – particularly in light of the upcoming election
- Think carefully about purchasing animal goods, including when you’re on holiday – sadly, many products made of wild animals or plants are sold illegally around the world
What’s your best tip to protect our species this Earth Day and beyond? Let us know in the comments below!
For more information about Earth Day, check out the Earth Day Network website or follow Earth Day activities on social media.
[Header image: Great Ocean Ecolodge / Conservation Ecology Centre]
Travel with Care in Thailand Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat acknowledged that sustainable tourism looks beyond economic benefits: “Thailand, which witnessed 38 million tourist arrivals last year and tourism revenue approaching 20% of GDP, has provided us with a more challenging job.” The tasks, he said, are to ensure fair distribution of […]
Operating from Porongurup in Western Australia, Down Under Discoveries is a family owned tour company that offers a range of immersive tours and experiences within the Perth and Albany region. Their tours include hiking activities, photography, wine tasting, camel riding, sand boarding, snorkeling, caving and much more.
Down Under Discoveries now boast four certified eco tours, from full day tours through one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world to nature immersion experiences that aim to create connection, awareness and an understanding of nature and self. Certified tours include:
- Discover Porongurup Range (full day) – for granite domes, breathtaking views and wineries
- Torndirrup National Park and Bay Highlights (full day) – for rugged coastlines, natural attractions, wind farms and history
- Walpole Wilderness to the Highlights of Denmark (full day) – for wilderness, cliffs, trees and delicious treats
- Nature Immersion – for wellness, mindfulness, sensory activities and rejuvenation
Prior to achieving ECO certification with Ecotourism Australia, Down Under Discoveries had already developed a commendable commitment to sustainability. The company has formed extensive partnerships with local sustainable suppliers, community and conservation groups to develop their tourism products and promote a sustainable industry and community.
Additionally, Down Under Discoveries engages in several sustainable initiatives such as measuring their carbon footprint, citizen science projects, the development of sustainable travel guidelines and a partnership with GreenFleet that sees $2 from every tour purchased go into carbon offsets, showing their continued commitment to sustainability and improvement as an ecotourism operator.
We are very happy to welcome Down Under Discoveries to the Ecotourism Australia community and congratulate them again on achieving Ecotourism Certification!
For more information on Down Under Discoveries, please visit them online:
Easter holidays; that little break from the daily grind where we get to breathe a little, indulge in sweet treats and get some quality family time. This all sounds very relaxing until we’ve accidentally indulged a little too hard and wound up shorter changed than we’d hoped. Alas! We have the answer. There are plenty of free and exciting activities we’ve found in your neck of the woods that will keep the kids entertained over the break.
Nature Play – Mt Barney Lodge
Situated in the stunning World Heritage listed Mt Barney Nation Park lies Mt Barney Lodge. Day visitors are welcome and encouraged to take in the spectacular views while participating in family activities. Nature Play is a free program that encourages the kids to get outside and explore by completing missions in their Nature Play ‘Passport to An Amazing Childhood’. Swimming and bushwalks are also easily accessible in the area and enjoyed by all ages. Visit the Mt Barney Lodge Kids Activity brochure for more information.
Daisy Hill Koala Centre
For something a little closer to Brisbane yet still day trip worthy, the Daisy Hill Regional Park is a great option! Both adults and children are given the opportunity to delve into the world of Australia’s most iconic animal, the koala. Highly recommended is a picnic underneath the gumtree surrounding the centre and the chance to spot a koala in the wild.
Aboriginal Roving Ranger – Dorrigo Rainforest
Meet Uncle Mark Flanders these holidays, a Gumbaynggirr Elder and Aboriginal roving ranger. Free of charge you will discover how the Gumbaynggirr People found resources for food, medicine and shelter in the rainforest and you may even get to hear a Dreamtime story or two. Situated between the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre and the Glade picnic area, why not make a day of it?
Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve
Delve even deeper into Aboriginal history with a visit to the Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve. The learning space has won numerous awards with its detailed and captivating Dreamtime stories. You may also like to explore the island with a local Aboriginal Discovery Ranger. Signage along the short island walk also makes for the perfect opportunity to take the family on a self-guided tour.
Open Air Band Stand – Wattle Park
The perfect picnic situation; under the trees in the tranquil and historic environment of Wattle Park. Catch a band recital at the open-air band stand one afternoon these holidays for something a little different.
Portsea Craft Market – Point Nepean National Park
Make your Easter grocery shop a little more exciting and fresher with a visit to the markets! With over 250 stalls showcasing South Australia’s best local produce, crafts, food and entertainment, the Portsea Market is great for the whole family. Situated in the heart of Quarantine Station’s historic buildings, these markets are worth the visit for scenic value alone.
Find out more
Park of the month – Deep Creek Conservation Park
Each month Parks South Australia select a ‘Park of the Month’ and invite the public to join in on a range of family-friendly events and activities. This month it’s Deep Creek Conservation Park. Keep an eye out for events along the likes of art in the park, guided walks, hiking and yoga and much more!
Koala Talk – Yanchep National Park
For the nature fix you crave, the Koala Talks at Yanchep National Park are ideal. You and your family will learn all about this animal at the daily talks on the koala boardwalk. You will also discove what you can do to help their environment.
Tremendous Adventures in Trees
Western Australia is home to almost 18 million hectares of forests and woodlands so why not get amongst them these holidays? To optimise the natural beauty and have and have a fun filled day out, check out the Parks WA website for tree and forest adventures.
Berry Springs National Park
For the relaxing nature fix you crave this break why not head just out of Darwin to Berry Springs? Berry Springs is one of Darwin’s most beautiful parks to cool off in with natural swimming holes and well-equipped picnic areas. If you’re looking to make a day of it, one of Ecotourism Australia’s certified companies, Ethical Adventures, run a free charter between the springs and the popular, family friendly, Territory Wildlife Park.
Nature Play – Mount Field National Park
Free, fun and nature filled. In partnership with ‘A Healthy Parks Healthy People Program’ the kids will love working through the missions in their Nature Play passport missions.
41 Degrees South Salmon and Ginseng Farm – Red Hills
Within the Tasmanian World Heritage Area, 45 minutes from Launceston or Devonport, lies a salmon farm, ginseng nursery and natural wetlands on the one property of 41 Degrees South. Take the family on a self-guided tour around the grounds that will lead you along the base of Montana Falls. For something for the adults, free tastings are available and there is a fully licensed café if you’d like to stop for lunch.
H.E. Mr. Tserenbat Namsrai, Minister of Environment and Tourism of Mongolia, and Mr. Randy Durband, CEO, GSTC As the central government body who is in charge of tourism development policy and coordination in the country, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism devotes itself to implement effective and credible sustainable tourism policies in […]
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