Latest news and insights from various sources relating to UN Sustainable Development Goals.

ARE YOU IN THE DARK ABOUT LIGHT POLLUTION?

When you hear the word pollution, the Milky Way is probably not the first thing that comes to mind (unless, of course, you’re talking about the iconic blue-plastic wrapped chocolate bar).

However, according to the IDA – the International Dark Sky Association – light pollution is a serious issue and because of it, many people on earth have never seen the original Milky Way – our galaxy, home of the sun and moon and canvas for an estimated 100 billion stars.  

Dark skies article binna burra

Photo: Binna Burra Mountain Lodge

But what is light pollution, and, beyond the possibility of engendering FOMO* among those that live in our brightly illuminated urban areas, does it really have a significant effect on the life of our planet?

According to the IDA, it very much does, and in fact, science shows that the reduction of darkness can have alarming side effects on the environment, human health, energy consumption and our safety.

First, artificial night light disrupts plant growth and confuses animals. Migrating birds can crash into buildings and turtle hatchlings mistakenly journey toward onshore glows instead of heading toward the shimmer and safety of the ocean.

For humans, artificial light disrupts circadian sleeping patterns and increases the risk of developing obesity, depression, sleep disorders, diabetes, breast cancer and more. If poorly designed, bright streetlights can impair driver and pedestrian vision, causing unnecessary accidents and danger.

Blackout Todd CarlsonTowards Toronto Goodwood Ontario

Photo: Before and during a suburban blackout / Todd Carlson

So where does all this light pollution come from, and how long has it been a problem?

According to the IDA, light pollution is a side effect of industrialisation, and has become a growing concern over the past 100 years or so. With sources of light pollution including buildings, advertising, factories and sporting venues, the biggest culprit is perhaps not what you’d expect: the inconspicuous and humble common streetlight.

Often using traditionally shaped, ‘round’ bulbs, streetlights not only light up what’s beneath them, but also the sky above and to all sides. It’s an inefficient, und unnecessary, use of light – and energy.

“Even if you don’t care anything about stargazing, this should worry you,” said stellar astronomer, Lucianne Walkowicz, in a TEDx talk in 2012, “because it means that 60-70% of energy we use to light the outdoors is wasted by blotting out the stars.”

So what’s the bright side (pun intended)?

It’s here that the IDA’s mission to preserve and protect our precious dark skies comes in. Along with educating the public and policymakers on the importance of night sky conservation and providing assistance and research into responsible outdoor lighting, the IDA also certifies International Dark Sky Places.

The Jump Up Australian Age of Dinosaurs

Photo: Australian Age of Dinosaurs

Currently, there are 120 certified Dark Sky Places worldwide, which fall into one of six categories: communities, parks, reserves, sanctuaries and urban night sky places. Locations of certified Dark Sky Places can be found on the IDA’s interactive Dark Sky Places map. In Australia, Warrumbungle National Park near Coonabarabran in NSW is Australia’s only certified Dark Sky Park, and in May this year, our very own Nature Tourism certified Australian Age of Dinosaurs became Australia’s first certified Dark Sky Sanctuary.

Whether you’re an avid star-spotter, aspiring astronomer or want to do your part in baby turtles achieving their adult potential, there are a few things you can do to help combat light pollution:

  • Educate yourself. Check out the IDA website (www.darksky.org) for great resources and informative blog articles.
  • Only use lighting when and where it’s needed.
  • If safety is a concern, install motion detector lights and timers.
  • Properly shield all outdoor lights.
  • Keep your blinds down and curtains drawn to keep light inside.
  • Become a citizen scientist and help to measure light pollution (check out this website for more info).
  • Choose LEDs and compact fluorescents (CFLs), which can help reduce energy use and protect the environment, but make sure these are warm-white bulbs. Also make sure you read this myth-busting article on LED lights, first.
  • Dimmers, motion sensors and timers can help to reduce average illumination levels and save energy.
  • Visit a certified Dark Sky Place and tell your friends and family how special they are. With experience comes appreciation, and with appreciation comes protection.
Earth Sanctuary World Nature CEntre.jpg 2

Photo: Earth Sanctuary World Nature Centre

Insider tip:

Some of our certified operators offer amazing stargazing experiences! Check out: 

What’s your favourite star-gazing place in Australia? Let us know in the comments below!

 

[Header image: The Milky Way from Warrumbungle National Park / Bill Hatcher]

*FOMO = fear of missing out

CLIMBING ADVENTURES… AND MORE

Tired of dull day to day life? Seeking some outgoing adventurous activities? You should consider some of the fantastic Ecotourism Australia certified tour providers who specialise in climbing and adventure!

Riverlife climbing 1

Riverlife Adventure Centre – QLD

Located just outside the heart of the Brisbane CBD at Kangaroo Point, Riverlife Adventure Centre runs instructed abseiling and rock climbing activities for young and old. For anyone living in or visiting Brisbane this is a great opportunity to get into cliffside rock climbing and abseiling with great views of Brisbane city. Rock climbing can be undertaken during the day or at night on weekends with the Riverlife Adventure Centre lighting up the cliff side with vibrant colours and spotlights.

Raging Thunder Cairns Canyon 1 

Raging Thunder Adventures – QLD

Comprising of abseils, rappels, rock slides, cliff jumps and ziplines, Raging Thunder Adventures Ecotourism certified Cairns canyoning tour is a half day adventure through the Crystal Cascades waterfall series and is a great introduction to Australian canyoning only a 25 minute drive from Cairns city. This one is a little more adventurous than your typical climbing experience as canyoning is the process of travelling through canyons by utilising climbing techniques and riding natural waterfalls. Be prepared to get a little wet with this one! No prior experience is needed, and the tour is open to children over the age of eight.

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Cradle Mountain Canyons – Tas

Another great Ecotourism Australia certified canyoning experience can be found in Tasmania. Cradle Mountain Canyons has two Nature Tourism certified canyoning tours that can cater to first timers and experienced canyoners.  The Lost World Canyon tour is a great introduction to canyoning suitable for children aged eight and up, with all obstacles being optional. Strong swimming skills are not needed to complete this tour, so it is perfect for first timers.  The Dove Tail Canyon tour is for more experienced travellers, where, while no canyoning experience is necessary, there is a minimum requirement of being at least 15 years old with reasonable swimming skills and decent fitness levels. This is their most popular tour and features six waterfalls which require a mix of sliding, climbing and abseiling to overcome. A great adventure for anyone seeking something different!

k7 collection 

K7 Adventures – NWS

Now this is where the “and more” come into this article! Outside of offering eight different rock climbing and abseiling tours catering to both beginners and experts, K7 Adventures brings some truly unique and adventurous experiences to the table for those seeking something a little off the beaten track. K7 Adventures offers winter season mountaineering tours and courses that include ice climbing, snow climbing and an avalanche skills course that is both Advanced Ecotourism certified and accredited by the Canadian Avalanche Association who set the standards for avalanche education best practice. While some of these activities might not be for everyone, they offer a unique experience for anyone up for a challenge.

With so many great climbing adventures out there, now is a great time to book in a tour to plan your next adventure!

[All photos retrieved from operator websites and social media]

AUGUST ADVENTURES: CLIMBING… AND MORE

Tired of dull day to day life? Seeking some outgoing adventurous activities? You should consider some of the fantastic Ecotourism Australia certified tour providers who specialise in climbing and adventure!

Riverlife climbing 1

Riverlife Adventure Centre – QLD

Located just outside the heart of the Brisbane CBD at Kangaroo Point, Riverlife Adventure Centre runs instructed abseiling and rock climbing activities for young and old. For anyone living in or visiting Brisbane this is a great opportunity to get into cliffside rock climbing and abseiling with great views of Brisbane city. Rock climbing can be undertaken during the day or at night on weekends with the Riverlife Adventure Centre lighting up the cliff side with vibrant colours and spotlights.

Raging Thunder Cairns Canyon 1 

Raging Thunder Adventures – QLD

Comprising of abseils, rappels, rock slides, cliff jumps and ziplines, Raging Thunder Adventures Ecotourism certified Cairns canyoning tour is a half day adventure through the Crystal Cascades waterfall series and is a great introduction to Australian canyoning only a 25 minute drive from Cairns city. This one is a little more adventurous than your typical climbing experience as canyoning is the process of travelling through canyons by utilising climbing techniques and riding natural waterfalls. Be prepared to get a little wet with this one! No prior experience is needed, and the tour is open to children over the age of eight.

cradle mountain canyons 1 

Cradle Mountain Canyons – Tas

Another great Ecotourism Australia certified canyoning experience can be found in Tasmania. Cradle Mountain Canyons has two Nature Tourism certified canyoning tours that can cater to first timers and experienced canyoners.  The Lost World Canyon tour is a great introduction to canyoning suitable for children aged eight and up, with all obstacles being optional. Strong swimming skills are not needed to complete this tour, so it is perfect for first timers.  The Dove Tail Canyon tour is for more experienced travellers, where, while no canyoning experience is necessary, there is a minimum requirement of being at least 15 years old with reasonable swimming skills and decent fitness levels. This is their most popular tour and features six waterfalls which require a mix of sliding, climbing and abseiling to overcome. A great adventure for anyone seeking something different!

k7 collection 

K7 Adventures – NWS

Now this is where the “and more” come into this article! Outside of offering eight different rock climbing and abseiling tours catering to both beginners and experts, K7 Adventures brings some truly unique and adventurous experiences to the table for those seeking something a little off the beaten track. K7 Adventures offers winter season mountaineering tours and courses that include ice climbing, snow climbing and an avalanche skills course that is both Advanced Ecotourism certified and accredited by the Canadian Avalanche Association who set the standards for avalanche education best practice. While some of these activities might not be for everyone, they offer a unique experience for anyone up for a challenge.

With so many great climbing adventures out there, now is a great time to book in a tour to plan your next adventure!

[All photos retrieved from operator websites and social media]

GSTC Chair, Luigi Cabrini, Honored for His Profound Contribution to Economy, Society, and Environment

Mr. Luigi Cabrini, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) was given an Honorary Fellowship for his “profound contributions to the environment, economy, and society.” On July 29th, the Social Enterprise Research Academy (SERA) hosted the ‘Fellowship & Honorary Award Presentation Ceremony 2019’ at Hong Kong Baptist University. […]

The post GSTC Chair, Luigi Cabrini, Honored for His Profound Contribution to Economy, Society, and Environment appeared first on Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

GSTC Announces the Results of its 2019 Board of Directors Election

The GSTC Board of Directors plays an integral role in the leadership of the organization. Most seats on the board are filled via annual elections of and by current members of the Council. The GSTC Election Committee has validated the votes and has released the results. Three current board members were re-elected to 3-year […]

The post GSTC Announces the Results of its 2019 Board of Directors Election appeared first on Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

AUGUST ADVENTURES: HIGH ROPES AND ZIPLINES

Are you looking to overcome a fear of heights, seeking a high-flying adventure experience, or maybe just a fun day out for the family this winter?

This week we are looking at high ropes and ziplining courses throughout Australia that will get your spirits – and bodies – soaring. There are plenty of ECO certified ziplining and high ropes adventure courses around the country that will help you overcome physical challenges and allow you to fly over lush rainforest canopies in some of the most adventurous activities in the country.

7 Fun From 7

TreeTop Challenge

Located in Mount Tamborine, just under an hour’s drive from Brisbane and the Gold Coast, TreeTop Challenge has over 120 high ropes activities including 10 flying foxes and a mix of beginner, intermediate and extreme high ropes courses. Spread across nine acres of tropical rainforest, the Treetop Challenge adventure park is Advanced Ecotourism certified and takes about 3-4 hours to complete. The adventure park is designed for ages eight and up and requires no previous experience. For families with younger children, TreeTop Challenge also operates the largest junior ziplining course in the country with over 50 activities designed for children aged three to eight.

 TreeTops crazy rider article photo 1

TreeTops

Operating high ropes courses and tree-top adventures (including in gigantic inflatable balls!) across New South Wales, TreeTops offer a fantastic array of adventures for people of all ages, from flying foxes to climbing nets and monkey bridges to the fastest rollercoaster ziplines in the world. These eco-friendly adventure activities are great for fitness, exhilarating to attempt and gentle on the environment. Check out all their locations and certified activities here. 

Jungle Adventures article photo 1  

Jungle Adventures Cape Tribulation

This business has specially developed its ziplining platforms with best practise in mind, creating these without the use of nails and attaching them to trees with a non-intrusive friction system that holds the platforms to the outside of the trees. A two-hour ziplining tour with Jungle Adventures Cape Tribulation starts off with the world’s first human hamster wheel cable lift to get you up into the canopy, where you can glide over the rainforest with views of the Great Barrier Reef. This is a great way to experience some of the best of Australian ziplining.

Jungle Tours and Trekking photo 1

Jungle Tours and Trekking

If you’re looking for a diverse day out, Jungle Tours and Trekking take visitors from Cairns or Port Douglas on their Go Jungle Surfing day tour,  which includes Port Douglas Wildlife Habitat reserve, a tropical lunch, ziplining with the previously mentioned Jungle Adventures Cape Tribulation, and a dinner-time cruise along the Daintree river. Now that’s a fun day out!

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Enchanted Adventure Garden and Treesurfing

Situated in the beautiful hinterland of Arthurs Seat in Victoria, Enchanted Adventure Garden and Tree Surfing has high ropes courses and ziplines for all ages from four years and up. With the tree surfing nippers adventure course designed for children ages four to 12, with three levels of challenge for them to tackle, and the tree surfing grand designed for visitors over 12, with over 50 aerial obstacles and five ziplines, there is no shortage of challenge and fun for your family to overcome any fear of heights and enjoy a great day out.

High ropes courses and ziplining are a great way to experience some of the best of Australian tourism without disturbing the natural environment. All of the above are Ecotourism Australia certified companies that are leading the way in sustainable, adventurous high-flying experiences.

For more adventure inspiration, check out our Green Travel Guide.

 

[All photos retrieved from operator websites and social media. Header image: TreeTop Challenge] 

Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Awards Hotels through the National Sustainable Tourism Certification (NSTC)

Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) initiated the National Sustainable Tourism Certification (NSTC) as the first step towards making Sri Lanka’s tourism industry sustainable with the technical and financial assistance from UNDP Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN). As part of the process, hotels were awarded for their sustainable practices on 5th August 2019 at Ape Game, […]

The post Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Awards Hotels through the National Sustainable Tourism Certification (NSTC) appeared first on Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

ECOTOURISM AUSTRALIA & THE UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND PHD SCHOLARSHIPS

A unique opportunity exists to undertake research on best practice ecotourism management and help shape the future of this growing industry.

Background

In November 2018, Ecotourism Australia (EA) signed a partnership agreement with The University of Queensland (UQ), in order to encourage collaboration to better understand ecotourism and improve its outcomes for communities and EA members. This agreement arose from an increased awareness of global sustainability issues, ongoing growth in the sector and a need to address management challenges with evidence-based decision-making.

PhD Scholarships

Four (4) PhD scholarships have just been announced, offered by UQ in partnership with EA, to encourage research into the continual development of best practice management of ecotourism. Supervision will be provided by UQ academics with input from Ecotourism Australia experts.

Scholarship value

The scholarship offers a living stipend of $27,596 per annum. It also includes tuition fees and, for successful international applicants, Overseas Student Health Cover.

Eligibility

Of the four (4) scholarships currently available, three (3) are available to Australian Citizens, Australian Permanent Residents and New Zealand citizens and the other is available to an international or domestic student. Prospective students are invited to apply for one, or even all, of the projects advertised. Consideration will be given to Australian domestic students and international students. Each successful student will work on one of the projects below.

Find out more about the scholarships.

Find out more about eligibility requirements.