Ecoclub Member Blogs

Birdwatching in Romania – a Danube Delta experience

190824-adrian-nasturica Kingfisher - photo by Adrian Nasturica
I love the Danube Delta! I might be subjective because I was born here and because I have a business in this area, but I believe those things made me love it more. As a child it was something normal, something usual to live there, nothing too special. When I was 8  I left Mahmudia for Constanta. So, I discovered the „civilisation”, the ”in a hurry” style. I lived the ‚Corporation Eve’. After 26 years I decided that, for my 2 boys, for my family, for myself it is better to leave all this and go back. But now I see the things from a different point of view. I thought that I only have to remember, but I realized that I have to learn more, to discover more. I have to learn to discover. To be honest I made a few mistakes. I felt in the trap of "mass tourism"....
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Smooth Sailing: The Environmental Benefits Of Boating Vacations

190729-sailing
As boat sales reach their highest peak in over a decade, could this swell of popularity be good news for the environment too? Sailing can be a really eco-friendly way to take a vacation, since it can require very little fuel burning, and if done carefully, can cause minimal disruption to marine life. It also celebrates resourcefulness and the practical skills which are essential for future generations in order to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. So whether you’re island hopping your way to Croatia , or exploring the stunning sights of Vancouver Island, taking to the blue may provide your the greenest vacation yet.  The eco-benefits of boating One of the main advantages of sailing is that (aside from an assistance motor for boats over 16ft), you can harness wind power and enjoy the thrill of traveling via sustainable, green energy. Sailboats are also designed to cause minimal...
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Leaving no footprints is no longer enough

In an era of climate crisis and mass migration, leaving no footprints is no longer enough - Responsible tourists should leave solidarity footprints behind, we need a positive, progressive, green impact tourism! Two inspiring examples from Greece: 1. Welcommon Hostel, Athens (Web:  https://welcommonhostel.gr ): A seven-floor building in the centre of Athens, a former public clinic, converted into a hostel and run by the social cooperative Anemos Ananeosis (Wind of Renewal), led by former Green MEP (Member of European Parliament) Mr Nikos Chrysogelos. Since 2018 it offers inexpensive, eco-accommodation and is also a center for social and green innovation and the arts, making bridges between locals, migrants and refugees. It is disabled-friendly and bicyle-friendly. Two floors function as an open centre for social empowerment and inclusion, creating new employment opportunities in areas such as upcycling, ethnic cuisines, culture, green / cyclic economy, energy efficiency and others. Classes are offered (languages, painting,...
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How a trip to Portland turned me into a dancing grebe stalker

190615-ca Dancing Grebes
I’d never paid much attention to grebes one of our prettiest but elusive waterfowl until I got the chance to see grebes dancing. Then I was all in. I boned up on grebe behavior and watched a David Attenborough video of two grebes – chicken-sized waterfowl - running across a lake on their toes in a perfectly synchronized dance. It looked stunning.  At the YYC airport I waited to board WestJet’s inaugural flight from Calgary to Portland April 29. With free munchies and selfies with the flight crew, the departure lounge had a party vibe. “Why are you going to Portland?” asked a fellow traveler. “I’m going to see dancing grebes,” I replied. Her brows scrunched together in confusion. “Dancing grapes?” she uttered. “No, dancing grebes. They are a type of waterfowl and one of the best places to see their courtship is in Southern Oregon. Portland’s a great place to...
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The Good News and Bad News About Our Flourishing Forests

bright-daylight-environment-240040
Over the past few decades, our efforts towards reforestation have finally started to pay off – in the United States, at least. In the US, we annually replant about 40% more trees than we harvest. However, the world at large still   loses about 10 billion trees per year.  That means, in only 300 years, we’ll be completely out of trees. Even though we’re moving in the right direction, more still needs to be done, or our children’s children won’t be able to see the Earth as we do today. So, what things do we need to do to preserve the Earth’s forests – and by extension, its ecosystems, climate, and natural beauty – for subsequent generations, if what we’re doing now just isn’t enough? Type Matters Not all forests are created equal. For example, the Bonn Challenge, a global reforestation initiative launched in 2011, has been joined by countries the world...
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Ikaria: Blue, Red and Green

The Greek island of Ikaria, (or Icaria, after Icarus) is famously one of the planet's 5 blue zones, with one of the world’s greatest life expectancy, and the lowest rates of middle-age mortality and dementia. Less known outside Greece is the fact that it combines its healthy and leisurely lifestyle with being a red fortress (or vestige) where the communists are the dominant force, although the communist candidate unexpectedly lost with "just" 42% in the May 2019 municipal elections. And it is now turning Green and able to cover 50% of its energy needs with renewable energy through an innovative Euros 50m development, inaugurated by the Greek Public Power Corporation (DEH) on World Environment Day 2019: a pumped storage clean energy plant that combines wind and hydraulic energy, named "Naeras" from "Nero-Water" and "Aeras-Wind". Essentially wind energy from a wind park, is "stored" by pumping water from a lower reservoir to an...
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Top 5 of the local Tibetan agency

Tibetan Guide                                                                                                               Tibetan guide offers tailor-made tours and also one-day private tours. Tibetan guide has many long tour packages and also received many trustworthy reviews on TripAdvisor. Tibet  visa                                                                                                        Celebrated as the trailblazer of Tibet inbound tourism since 1984, Tibet Vista (or CITS Shigatse Tibet)...
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The public letter to the Minister of the Environment to support in the establishment of non-disturbance of breeding birdlife

linnud Photo: Karl Adami
  May 28, 2019   To: Minister of the Environment, Mr Rene Kokk   We support your call to private forest owners in Estonia, to follow the good example of the state (the State Forest Management organization) to follow the ban on logging in Spring and early Summer. We join the environmental organizations public letter and ask you to establish by the regulation of the Minister of the Environment the protection from logging of all Estonian forests during the bird nesting season. In addition the arguments put forward by the environmental organizations, we want to draw attention to the negative impact that logging during the nesting season has on the tourism sector. Estonia is considered to be one of Europe´s most outstanding birdwatching and wildlife tourism destinations. The high season for the birdwatching tourism lasts from March to June. Felling the trees during the most important and delicate period for the...
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Top 10 purposeful mountain expeditions of 2019

Top 10 purposeful mountain expeditions of 2019
“Great things are done when men and mountains meet!” – The quote by William Blake sums up the purposes and motivation for people to keep exploring the mountains. One might be going to mountains to find solitude and other might be going to get connected to new people and communities. There is always a purpose to it. The stronger the purpose, the more the exploration and learning one can bring back from mountains. Seeing the different lifestyles, natural wonders, and achieving new height every day are nothing less than life-changing experiences. Mountains challenge and motivate to conquer much more than one’s believes. Here are some trekking expeditions of 2019 that have a unique purpose to them. These expeditions are not just designed in the beautiful mountain ranges but they take you close to the mountain ecosystem. Seeing and experiencing the destinations with such a unique approach gives an opportunity to know...
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Making Ecolabels Affordable, User-friendly and Transparent.

190522-solar-bank-ulcumano Photo of Solar Bank provided by Ulcumano Ecolodge of Peru, during their Ecoclub Desktop Audit, March 2019
One of the main impediments for the expansion of ecolabels to small accommodations. The undeniable, rarely uttered truth, is that all the best-known, credible, labels charge far more than a small hotelier can afford or is willing/used to pay, for services that they do not consider as absolutely necessary or legally required. Worse, the process is time-consuming for small owners that have to multi-task every day. Part of the solution is making ecolabels required by law, at least for accommodations of a certain size. Quality Tour Operators may also make accommodation ecolabels necessary, if they give preference to certified accommodation. But the real solution is making ecolabels affordable and user-friendly. A quick way of doing both is to introduce remote, online, real-time audits using Skype, or similar free conferencing software. At the one end the Auditor can request the auditee (usually the owner in small properties) to show her/him in real...
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