Ecoclub Member Blogs

Microplastics or Veganism?

Plastic inside Plastic - not so fantastic.
The choice is yours. And it is an urgent one too: The World Health Organisation today announced  an urgent review  into microplastics in drinking water, following a new study by  Orb Media  and State University of New York - Fredonia, which found plastic contamination in 242 out of 259 bottles sampled from 11 brands in nine countries, at twice the level of the supposedly inferior, humble tap water. The multinational brands involved, some of whom are keen on privatisation of public water utilities (so that they can sell it back to us at bottled prices?), were, as expected, quick to dispute the accuracy of the results, but what even the most gullible consumers will start realising soon is that microplastics are potentially a threat as serious to human health and the environment as Climate Change, and related to it in various ways.    The micro-plastic mega-threat is one extra but very serious reason...
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IMPACT Sustainability Travel & Tourism 2018 sets new tone

Did you know a five-star hotel uses 1,800 liters of water per day per visitor? That’s compared to 350 for a three-star or 326 for your average Canadian family. Does this mean you should stay home if you want to help the environment? Attendees at IMPACT: Sustainability Tourism and Travel 2018 in Victoria, British Columbia January 21 – 24 asked plenty of tough questions. With some of the world’s sustainability experts in attendance there were was plenty of lively discussion. More than a conference this event brought together 170 people from across Canada to discuss how tourism can grow in harmony with host communities and the environment. “We did this event because no one was doing a deep dive into this topic,” explained Paul Nursey, President and CEO of Tourism Victoria. Victoria with more carbon-neutral businesses per capita than any other community in Canada is a great location for a...
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TAEC Update, Luang Prabang, Laos

TAEC Exhibition at the French Institute, Luang Prabang
Sabaidee! We are a few months into 2018 but New Year celebrations continue in ethnic villages across Laos! The research team of the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC) has been here, there, and just about everywhere capturing the sights, sounds, and instruments of Oma, Hmong, Kmhmu, Lahu, and Yao Mien New Year. Much of their research will be showcased in our upcoming special music exhibition opening September 2018! Read on to learn more. The new year is also a time for the team to gather, reflect, and discuss new initiatives, projects, and artisan programmes for the upcoming season. The core mission of our work continues to be handicraft preservation and development for rural ethnic minority artisans. We are excited to launch our Instagram page to celebrate these incredible artisans, their culture, and crafts with you! Please follow us @TAECLaos ! Happy new year from everyone here at TAEC -...
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Book Review: The Story of Ecotourism Sri Lanka

Book Review: The Story of Ecotourism Sri Lanka
Book Review: "The Story of Ecotourism Sri Lanka" by Palitha Gurusinghe, President, Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation ‘The first ever book published in Sri Lanka to record the important landmarks of Sri Lanka Ecotourism for the benefit of those who are interested, inquisitive and looking forward to widening their horizons in Ecotourism" Reviewed by; Iraj Ratnayake, PhD, Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka (SUSL) The story of Ecotourism Sri Lanka is a detailed account of Sri Lanka's effort in adapting, developing, and promoting ecotourism during last two decades. It is a memoir of sorts, a higher autobiography, an echo back to Sri Lanka's pioneering ecotourism activist─ Palitha Gurusinghe, President, Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF) The author emphasizes Sri Lanka's potential for local value addition in the process of ecotourism development where he compiles a rich account on astonishing resource base of the island nation. Especially the author...
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Celebrating Geography

Carol Patterson made a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society
When people discover I’m a travel writer they often ask for my favorite travel destination. I cringe knowing what’s coming next. I say “Canada” and they look disappointed, like someone with a mass of frequent flyer points should long for a Caribbean island or a distant Himalayan kingdom. But the more I travel, the more I love this country. So it was a special day last month when I was made a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS), an honor bestowed for my contributions to geography and making Canada better known to Canadians and the world. The RCGS has been around since 1929.   Banting - the inventor of insulin - was one of the first fellows, former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed was a fellow, and Alex Trebek of Jeopardy fame is a fellow (and honorary president). Pat Morrow, the second Canadian to climb Everest and his wife Baiba...
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Tourism, Nationalism, Internationalism

Photo by Roberto Catarinicchia on Unsplash
Does tourism contribute to the rise of nationalism or quite the opposite? Over the years I have spoken with many tourism practitioners, academics and decision-makers and in the vast majority of cases have detected a strain of unadulterated nationalism in their views, even when these tend to be otherwise progressive and green. It could be that the daily preoccupation of these people with local culture, tradition, monuments and history contributes to the development of notions of national identity and particularity in their mind. It can hardly be disputed that National Tourism Ministries and National Tourism Boards, which exist in nearly every country (with the notable exception of the United States) have similarities with the propaganda offices of authoritarian regimes as they are always painting a rosy picture of the country/destination, inviting travel journalists and bloggers for hire, paying lobbyists and so on. On the other hand, community-based forms of tourism...
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Whales by land and by sea

Best place to see whales from the shore.
I associate whale watching with choppy waves, ocean spray on my camera, and seasick compatriots. But on the north shore of Canada’s Saint Laurence River near Tadoussac, Quebec, there is a deep channel near land where you can see even the biggest of whales without donning a lifejacket. “It is the best place in the world to see whales from shore,” extols Patrice Corbeil, GREMM Executive Director (Group for Research and Education for Marine Mammals), adding with a smile that there are secret places where people bring a bottle of wine to sip while watching whales swim by. Intrigued by this this relaxed approach to adventure I decide to try whale watching from shore. I head north to Parks Canada Cap-de-Bon-Désir Interpretation and Observation Centre. A small building holds a room-size model of the different size whales found in the area. Two beluga whales look like salt-and-pepper shakers next to...
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Austrian-Greek Sustainable Tourism Cooperation Project Concludes, Disseminates Recommendations

The Project Team
An ambitious 14-month European Union-funded grant project under the rather long title “Technical Assistance action to support tourism planning and policy for the promotion of sustainable tourism development in Greece Reference No.: SRSS/S2016/013” was completed in September and last Friday 15/9 ECOCLUB.com was invited to attend the final “Dissemination Workshop” in downtown Athens. The project was supported by the EU Structural Reform Programme (SRSS), led by an Austrian consortium composed of the Federal Procurement Agency (BBG) and the Agency for Economic Cooperation and Development (AED) and involved the cooperation of the Greek Ministry of Economy, Development & Tourism (MEDT) while “twin” experts from Austria/EU and the Greek side were allocated on each topic. The leading domestic and foreign tourism experts also involved ECOCLUB.com Members Mr Robert Travers who was responsible for the Diving (sea) parks segment. The two key aims of this ambitious and multifaceted project, which started in July...
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Oil pollution, mega-projects and the Athens coastline

170915-athens-oil-spil_20170915-140321_1
An environmental disaster of yet unknown proportions is unfolding in the Gulf of Athens, known as the Saronic Gulf, following the peculiarly rapid sinking under calm seas, of an ageing, small oil tanker carrying 2,200 tons of fuel oil and 370 metric tons of marine gas oil , near the island of Salamis, on the early hours of October 11th, 2017. Decades of haphazard, boom and bust industrial development and lack of planning has turned a great part of the northern Saronic Gulf into a strange and conflicting mix of heavy industries, refineries shipyards, summer houses, restaurants, beaches, marinas, archaeological sites, and sea-farms. In the past decade, during a huge financial and social crisis, there is an effort supported by powerful private developers to relaunch the area as the Athens Riviera, a new destination with mega-projects including the construction of a coastal casino-leisure-business complex in the sprawling site of Athens...
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CREST's "Local Traditions" Photo Contest

CREST's
CREST's "Local Traditions" Photo Contest:  August 10 - 24, 2017 Enter to share with the CREST community - and have a chance to win a FREE luxury, one-night stay in Chicago! At the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) , we believe that when you go on vacation, you don't have to leave your values at home. Part of traveling responsibly means eng...
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