Ecoclub Member Blogs

Birdwatchers' Paradise: Axios Delta National Park, near Thessaloniki, Greece

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For visitors to Thessaloniki, a densely populated city brimming with cultural treasures, it is always a pleasant surprise to learn about natural treasures nearby, such as the Axios Delta National Park, located just 25 km from the city's centre, considered as one of the most important wetland systems in Europe!A sizeable area of 338 km² is protected under the Ramsar Convention and included in the European Union Natura 2000 network of protected areas, serving as a permanent or temporal habitat for over 700 animal and plant species, many of them being rare or endangered.Even though a degraded area, since the 00s local people and authorities from the nearby villages have positively contributed towards a sustainable tourism model. Nowadays, there is a variety of businesses helping to preserve the area while benefiting from it. Tourists can enjoy a ride on horses, taste local delicacies such as mussels and deserts made with buffalos' milk, climb atop the numerous...
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Thomas Cooking No More

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Does the sudden demise of Thomas Cook, two years after that of Monarch, another tour operator-airline, signal the end of the era of the giant, mainstream tour operator hit by the giant internet meteorite? Is it a welcome step away from concentration (Thomas Cook having merged with MyTravel in 2007 to create a European 'giant') towards economic democracy,or just a shift from the high street chain, where now only a small minority purchase their holidays, to bookings through Online Travel Agencies/platforms and, to a lesser extent, directly through provider's social media and websites?Thomas Cook's rivals such as TUI, do not seem to suffer from such problems as they are vertical companies that own their accommodation, so it is too soon to say, if Thomas Cook's demise is part of a broader trend of socioeconomic significance. Other factors at play, according to analysts were Brexit-related uncertainty and the devaluation of sterling it caused...
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Small accommodations and environmentally unfriendly guests

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There are plenty of guidelines on what hosts need to do to become eco-friendly but precious little on how to get the guests to also be environmentally friendly, which is a different matter than how to attract eco-friendly guests.Most small establishments, apart from luxury boutique accommodation, are not choosy and do not exclude guests through pricing. In most parts of the world, the average price-sensitive guest in small accommodations and short rentals does not enjoy being lectured and will probably not venture further than the first page of your long list of do's and don'ts. She/he feels that as they have paid for this holiday, they are entitled to use as much electricity and water as he wants without sparing a second's thought for the Amazon fires and the Climate Crisis. Since, as they think, 'it is included' in the price, it makes sense having the air-con 24/7 and at a low temperature and setting...
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Agroecology Europe Forum, Crete, Greece 26-28 September 2019

News from our fields:Join us in Crete, Greece 26-28 September for the Agroecology Europe Forum.I'll be there - participating in a Workshop on "Scaling Up" to discuss my work in connecting sustainable organic farmers with sustainable tourism initiatives.Agroecology Europe Forum 2019
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415 Hits

Why Veganism Is More Healthy For You (And The Planet!)

Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash
Recently, the sight of the Amazon rainforest on fire has captivated the concern of people around the world. Watching the huge swath of greenery, which provides a habitat to 10 percent of the nearly 9 million different species on earth, literally go up in smoke has struck fear into the hearts of many. Insofar as there is every indication that the forest fires can ultimately be blamed on the longstanding practice by farmers of burning to clear land for cultivation, the recent fires have raised the profile of and stirred up debate about the relationship between agriculture and deforestation. If we hold that what farmers choose to grow is largely the result of consumer demand, then eating itself becomes not just a personal choice which impacts one’s own health but also a political act - one that can lead to burning the amazon and similar destructive acts on the one hand or preserving...
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Birdwatching in Romania – a Danube Delta experience

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".  Doing tourism with people who come...
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Smooth Sailing: The Environmental Benefits Of Boating Vacations

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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 boatingOne 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 disturbance to underwater...
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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, puppet show, music) with...
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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 launch explorations...
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The Good News and Bad News About Our Flourishing Forests

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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 MattersNot all forests are created equal. For example, the Bonn Challenge, a global reforestation initiative launched in 2011, has been joined by countries the world over. These countries,...
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