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Credit: SAIH – The Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund

Volunteering programs are expanding rapidly. An increasing number of people spend their holidays or gap years traveling, while at the same time doing something meaningful and different. Language and images can either divide and make stereotypical descriptions – or unify, clarify and create nuanced descriptions of the complex world we live in. It can be difficult to present other people and the surroundings accurately in a brief social media post. Even though harm is not intended, many volunteers and travelers end up sharing images and text that portray local residents as passive, helpless and pitiful – feeding the stereotypical imagery instead of breaking them down. This is your go-to guide before and during your trip. Use these four guiding principles to ensure that you avoid the erosion of dignity and respect the right to privacy while documenting your experiences abroad.

Read the full article on RADI-AID’s principles for social media here and watch their video ‘How to avoid acting like a white savior’ here.

By SAIH – The Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund for RADI-AID.

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Credit: Travindy

The Republic of Palau in the Western Pacific has today launched the Palau Pledge, a world-first eco-initiative that asks all inbound visitors to make a compulsory promise, directly to the children of Palau, to preserve their home before they can enter the country.

The Palau Pledge is a new immigration policy that takes effect this December. Palau has become the first country to update its immigration policy and landing procedures to implement such legislation, aimed at preserving its culture and the beauty of its natural environment for future generations. It also hopes that other countries will follow suit to protect the planet for children worldwide.

The Palau Pledge is based on the Palauan tradition of BUL, a moratorium declared by Palau’s traditional leaders that places an immediate halt to the over-consumption or destruction of a species, place or thing.

Find out more about the Palau Pledge by reading the full article here.

By Travindy for Travindy.

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Guide maps being explained to blind travellers (Credit: The Independent)

One travel company is breaking down barriers and providing opportunities for everyone to explore India

Imagine travelling 2,000km across the country to see a temple you’ve dreamt of visiting, only to discover your family can’t get in. There is no wheelchair access – so your visually impaired father has to carry your wheelchair-bound mother up and down several dozen steps in order to pay homage.

It happened to Neha Arora as a child. Barring the odd school picnic or the visit to grandparents, she has no fond travel memories. It is not that her parents did not like to travel. It is just that, with their special needs, they found it near impossible.

Three decades ago, India was not the friendliest place for travellers with accessibility needs. In 2017, it still isn’t.

Read the full article on why Arora created Planet Abled here.

By Charukesi Ramadurai for The Independent.

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Credit: Shutterstock

 

What does sustainability mean to you personally? How can you engage with issues such as poverty or sustainable consumption that relate to the SDGs?

One approach may be to start by looking at your individual values and establishing a personal sustainability action plan. This should be an achievable, realistic plan to take on a short-term project that you believe in that can lead to a more sustainable lifestyle! Identify changes you would like to make in your daily or weekly activities and start to practice these changes until they become a habit. When establishing your personal sustainability plan, check that it meets the RISE criteria: is it repeatable, inspirational, sustainable, and enjoyable?

There’s no reason to wait till the New Year to make a resolution! Raise awareness now, and take action! Inspire others to join the movement. Remember that challenging yourself or someone else can make a big impact through building strong communities of passionate and like-minded people. Be creative and come up with a plan to make the most of the last month of 2017. For example, how about trying to live a…

FREEcember

…with possible action points such as the following:

  • Try a new approach to your diet: how about a meat-free Monday or milk-/dairy-free week? A dietary shift can help to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and ultimately have the positive environmental impact you would like to make.
  • Go plastic-free: shop at a local market to avoid unnecessary packaging, use a reusable water bottle, coffee mug or lunch box and most importantly, say no to using plastic bags! You will help keeping our precious world clean and wildlife safe.
  • Spend a gadget-free Sunday: include some time to unplug and disconnect when planning your weekend or your next getaway.  
  • Enjoy a car-free weekend: if you are relying on your car to commute to work during the week, give your car a rest on the weekend and cut carbon emissions by using public transport or a bicycle to get around. This little change will help to reduce pollution from engines and improve air quality.

 

If this is something you are already doing, maybe you find some more idea with a

DOcember

  • Stay healthy: start a fitness– or yoga-challenge, join a gym class or simply take the stairs instead of an elevator whenever possible.
  • Start a 5-minute journal to become more mindful and live with intention.
  • Recycle and upcycle with do-it-yourself projects to reduce waste to landfill and to reduce waste generated in manufacturing processes! You can also donate unwanted clothes or other household items to a charity to help people in need.
  • Carry a reusable shopping bag with you every day, and keep a reusable drinking cup at your office to purchase your after-lunch refreshment in a eco-friendly way.

 

Your passion is the fire that fuels your action, so keep helpful reminders about why you want to live more sustainably. We dare you to establish a sustainability plan that can help guide your way to a more eco-conscious lifestyle.

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Credit: Shutterstock

 

While you may not have control over choosing the destination for your next business trip it’s possible to make your stay more responsible.

Start with checking the Arcadis Sustainable Cities index and the destination’s website for sustainability features. Tourism Vancouver, for example, has a section on its site dedicated to sustainable tourism. Many cities offer a variety of green initiatives such as themed weeks, mini festivals and food recycling.

If you are attending a MICE event, be sure to ask your event organiser some pertinent questions about the event, such as:

  • Does the event have a sustainability policy?
  • Have you communicated the sustainability commitment to stakeholders?
  • Is the event environmentally certified?
  • What types of environmental practices are in place?

 

Look for ways to incorporate local traditional culture into meetings and conventions (example of Kyoto Culture for meetings Subsidy). Engage and support local communities by visiting farmers markets and restaurants that use locally grown products.

If you plan to explore the destination on a guided tour, ask your tour operator or guide to give details of established environmental guidelines that minimise the impact of tourists upon the environment, culture and community.

Remember to be respectful of the destination and its natural resources by always recycling waste or disposing of it responsibly. Some smart destinations even offer apps to report litter to improve the urban environment. You may also want to find out which buildings have received USGBC’s LEED certification. Exploring such listed buildings at your destination can reveal some interesting tips.

When getting around at the destination, the journey matters. Check with your accommodation or meeting organiser for shuttle bus services, if any, to reduce the use of taxis. Choose local public transport and shuttle services, particularly when travelling to and from the airport. Look for transport options such as cycle-sharing (example of Chicago’s Divy). If you are in a group you may also want to consider using car-sharing services such as Uber Pool.

If you feel inspired and would like your city to become a green meetings destination, check out the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s criteria for destinations and the EarthDay.org resource for Green Cities.

For more guidelines on hosting green events, check out TCEB’s Sustainable Events Guide.

Read more about being a responsible business traveller: PATA Responsible Business Travel Guidelines.

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Credit: Travindy

Singapore, 11 October 2017 – Mandai Park Holdings (MPH) announced today the appointment of Banyan Tree Holdings (Banyan Tree) as the operator of an eco-friendly resort to be located within the new integrated nature and wildlife destination at Mandai. This partnership marks the debut of the award-winning, Singapore-based hospitality company on home ground after its global success.

Integrated with Mandai’s natural surroundings, it is envisioned the eco-friendly resort will provide an immersive stay close to nature, offering unique experiences that inspire care for biodiversity and sustainable behaviour. It will provide, for the first time, the opportunity for visitors to stay over in a full-service accommodation at the doorstep of Singapore’s wildlife parks. Guests will be able to enjoy and explore the precinct’s array of offerings, including its five wildlife parks, nature-themed indoor attraction and public green spaces.

Read the full article on the new destination in Singapore here.

By Travindy.

 

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Credit: Shutterstock

Halloween is just around the corner so here are some ideas to ensure that the spookiest time of the year is green. Whether you are celebrating with your family and friends or have a themed event at your office, you are only a few steps away from a ‘green’ Halloween.

Decorations and costumes

Look for do-it-yourself decoration ideas by making the most of recyclable items around your house and workplace. Browse for easy recycled decoration ideas and be inspired. Tin cans of all sizes, empty glass bottles, jars and toilet paper rolls can easily be turned into scary décor. It’s the same with your costume. Browse your wardrobes or the local flea markets for clothing suitable for your scary DIY Halloween costume.

Choose environmentally-friendly face paint to make your own fake blood. to get motivated, or if you lack all necessary items, make it a fun get-together with friends and ask them to bring arts and crafts supplies and recycled materials to trade.

Food and drinks

No Halloween party is complete without drinks and snacks. Green your party with reusable crockery and cutlery and search for recyclable or compostable items if required.  Choose organic candy without artificial flavours or preservatives. There are many options for delicious and healthy home-made Halloween snacks including vegetarian/vegan options that do not require detailed preparation and cooking/baking skills.

Pumpkins

Halloween is simply not the same without pumpkins. However, think about how to get the most from your pumpkin. Many people use pumpkins purely for decoration, even though they make delicious pies, soup, bread and even dog food. Check out these creative upcycling ideas for pumpkins using old sweaters, socks and more. If you choose a real pumpkin, make sure to read our tips on what to do with pumpkin waste.  

Take this year’s green Halloween initiative one step further by staging a fun competition in your workplace. Form teams to create the most sustainable and creative decoration for the office and then post your spooky Halloween photos on social media.

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Dubai World Trade Centre kitchen staff pack excess food to be handed over to the Royati Society (Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News Archives)

Dubai Municipality creates #ZeroFoodWaste campaign for food establishments and residents

Dubai: Dubai is beginning a new war against food waste on Monday to mark World Food Day 2017.

On behalf of the UAE Food Bank, Dubai Municipality, which runs the first branch of the Food Bank, has created the hastag #ZeroFoodWaste, a campaign to commit to zero tolerance for food waste by both food establishments and residents.

Khalid Mohammad Sherif Al Awadhi, assistant director general for Environment, Health and Safety Control Sector, said everyone has a role to play in achieving this ambitious goal on World Food Day, and beyond.

The campaign, Yousif said, is the starting point to make #ZeroFoodWaste a new food culture in Dubai — a culture of being aware about the planet, environment, energy and hunger, all of which are linked to food wastage.

Read the full article on Dubai’s latest campaign here.

By Sajila Saseendran for Gulf News.

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Cigarette butts pose a risk to beach ecosystems, say Thailand government officials. Photograph: Dean Lewins/EPA

Those caught lighting up could face a year’s imprisonment as the government seeks to end pollution and drain damage on Thai beaches caused by discarded cigarette butts

Thailand is to ban smoking on some of the country’s most popular tourist beaches, with the prospect of up to a year in prison for those caught lighting up, according to reports by local media.

The move follows a recent survey of litter on Patong beach, Phuket – visited by millions of foreign tourists each year – which found an average of 0.76 cigarette butts per square metre in a sample area, which would amount to 101,058 butts on the 2.5km-long stretch of sand.

The survey was undertaken by the country’s department of marine and coastal resources, which described it as a “serious problem”. Discarded cigarette butts accounted for a third of rubbish collected by the department.

Read the full article on Thailand’s plan to ban smoking on some of the country’s most popular tourist beaches here.

By Will Coldwell for The Guardian.

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On October 4th 2017, BIGTrees Project Co-founder Anunta Intra-aksorn and Madeleine Recknagel, of The Sustainable Self initiative, visited the PATA office to share their knowledge on the importance of tree planting, sustainable living, as well as their past and current projects around Bangkok.

Anunta and her colleagues from BIGTrees provided PATA with interesting insights in their engagement in protecting and improving the endangered green spaces in Bangkok, focusing particularly on the protection and planting of trees. Past and current campaigns hosted by BIGTrees, including Urban Tree Care, Save Bangkachao and Mangrove Palm Seeding, have been set up to raise awareness, reconnect people and nature, and call for change. Communal learning has proven to be beneficial to the success of BIGTrees projects. Possibilities to combine leisure activities, such as bicycling, and engaging in environmental activities (e.g. planting) were presented to highlight the importance of ensuring a sustainable environment in the future.

 

Anunta Intra-aksorn speaking for BIGTrees Project

Madeleine encouraged PATA to rethink what is good soil by showing staff the difference between dead and living soil through touch and smell. Good (living) soil allows the healthy growth of produce. Sharing her own experiences, Madeleine emphasized that it doesn’t require a lot of effort and time to produce soil through composting – even when living in a small apartment or condo. Simple actions and rethinking diet towards healthier eating can lead to a more sustainable lifestyle.

Sharing knowledge

Using recycled plant pots, workshop participants were given the opportunity to seed and plant using homemade soil provided by Anunta and Madeleine.

PATA staff learning about planting

 

Getting dirty!

 

PATA staff seeded cucumber in a recycled egg container

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