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Gardeners of Eden

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Photo credit: Kristin Davis/Village Beat

The images are stark and grisly at the start of the short but bluntly powerful documentary “Gardeners of Eden”: Television news footage presents the bloody carcasses of elephants, shorn of their tusks, that are sold in the illegal ivory trade. And soon we are taken to Tsavo National Park in Kenya, the front line of the elephant slaughter in Africa, which is losing its population of these majestic mammals at an alarming rate. The film follows the efforts of Daphne Sheldrick, 80, of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which raises orphaned elephant calves and reintroduces them into the wild. And it accompanies members of the trust and armed Kenya Wildlife Service officers as they search for poachers and treat elephants wounded by wires planted to cripple herds.

Read the full New York Times movie review by Andy Webster, ‘Gardeners of Eden’ Tracks the Killing of Elephants for Ivory here.

Official Trailer: Gardeners of Eden from Village Beat on Vimeo.


Why Norway is teaching travellers to travel

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Photo Credit: Thomas Tratschel/Getty Images

Trolltunga is one of Norway’s most famous geological sites – and one of its most controversial.

“Fjellvettreglene taught us nature doesn’t care about our egos. We should show as much respect and take as much caution as possible. Take this hike, for example,” Indrearne explained. “For people who aren’t experienced hikers, this is considered extreme. Not many tourists realise that. For Norwegians, we’re hikers. We grew up with this nature. We know how powerful it can be.”

Read the full article. 

By Shannon Dell for BBC


Climate Change Is Complex. We’ve Got Answers to Your Questions.

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Illustration: Jon Han

We know. Global warming is daunting. So here’s a place to start: 17 often-asked questions with some straightforward answers.

Read the full article to get some clarity and understand the difference between climate and weather.

By Justin Gillis for the New York Times


Bamboo Straws Poolside at Anantara Golden Triangle (Credit: unknown via Mark Thomson)

Anantara and AVANI Hotels & Resorts are proud to announce the decision to end the use of plastic drinking straws at all hotels and resorts in Asia from 1 January 2018. The first major hotel brands to announce a companywide decision to eradicate plastic straws at every single property across the Asia region with a view to extend the roll out to properties in Australasia, Europe and the Middle East by the end of the year.

In the serene mountainous region of Northern Thailand, Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort is working with a local artist, Khamchan Yano, who was shown by the village elders a fast growing wild bamboo, indigenous to the surrounds. Together they have perfected a way to keep the bamboo strong whilst also ensuring it is hygienic and reusable.

Read the full article on the initiative here.

By Mark Thomson on LinkedIn.


Water feature: Aqualagon with its amazing water slides is the main attraction. Photograph: Luc Boegly

There’s some weirdness attached to Villages Nature, the Disney-imagineered vision of rustic life, but the waterslides are amazing and there’s lots for kids to do

Welcome to the strangely disconcerting world of Villages Nature, 20 miles east of Paris and less than three hours on Eurostar direct from London St Pancras. All of this was once disused farmland until Disney and its partner, Pierre et Vacances (which owns Center Parcs Europe), transformed it into a 300-acre eco-resort; a “haven where guests can disconnect and feel at one with nature”. In other words, the polar opposite of the offering up the road – Disneyland Paris. Their hope is that families will be curious to try both these different worlds. It’s easy to see the appeal: when the children are done with Hyperspace Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean, you can escape back here to the serenity of your Scandi-chic apartment, a gloriously Disney princess-free zone.

Read the full article to find out more about the features of Disneyland’s new eco-resort here.

By  for The Guardian.


Credit: Singularity Hub

Every year, eight million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean, threatening just about every marine species and ecosystem. As the global population grows and countries develop, this is only going to increase, eventually threatening us as well—if it isn’t already.

Founded in 2013 by Boyan Slat, an 18-year-old from the Netherlands, The Ocean Cleanup has been dubbed “the largest cleanup in history.” With the help of a growing list of international partners as well as some advanced technology, Ocean Cleanup’s mission is to help remove the five trillion pieces of plastic currently in the ocean, with deployment scheduled for next year.

In August 2017, the project finalized the design for a u-shaped buoy made of high-density polyethylene nearly two kilometers in length, with a screen extending a few meters below. The system will be positioned based on a series of data points like ocean currents, weather, and location of the plastic and nets. These data points are fed into an algorithm to determine the buoy’s ideal point of deployment.

Read the full article on the massive project to clean up the ocean here.

By  for the Singularity Hub.


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.


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.


Thanks to a camera trap, a polar bear unwittingly makes a self-portrait in Svalbard. PHOTOGRAPH BY PAUL NICKLEN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Lack of sea ice is making it more difficult for polar bears to find food.

When photographer Paul Nicklen and filmmakers from conservation group Sea Legacy arrived on Baffin Island in late summer, they came across a heartbreaking sight: a starving polar bear on its deathbed.

Nicklen is no stranger to bears. From the time he was a child growing up in Canada’s far north the biologist turned wildlife photographer has seen over 3,000 bears in the wild. But the emaciated polar bear, featured in videos Nicklen published to social media on December 5, was one of the most gut-wrenching sights he’s ever seen.

“We stood there crying—filming with tears rolling down our cheeks,” he said.

Read the full article and watch the video here.

By Sarah Gibbens for The National Geographic.


Screen capture ThinkPhi

A pair of Indian entrepreneurs has developed what they claim is “the most advanced integrated plug and play system” for shade, water, and energy.

Solar canopies and carports, which can provide shade underneath them while harvesting clean energy from the sunlight that hits them, can be a great asset in both public and private spaces, but the startup ThinkPhi goes one step further with its flagship product. The company’s model 1080 not only produces renewable electricity from the sun (and stores it in integrated batteries), but it can also collect and filter rainwater.

The product, which looks a bit like an inverted umbrella, features solar panels on the top surface, as well as a canopy to collect and funnel the rainwater into the filtration chamber, and integrates LED lighting underneath it.

Read the full article on these solar canopies here.

By Derek Markham for treehugger.