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Winter is back in many parts of our precious world. Skiing and snowboarding trips are on the calendar around the globe. Do you also have a snowy escape lined up? If so, keep on reading to find out how to make your carbon footprint of this trip a barely discernible snowshoe imprint.

To begin, find eco-friendly ski and snowboard equipment – from the actual skis/snowboard to clothing to wax and more. You may also source used equipment instead of buying new to reduce waste to landfill. Remember that you can always recycle/donate used gear that is still in good used condition. Choose jackets, scarves, gloves and boots that are previously loved or made from recycled material. Fleece products, for example, are often made from recycled plastic bottles.

Get to the slopes by using shared shuttle services or other public transportation instead of a personal car. This will help to reduce carbon emissions, air pollution and noise – not to mention eliminate the worry of your car getting stuck in the snow! Check out these ‘car-free’ and ‘no-car-needed’ ski resorts when choosing your holiday destination. Choosing an accommodation and ski resort that is dedicated to greening the slopes will help to lower the negative environmental impact or even result in a carbon neutral holiday. Look for opportunities to offset your footprint. Read more about how one ski resort aims at cutting carbon emissions to zero in the future.

All set for going down the slopes? For more food for thought on your next active winter vacation, read about the environmental impact of ski resorts and solutions and alternatives here. Let’s all go green so we can keep our slopes powdery!

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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.

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Credit: Shutterstock

World Soil Day, celebrated on December 5th, is just around the corner. We invite you to be inspired by this year’s theme, ‘Caring for the planet starts from the ground.’ Let’s celebrate soils!

You may wonder why soil is so important and why it should be celebrated. The UN officially declared December 5, 2014 as the first annual World Soil Day with the aim to raise awareness about the critical importance of soil in our lives.

To secure food for our future, we need to guarantee healthy and productive soils – the healthier the soil, the more nutrients a plant can soak up. Let’s remember that soils are the foundation of vegetation which provides us with healthy food, animal feed, fuel, fibre, household goods and other essentials. To ensure that everyone around the world can have access to these essentials, it is important to be respectful to the environment wherever you travel. Soil, a non-renewable resource, is also important for providing an adequate water supply and maintaining its quality since the water absorption properties of soil play a role in reducing pollution from chemicals in pesticides and other compounds. You can find more reasons why healthy soil is vital to human life on earth here.

Start with educating yourself and others about the need and benefits of protecting and learn about the different types of soil and their nature. Why not spread the word on the importance of maintaining healthy soils using one of FAO’s infographics to support your message.

There are many ways to celebrate soil. FAO shares some ideas that can help you create some buzz around the World Soil Day:

  • Set up a meeting with local farmers in a field for an interesting discussion
  • Get people moving and active by organising a 5k run or (half-) marathon
  • Plan an exhibition or cultural performance that celebrates local agricutlure
  • Launch a poem or song-writing contest
  • Invite a guest-lecturer or speaker (be inspired by PATA’s example of teaching staff how to produce their very own healthy soil through composting)
  • Organise a field trip to plant trees that reduce soil erosion
  • Share a slice of a tasty World Soil Day (mud!) cake with your colleagues
  • Choose from FAO’s video material and display it at your World Soil Day event

You can also check for local events near you, browsing FAO’s worldwide events map.

No matter of the kind of activity you chose in the end, share your views and celebration photos on social media platforms using the hashtag #WorldSoilDay. Let’s care for our planet and celebrate this year’s World Soil Day together!

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WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards finalists

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is pleased to announce the 15 Finalists for its 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. The 2017 Finalists cut across five continents in the following categories: Community, Destination, Environment, Innovation and People.

The WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, now in its 13th year, showcases business practices of the highest standards that balance the needs of ‘people, planet and profits’ within our sector.

The 2017 Awards fall within the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, all 15 Finalists illustrate great commitment to “support a change in policies, business practices and consumer behavior towards a more sustainable tourism sector than can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals”, as the International Year calls for.

Following a rigorous 3-phase judging, which includes an onsite evaluation, Winners of the 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards will be announced during the Awards Ceremony at the 17th WTTC Global Summit, taking place in Bangkok, 26 – 27 April 2017.

David Scowsill, President & CEO of WTTC said: “I am extremely pleased to once again see such inspiring business leadership amongst this year’s Finalists. This year saw a 36% rise of applications, which shows not only that more and more Travel & Tourism companies are looking to operate sustainably but also an increased interest to share company best practices and thereby educate peers and governments.

As the Travel & Tourism sector continues to grow, WTTC currently estimates global Travel & Tourism to have grown by 3.1% in 2016, we have to ensure we safeguard the environment, local communities and cultural heritage, and our Awards programme calls on tourism businesses to showcase just that.”

Awards Lead Judge, Graham Miller, Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Surrey, said: “The 2017 Finalists illustrate how widespread the notion of sustainable tourism has become. While sustainability used to be focused around the preservation of nature, this year, the organisation’s missions are, amongst other things, centred around innovative value creation for societies, travel technology for those with accessibility needs, and empowerment of the young workforce.”

The Finalists of the 2017 WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, which is Headline sponsored by AIG Travel for the second year, are:

Community Award Finalists, whose organisations are committed to sustainable tourism leadership in local community development, empowerment and cultural heritage

  • Cinnamon Wild Yala, Sri Lanka
  • G Adventures, Canada
  • Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya

Destination Award Finalists, who show commitment to supporting and delivering sustainable tourism best practices in their destinations:

  • Botswana Tourism Organisation, Botswana
  • City of Bydgoszcz, Poland
  • Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park, Finland

Environment Award Finalists, whose organisations and companies achieved environmental best practice through biodiversity conservation, protection of natural habitats, addressing climate change, and green operations:

  • Biosphere Expeditions, UK
  • Caiman Ecological Refuge, Brazil
  • Misool, Indonesia

Innovation Award Finalists, who provided innovative solutions to overcoming the challenges faced by Travel & Tourism in implementing sustainability in practice:

  • NATIVE Hotels and Accessible Tourism, Spain
  • Soel Yachts, Netherlands
  • The Mapping Ocean Wealth initiative led by the Nature Conservancy, USA

People Award Finalists, who are dedicated to the development of capacity building, training and education to build a skilled tourism workforce for the future:

  • Desert & Delta Safaris, Botswana
  • STREETS International, Vietnam
  • The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation’s China Hospitality Education Initiative (CHEI), China

The Winner Selection Committee is chaired by Fiona Jeffery OBE, Chair of the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards and include a further 15 independent judges from within the Travel & Tourism sector.

Fiona Jeffery OBE, Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Chair, said: “Now more than ever it’s important to highlight how tourism positively connects people across the planet and brings great social and economic benefits to destinations. The 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Award Finalists demonstrate a commitment to long term vision in preference to short term gains and provide inspiring examples of responsible leadership in their businesses. The true value of the awards is the insight and learning which can be shared across the industry and I’m looking forward to hearing their stories during the WTTC Global Summit in April 2017.”

For the full list of finalists and more about the Awards, read more here.

Click here for the original article by WTTC.

To view the announcement of the 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Finalists, presented by Lead Judge Graham Miller, please click here.

Copyright @ WTTC 2017

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Ten countries that protect their environment and respect human rights

Chile_made the list of the ten most ethical travel destinations for 2017

Chile made the list of the ten most ethical travel destinations for 2017, in part due to its expanding solar industry in places like the Atacama Desert, pictured above. Photo credit: Danielle Pereira / Flickr

Travel is more than an opening for good will, writes Ethical Traveller. It is one of the world’s most powerful economic engines, and can drive the way countries treat their citizens, indigenous peoples, wildlife and the environment. Travel is the world’s largest industry, with a trillion-dollar annual footprint. This means that travelers have enormous power. Where we put our footprints has reverberations reaching far beyond our personal experience. By “voting with our wings” – choosing our destinations well and cultivating our roles as citizen diplomats – we can help to change the world for the better.

Every year, Ethical Traveler reviews the policies and practices of over one hundred developing nations. We then select the ten that are doing the most impressive job of promoting human rights, preserving the environment and supporting social welfare – all while creating a lively, community-based tourism industry. By visiting these countries, we can use our economic leverage to reward good works and support best practices.

 


The Winners
Ethical Traveler congratulates the countries on our 2017 list of The World’s Ten Best Ethical Destinations. The winners, in alphabetical order (not in order of merit), are:

  • Belize
  • Cabo Verde
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominica
  • Mongolia
  • Palau
  • Tonga
  • Uruguay
  • Vanuatu

By Ethical Traveller. Find out how the list is created – click here to read the original article.

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wind energy

In the Netherlands all NS’s 1.200.000 train trips per day are now without any CO2 emissions. A world’s first!


As from 1 January 2017 100% of Dutch electric trains are powered by wind energy.  The Dutch railways company NS is the world’s first railway company that gets 100% of its energy from wind energy.

Dutch railways now 100% powered by wind energy. Source: Facebook BrightVibes

Travelling by train has been the most environmentally friendly way of transportation for a long time already. In the Netherlands they have now taken it to the next level using wind turbines to power all of its electric trains.

The Dutch have a long history of using wind energy to advance. They used windmills to drain land covered by water since the 17th century. By Michiel De Gooijer. Find out more on BrightVibes.

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ioannis-pappas-gstc-conferennce-athens-2016

Dr Ioannis Pappas, CEO of Green Evolution SA, Member of the Board and Country Representative of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, is an experienced professional engineer, with over 25 years of work in several fields of science, focusing on sustainability for tourism, energy and environmental efficiency in infrastructure and buildings, auditing or advising in standardization of companies and technological implementation of climate adaptation and mitigation methodologies.

His company, Green Evolution S.A. is an advisory company in the fields of environment, energy and carbon finance. With respect to sustainable tourism in particular they assist interested entities to implement sustainable tourism through consulting, training and functional support, in the design, management and implementation of tourism projects with sustainability in order to create long term benefits for destinations and local communities

In this interview Ioannis Pappas speaks with Anula Galewska about challenges of tourism development in Greece and reviews the sustainability efforts of the Greek tourism industry.

This article is part of the interview series with Speakers of the GSTC Conferences in Suwon, Korea and Athens, Greece held in October and November 2016.

 


GSTC’s Regional European Meeting took place in Athens, Greece in November 2016. To view presentations from the past conference and learn about upcoming GSTC events, visit GSTC website.

Click here to read more on the original article by Travindy.

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Outrage over Miss Universe candidates swimming with endangered whale sharks

Categories: Asia, Planet, Recommended Reading, Sea, Wildlife
Comments Off on Outrage over Miss Universe candidates swimming with endangered whale sharks
The Philippines' bet for the Miss Universe pageant, Maxine Medina, and other candidates swam near the whale sharks. PHOTO: courtesy of Sergei Tokmakov (via CNN Philippines on Twitter)

The Philippines’ bet for the Miss Universe pageant, Maxine Medina, and other candidates swam near the whale sharks. PHOTO: courtesy of Sergei Tokmakov (via CNN Philippines on Twitter)

LOOK: Miss Universe candidates go whale watching in Oslob, Cebu

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Controversy shrouded the visit of the 12 Miss Universe 2016 candidates to Oslob, Cebu on Tuesday.

One of their activities was to watch the endangered whale sharks or butanding. Miss Universe-Philippines Maxine Medina was also photographed swimming with a whale shark.

Environmentalists and past beauty queens expressed their outrage, saying the Miss Universe pageant organizers made an unethical choice of having the contestants swim with whale sharks.

The said tourist attraction has been controversial due to the negative impact on the animals caused by human interaction. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed the butanding as an endangered species. It reported last July that the “growing human pressure” on whale sharks are putting the species at an increasing risk of extinction.

CNN Philippines correspondent Isabella Montano contributed to this report. Read more.

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Our nation needs to talk more about the future of water, which I believe is one of the top public health and economic challenges now facing our country. This is a moment of opportunity – to drive smart, equitable, resilient investments to modernize our aging water infrastructure; to invent and build the water technologies of the future; and to protect our precious water resources. To seize this opportunity, we need urgent and sustained action at all levels of government and from all sectors of the economy. – Gina McCarthy. Read more.

water challenges

Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park. Copyright Eric Vance, All Rights Reserved. GPS coordinates available in metadata. Reproduction rights granted to US EPA for EPA publications only. Reproduction rights are not transferable.

 

 

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