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King salmon at Bristol Bay in Alaska, 2013.

A Seattle restaurateur has stopped offering chinook salmon at her restaurants. Renee Erickson, chef and owner of a group of restaurants, including The Walrus and the Carpenter in Ballard, said she made the decision after learning about the plight of J50, the young, ailing orca whale.

“This really tipped the scale for me, being a native Northwesterner and someone who cares about our environment,” said Erickson. “I felt there was no reason to keep buying chinook.”

Chinook salmon, also known as king salmon, is the main food source for Puget Sound-based orcas. Biologists say the scarcity of chinook salmon in recent years has been hard on these whales, whose numbers have dwindled to 75.

Erickson says customers can enjoy other types of salmon.

Read the full article here.

By Ruby de Luna for Kuow.

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Credit: Shutterstock

 

Eating sustainably is essential if we are to preserve our planet. Here are five tips about to make a difference.

 

  • Choose local and organic food

 

Try to buy locally-grown food as this has multiple benefits such as fewer greenhouse gas emissions from transporting and refrigerating the food and the preservation of jobs in the local community. There is, thankfully, already an increase in the consumption of local products,

 

Try also to purchase organic foods – grown without artificial pesticides and fertilisers. These foodstuffs are healthier and have less impact upon the environment.

 

  • Choose more plant-based foods

 

Reducing the volume of meat consumption has a significantly beneficial effect upon the environment. Pesticides may be used for meat production and valuable resources are needed to raise livestock such as cattle, pigs and chickens. For example, it is estimated that 16,000 litres of water are needed to produce 1kg of beef. If a family of four skips eating beef once a week it has the same beneficial effect upon the environment as not using a petrol or diesel car for three months. Click here for some healthy vegan recipes.

 

  • Choose seasonal foods

 

Eating seasonal foods means that there is a smaller chance the food has not been grown in artificial conditions nor transported from the other side of the world. Choosing to eat seasonal foods also brings variation to your diet as well that all-important fresh flavour.

 

  • Grow it yourself

 

If you have a garden, big or small, find some space to grow vegetables. It’s fun; it makes you appreciate your food, and it also contributes towards our goal of achieving a healthier, more sustainable world.

 

  • Get inspired and Inspire others

 

Talk to other food lovers who wish to be more environmentally-conscious about where it comes from and how it is grown. Learn more from the producers selling products at your local farmers’ market. Share your new-found knowledge with family and friends. You may learn from each other. Here are some sustainable food documentaries that may also help to inspire you.

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A micro-approach to sustainable tourism: how travelers can take small actions that result in large, positive impacts

Categories: Blog Posts, Case Study, Community, People and Places
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By La Carmina, travel blogger and TV host @ lacarmina.com

la-carmina-lacarmina-asia-fashion-blogger-tv-host

 

Intro

As a millennial travel blogger, I’ve noticed a rising interest among travelers my age for “authentic, immersive” experiences. I personally gravitate towards sharing stories in this vein, such as conservation safaris in South Africa, or village food tours in Vietnam. Skift’s recent report echoes this movement: “Arguably the most significant, systemic trend in worldwide tourism today is the demand for ‘experiential travel’.”

Their report adds that 71% of US travelers now prefer to travel with family and friends, and book local stays. In particular, young travelers are uninterested in joining a big bus tour, briefly hitting the landmarks and sleeping at a chain hotel. Instead, they’re keen on local, off-the-beaten-path experiences. According to Trekk Soft, travelers are increasingly expressing a “real interest in interacting in a genuine way with other people and cultures” – giving examples such as camel treks to Merzouga, and staying in yurts with Mongolian nomads.

These experience-seeking travelers might not use the word (or hashtag) “sustainable” in describing their preferred travel style, but their approach often shares the same priorities. “Sustainable tourism,” after all, focuses on making a positive, ethical impact on the local environment, community and economy.

Leisure travelers might not instinctively be drawn to “sustainable tourism”, as the first images that come to mind tend to be voluntourism in poor areas, eco-work in jungles and other challenging long-term commitments. Skift suggests they may feel daunted by the physical level required, difficult living conditions, or overall social impact of their contribution.

However, travelers can make a significant impact even in a single day of action. There are many “micro-approaches” to incorporating sustainability into a trip – such a staying at a family-run hotel, devoting a day to volunteering in the city, or taking a cooking class run by villagers in their homes.

Since these small and less intensive choices are accessible to travelers, it’s likely that more will be willing to take part – resulting in compounding positive returns for the community. These “micro-sustainable” activities are also exactly in line with the meaningful, local experiences that travelers are increasingly seeking.

Tourists will always be in need of accommodations, food, transportation, and possibly a guided tour – all of which are opportunities to support locals, and leave a small footprint. In recent years, I’ve been putting the spotlight on small, sustainable choices in these areas, which can go a long way. Here are three examples from my recent journeys, and the lessons I’ve learned.

 

Case study 1: Volunteering with Myanmar punks

Volunteering abroad can take on many forms. Like many leisure travelers, I am not able to commit to a long stint of service, such as spending several weeks or months at a rural school. I also have some health concerns that limit me from certain types of activities, and I can understand why travelers may feel uncomfortable in some circumstances, such as working at a hospital.

Regardless, there is an abundance of direct, local-led ways to make a difference in any destination. These activities can fit seamlessly with one’s personal interests and abilities, and fulfill the “authentic” experiences that travelers desire.

For example, I’ve identified with subcultures ever since I was a teenager, especially Goth and punk lifestyles. When I had the opportunity to visit Myanmar, I was surprised to learn that there is a vivid, “old-school” punk scene in Yangon. These bands perform raucous sets at dive bars, wearing spiky Mohawks, studded jewelry and ripped tops – followed by hardcore partying til morning!

However, Yangon’s rockers are also committed to helping their community from the ground up. Kyaw Kyaw, leader of the punk group Rebel Riot, started two local charities: Books Not Bombs (raising funds and supplies for schoolchildren in need), and Food Not Bombs (a weekly program where the punks and volunteers feed the homeless).

Photo: La Carmina

Photo: La Carmina

As someone with a passion for underground culture, I was excited to meet Myanmar’s punks and help out with their non-profits. I messaged Kyaw Kyaw and others directly on Facebook, and we struck up a conversation. My friends and I ended up bringing a suitcase full of school supplies for the local children. We watched him perform at Human Rights Day, taking photos so that I could feature the concert on my travel blog. Later, we interviewed him while hanging out with his punk friends, which led to a decadent night out at Chinatown bars.

My friends and I were happy we were able to meet new friends who shared our love of alternative culture and fashion. We had a unique, fun experience with locals in Yangon, while also supporting a charity in person. With the Internet and social media, it’s easier than ever to reach out directly to individuals like we did, and make a difference even during a short trip.

 

Case study 2: Staying with a Serbian family

One of the simplest ways that travelers can support sustainable tourism is by choosing local, ethical accommodations. In the past, tourists booked chain hotels because they could count on the consistent quality. However, with the rise of crowd-sourced online reviews today, travelers minimize the risk of staying in subpar places. With a little web research, they can confidently put their dollars towards homestays, B&Bs, and independently run boutique hotels with excellent reputations.

When my travel TV team and I were planning our stay in Belgrade, I looked at international brands such as Best Western, Radisson and Hyatt. I knew these hotels would provide a satisfactory stay – but I probably wouldn’t remember the rooms or staff a few months later. In other words, there would be no “experience” or sustainable/local facets, which are important to my travel stories.

Instead, I looked at TripAdvisor and other boutique hotel reviews online. Selection Apartments stood out because it had 5-star reviews across the board, and won TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence every year since 2012.

We contacted them and received a personal reply and welcome from the family that runs these apartments, including the offer to pick us up from the train station for free. When we arrived, the father and wife team served us Serbian coffee and fresh-baked pastries, and then took us on a little walking tour of the neighbourhood to get us situated. They upkeep the rooms themselves, and were always available for friendly chats and to give advice. To this day, we still keep in touch on Facebook.

Photo: La Carmina

Photo: La Carmina

If we had booked a chain hotel, we would never have had a personalized, local experience like we did at Selection Apartments. My team and I feel great that we supported a kind Belgrade family, and consistently recommend them to travelers to help get the word out. This sustainable choice rewarded us with new friends and memories, while also helping out a local business.

 

Case study 3: Supporting Moroccan women on a tour

Likewise, in Morocco, my team and I wanted to dive deeper into the local culture, and film meaningful stories about individuals breaking boundaries. We were curious about the lives of Moroccan women, so we created a custom itinerary through Plan-It Fez, a tour company run by two expat women. We had a Moroccan lady as our guide and translator, and she helped us experience immersive activities that support local female-run businesses.

Photo: La Carmina

Photo: La Carmina

We learned how to make bread and couscous at a bakery collective, run by women in a village outside Fez. The next day, we took part in a family-run henna workshop, where three generations of Moroccan women showed us beauty treatments and drew designs on our hands. Finally, we stayed overnight in a Berber village home, cooking dinner with the ladies of the house.

Photo: La Carmina

Photo: La Carmina

Although my filmmakers and I only spent about a week in Morocco, our Plan-It Fez tour gave us powerful insight into the lives of independent, local women. We saw our dollars made a direct impact on the lives of these women, as we could observe how they were building lives for themselves through their work, which they opened up to tourists.

In any given destination, there are dozens of big-name tour groups, buses and cruises to choose from. However, with a little online research, sustainable-minded travelers can find a niche tour that focuses on a cause or aspect that they feel passionate about. These options can range from a small eco cruise for people who love diving, to music workshops run by emerging artists. I personally love shining a light on women and fringe groups, which made this tour a perfect fit for my interests, while creating sustainable benefits.

 

Conclusion

Today’s travelers are increasingly interested in “experiential, meaningful, local” journeys – and these values are in line with sustainability. However, large-scale voluntourism and eco-focused trips might not match the comfort levels of most leisure travelers. Instead, tourists can be encouraged to take small, mindful actions – such as booking homestays and ethical tours, or spending a day volunteering for a cause they believe in.

My case studies suggest that these “micro-sustainable” choices can fit one’s personal interests and be enjoyable, while also making a significant, positive impact on communities. Travelers are also more likely to take part in such “small” actions, as these require less time and physical investment. No matter how small, every choice that is mindful about a destination’s environment and residents will make a difference.

 

Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author(s) and those providing comments on these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) or any employee thereof. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability or validity of any information presented by individual authors and/or commenters on our blogs and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.

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6 Simple Tips to a Food Waste-Free Holiday

Categories: Green Tips, Planet, Waste
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During the holiday season, nobody wants to run out of food when holding a party or hosting a meal. To avoid embarrassment, we often end up preparing too much food, but don’t know how to manage the leftovers!

Did you know that food waste is one of the world’s biggest waste contributors? According to recycleworks.org, household waste increases by more than 25% from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. At least 28 billion pounds of edible food is wasted each year – equating to over 100 pounds per person.

Here are some tips for a food waste-free holiday.

  1. Plan Ahead!

Planning menus in advance can limit waste. Get the head count of your guests to coordinate your recipe measurements to the perfect proportions, reducing the risk of impulse purchases. Check out Love Food Hate Waste for portion planning, storage tips and recipes.

  1. Store Properly

Rotten or spoiled food is the ultimate bummer. Storing food properly in the fridge or freezer ensures a longer shelf life and less food in the trash. Consider using the app Fridgely to record and track what’s in your fridge.

food waste-free

  1. Leftovers into Makeovers

Don’t let your leftovers go to waste. Transform your holiday leftovers into completely new dishes. Here are some awesome recipes to incorporate your holiday leftovers.

  1. Leftover Pooling Party

Throw a leftovers pooling party to cut down on food waste, save money and be united with the community in the process. This is a great way to clear out the fridge especially during the post-holiday season. Find out more about leftovers pooling party ideas here. Visit to our Green Tips article for a quick checklist of actions you can take to avoid or reduce food waste at your events.

  1. Donate to Feed the Hungry

If you still end up with too much food, find your local food bank and donate it to those in need. Check out our Green Tips articles on Rescue Food Scraps and Donate to Food Banks.

  1. Compost 

If food really cannot be eaten, at the very least, compost what you can. Here is a list of foods that you can and cannot compost. Also, try these simple solutions to reduce waste at home and the office.

food waste-freeReducing our food waste during the holiday season generates a host of benefits from saving money to conserving our planet. But don’t stop when the holiday season is over and keep the zero waste spirit year round.

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Tourism Marketing Agent: Tourism and more

April 2016 – There can be little doubt that food is a major part of the tourism experience.  If tourism is about seeing new sights and having new and unique experiences then the culinary world is a major part of the tourism experience.  Because eating is an essential part of living, food or culinary tourism has a broad base of appeal.  In fact, often when visitors return home, one of the first questions that people ask is ‘how is the food?”  The interaction between tourism and food is often called culinary tourism.  In reality this is a broad term that often means different things to different people.  Often scholars define culinary tourism along the lines of: visitors having the opportunity of partaking in unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences.  Culinary tourism tries to provide authentic local cuisines that represent both the tastes and smells of a nation as a part of that locale’s cultural offerings and heritage.  This definition, however, may speak more to a locale’s “haute cuisine” than to the eating experience of the average local resident.

The World Food Tourism Association supports this assertion noting that “only 8.1% of all foodies self-identify with the “gourmet” label.” Thus the association argues that most people enjoy good food and drink but there is no necessary relationship between the enjoyment of a culinary experiences and the cost of that experience.

Often the most interesting culinary experiences come from a variety of social and economic classes. Furthermore, every community has a culinary food potential, although often visitors or tourists do not get to experience it and at times the local population under appreciates it. To help you create a local culinary tourism experience that will add pride to your own community and at the same time, provide unique travel experiences, Tourism Tidbits offers the following ideas, cautions, and experiences.

  • Culinary tourism tends to work best when it is combined with other aspects of tourism.  Although we all love to eat, when visiting a location we usually want to do more than eat. Pair your tourism culinary offering with other compatible and complementary offerings. A good example of food and tourism activities is the ski business.  That business does a good job of encouraging people to ski during the day, use up calories and then not feel guilty about their caloric consumption during the après-ski period.
  • Know your own food traditions.  All too often locals either do not realize that a particular food expresses the unique flavor of a locale and all too often are ignorant of the food’s history. Combine the eating experience with the cultural or historical experience.  Create food centers that allow people to experience not only the local tastes but also the local atmosphere.  Create ways that people cannot only sample the local cuisine but either take samples home or purchase the receipts.
  • Make sure that people know what they are getting.  Although food consumption is big business we live in a world of multiple eating restrictions, be these restrictions due to religious, ethnic, medical, or health reasons.  A location can lose all the good will obtained through culinary tourism simply through misinformation or through a poorly trained staff.  Food is both an issue of pleasure and comfort, but also highly emotionally charged. Poor food training or lack of sensitivity toward food avoidance needs can result not only in an unhappy customer, but in worse case scenario, a law suite.
  • There are multiple subsets to culinary tourism. Culinary tourism has multiple sub-categories.  For example there are places that emphasize their beer tourism such as Germany, wine tourism such as California, France, Italy or Portugal, chocolate tourism such as Switzerland.  Each of these culinary tourisms is subset of the larger world of culinary tourism. All of these locations have a number of things in common. These include: (1) they base their tourism on numerous locations where visitors can both sample and compare. Thus, for wine tourism to work, there must be a cluster of vineyards in close proximity ton each other, (2) there is coordination with other components of the tourism industry, from tour companies to international guides, (3) the beer halls, vineyards, chocolate stores must collaborate with each other.
  • Assure that local foods are fresh and wholesome.  There is nothing that can destroy culinary tourism faster than a reputation for lack of hygiene or for being a place in which people get sick.  Make sure that the water supply is adequate and potable.  Emphasize foods that are fresh, local, organic, and sustainable.  Using seasonal foods means that your culinary tourism product changes with the seasons and that you can encourage repeat visitation.  Remember to keep things as uncomplicated as possible. When it comes to culinary tourism remember the simpler and easier to understand the better.
  • All forms of culinary tourism are especially appealing to rural areas.  These are areas that often lack indoor attractions, are close to food sources, and often have preserved local traditions. Rural food tourism locations that are most successful have found ways to protect their food ecology and offer interesting and hardy meals at reasonable prices.  The keys are (1) excellent and friendly customer service (2) unique or wholesome foods, reasonable prices, and local marketing so that the outsider knows not only where to go but also hours of service.  Rural culinary tourism can easily be linked to heritage and historical tourism.  These locations may not require a great deal of paid labor and often provide unique experiences.  For example, church suppers create a tourism experience, a social experience and a way for the local church to gain additional revenue.

By Dr. Peter Tarlow. You can find the original article Tourism & More, Inc.

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by Johanna Meissner, Sustainability & Social Responsibility Associate, PATA

 

travelThe one thing I have always known I wanted to do in my life is to travel. The thought of experiencing what life is like in other places of the world has always motivated my wanderlust, so you could say it was only natural that I would end up pursuing a career in the tourism industry.

I was hoping that, by studying tourism management I could live out my passion of travelling and experiencing other cultures and places, meeting people from all over the world.

I found that responsible tourism is very well suited to cater to this exact way of travelling and I know I am not the only one seeking these kinds of experiences.

Read more

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India’s Edible Cutlery

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It is this unending greed that is causing grief to all…. The groundwater levels are falling very rapidly Very soon, it will become unviable to lift any more of it. Its quality also has deteriorated and in several regions, it is no longer fit for drinking. The plastic invasion is continuing to bother us. The global warming is heating up the earth. Income from rural livelihood is diminishing, causing exodus of rural population to urban areas. This is causing pressures on urban resources. There are no places to live, no roads to drive safely and not too many jobs.

You can add to the list and it can go on and on…

But what is the point? Is it not time for us to start resolving the problems rather than ruing the problems? This is precisely why we invented the Edible Cutlery. By Mera Bharat Mahan. Read more.

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Meat Free Mondays – Get Your Business on Board

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Meat Free Mondays

Image source: Meat Free Mondays

Meat Free Mondays is a global campaign designed to educate and promote a reverse in a global trend where more people than ever are eating more meat, more often – partly attributed to rising incomes. 

It is not a necessarily a bad thing to eat meat; however, by including increasing amounts of meat in our diets we are fueling demand for livestock production, which according to the FAO is “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale.

Reducing CO2 emissions is one of the biggest missions of our time and in order to curb emission levels, we all need to do our part.

This applies especially to the tourism industry, which is seeing a huge rise in meat consumption and culinary travel, where food is the main attraction. This trend contributes to the rise in meat consumption and so our industry has the opportunity to lead the way in presenting creative food itineraries that aren’t solely reliant on meat – or at least on Mondays.

If every tourism business joined the ‘Meat Free Mondays’ movement – imagine what a difference this would make?

To join the movement you can register your business here. Or follow via Facebook. You can even download informative posters to promote Meat Free Mondays to your customers and staff, or share a lighthearted article about vegetarians and why they aren’t so uncool.

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October 8 2015 – Designed to promote New York agriculture and add a bit more green space to the airport, the 24,000-square-foot T5 farm is growing produce, herbs and the same blue potatoes used to make the Terra Blues potato chips JetBlue offers year-round as complimentary snacks to passengers during flights. Harriet Baskas Read more.

 

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October 05 2015 – Do you know the difference between ecotourism, sustainable travel, responsible travel and volunteer vacationing? While there is a lot of overlap with each of these terms, they all have one common theme – that is to improve lives through travel and tourism. Sucheta Rawal Read more.