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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.

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Credit: Shutterstock

Many people all around the world enjoy coffee on a daily basis; however, the environmental impact of growing coffee is often not considered. We have previously shared how to enjoy a sustainable coffee break and how to give coffee grounds a second life. If you are interested in more ideas about how to reuse coffee grounds in the garden, in your house, as part of  your beauty routine, check out this blog with 21 creative ways to reuse your coffee grounds.

For now, let’s take a step back and have a look at the roots of coffee manufacturing to rethink what else we can do to green our coffee routine.

Traditional coffee farming techniques characterized by shade-growing methods have been widely replaced with sun-cultivation farming over the years. This is an issue because manufacturing sun-cultivated coffee means widespread deforestation and the elimination of plant diversity. Moreover, the growing use of fertilizer causes environmental harm and can impact the biodiversity of a region, as well as human health. So, look for the more environmentally friendly option of shade-grown coffee next time you shop coffee beans for your home or office.

When speaking about coffee, we often think of coffee beans only. Let’s have a closer look at another produce along the way: the coffee cherry fruit. Did you know that every year 46 billion lbs of the coffee cherry fruit is wasted, even though they can be used to produce coffee flour, or be eaten as a superfood packed with antioxidants? Or, try cascara, an herbal tea made from the dried skin of the coffee cherry fruits – another wonderful by-product of coffee production. Starbucks has even picked up on this in 2017 by introducing the cascara latte!

However you enjoy your cuppa, do try to make a conscious choice to consider how it is produced!

 

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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.

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Credit: Shutterstock

 

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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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.

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Bangkok’s Fight Against Plastic Waste

Categories: Blog Posts, Southeast, Waste
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by Juliane Little, Account Executive, Precious Plastics Bangkok

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know that plastic doesn’t actually decompose? Over time it’ll start to break down into smaller pieces called microplastics; however, it’ll never fully be removed from our planet.

So how do we expect to tackle this ever-growing issue about plastic waste? While there is no short or easy answer, there are steps we can begin to take towards a brighter, better future.

Let me first introduce myself… My name is Juliane Little and I’m an expat, who has lived in Thailand for just over 2 years now. It was my love for adventure, the ocean, and beauty that brought me all the way from the USA to this beautiful country. Within a short few months, I started to notice there is a huge issue with plastic consumption and recycling in Thailand. This plastic waste comes in all shapes and sizes and is used by teachers, construction workers, people on holiday and even by myself.

Plastic is the ultimate convenience. It’s cheap to make and buy, it’s extremely versatile, and it’s strong. All of these benefits make it easy to forget the potential harm one straw or bottle cap can actually do. We assume that once we dispose if it, it magically disappears. However, we are starting to realize the harsh truth and it’s coming back to bite us (quite literally). Our oceans and lands are being overrun with waste, and animals have turned to plastic as a source of food. There are already traces of plastic in the fish that we are consuming. Scientists have even predicted that by the year 2050 – there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish (by weight).

Ocean Marina, Pattaya, Thailand

After some random web searching, I came across a plastic recycling project, which I immediately thought, “this is what Bangkok needs, this is what the world needs.” I’ve found that many people don’t get involved in volunteer work or conservation efforts, because they don’t know where to start. Trust me – it’s hard, especially living in a foreign country!

Thanks to Dave Hakkens, that is about to change.

Precious Plastics is a project created by Dave Hakkens, which helps people around the world set up their own local plastic workshops. Hakkens’ open source website gives A to Z instructions on how to build all the machines needed to break down plastic and turn it into something new. The possibilities are endless and the creativity doesn’t end on their website. The hope of this project is to encourage upcycling and provide an educational work place for the community.

I have decided to tackle the project and create a Previous Plastics workshop here in Bangkok. Our mission for the Bangkok workshop is to educate the community on plastic waste and consumption. We would achieve this by holding workshops around how to properly use our recycling machines and turn plastic back it back into raw material. This can then be used to create new tools and objects for use and even to sell. During these workshops we will provide tips on avoiding one-time use plastic and lowering your plastic waste footprint! Once you are properly trained on safety and usage, you’ll have free access to the workshop where you are able to upcycle whatever you can think of.

While this project is in its initial stages, we have already had a lot of positive feedback from the community and people who are eager to support in anyway possible. Our next step is to build the machines and find them a temporary home.

If you are interested in getting involved, please reach out to me personally or follow us on Facebook! What we need the most are people who are passionate about saving the planet and reducing plastic pollution. There are many steps we need to take to get this project off the ground and I would love to have you join our team. Feel free to follow the page for updates on our project and also tips to becoming more eco-friendly.

Through the Precious Plastic’s Bangkok Project, I hope to spread more awareness of plastic pollution and give back to the community. Join our cause and let’s get one step closer to a greener, healthier planet.

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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Oceans under greatest threat in history, warns Sir David Attenborough

Categories: Planet, Recommended Reading
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The leatherback turtle is the largest turtle on the planet. David Attenborough travels to Trinidad to meet a community trying to save these giants. Photograph: Gavin Thurston

Blue Planet 2 producers say final episode lays bare shocking damage humanity is wreaking in the seas, from climate change to plastic pollution to noise

The world’s oceans are under the greatest threat in history, according to Sir David Attenborough. The seas are a vital part of the global ecosystem, leaving the future of all life on Earth dependent on humanity’s actions, he says.

Attenborough will issue the warning in the final episode of the Blue Planet 2 series, which details the damage being wreaked in seas around the globe by climate change, plastic pollution, overfishing and even noise.

Previous BBC nature series presented by Attenborough have sometimes been criticised for treading too lightly around humanity’s damage to the planet. But the final episode of the latest series is entirely dedicated to the issue.

“For years we thought the oceans were so vast and the inhabitants so infinitely numerous that nothing we could do could have an effect upon them. But now we know that was wrong,” says Attenborough. “It is now clear our actions are having a significant impact on the world’s oceans. [They] are under threat now as never before in human history. Many people believe the oceans have reached a crisis point.”

Read the full article here.

By  for The Guardian.

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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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Humpback whales are among the species found in the Revillagigedo archipelago. Photograph: Ullstein Bild/Getty Images

Fishing, mining and new hotels will be prohibited in the ‘biologically spectacular’ Revillagigedo archipelago

Mexico’s government has created the largest ocean reserve in North America around a Pacific archipelago regarded as its crown jewel.

The measures will help ensure the conservation of marine creatures including whales, giant rays and turtles.

The protection zone spans 57,000 sq miles (150,000 sq km) around the Revillagigedo islands, which lie 242 miles (390 km) south-west of the Baja California peninsula.

Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, announced the decision in a decree that also bans mining and the construction of new hotels on the islands.

Read the full article on the creation of this new marine reserve here.

By   for The Guardian.

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