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Sharing has become a main driver for our economy. Using underutilised assets allows us to improve efficiency, sustainability and community. Through user-generated web content, and with the growing popularity of renting goods rather than buying them, consumers are becoming increasingly savvy, connected, and conscious.

Here are some ways to become a part of this movement:

  • Check out these 14 pioneers of the “share economy” to learn more about what’s out there already.
  • Break it down to a more personal level and incorporate sharing in your everyday life to improve your sustainability efforts on a smaller scale yet with a bigger and long lasting impact.

Do you want to go on a journey to become more sustainable or even ultimately adapt a zero waste lifestyle, but don’t know where to start? Sharing knowledge and tips within a community of like-minded people is the key to success. Consider these three steps to get rolling:

  1. Get to know your neighbourhood: Explore the area you live in to see which services and goods are available locally. Visit nearby markets and keep your eyes open for small businesses that offer local and organic products but may not necessarily have their own brick and mortar store.
  2. Attend events to learn and connect: Browse for festivals, workshops or other sustainability-related events in your neighbourhood or city. Make sure to green your commute when you go. This is an opportunity to connect with local businesses offering organic or sustainable sourced goods and services. Building relationships is essential in the process of creating a stronger community, as knowledge and updates can be shared and accessed more easily in the future. Contribute to the conversation by sharing what you have previously discovered and learned about your neighbourhood.
  3. Grow your community: Raise awareness about causes that matter to you and invite friends and family to join you in an initiative, challenge or at the next event. Start conversations that encourage others to rethink their own behaviour and actions, and support them to change and improve their lifestyles in a sustainable matter.

Walking the talk is not always easy and you may face difficulties, but remember that together you can tackle every challenge more easily!

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Credit: Shutterstock

 

Pack in, pack out

 

Make sure you don’t leave any trash behind when doing a jungle hike. Food and drink cartons are common items to remember cleaning up but smaller things, such as cigarette butts, toilet paper and food leftovers are often overlooked and can still have a big impact on nature. Food litter can harm animals but also attract them. Make sure you bring food and drinks in reusable containers to avoid littering. Boy Scouts of America has a great article about the proper disposal of waste.

 

Nature and wildlife conservation

 

Be an observer of nature and take in its beauty in from a distance. Avoid walking off-track and don’t pick flowers or remove rocks as this might have more impact on nature than you think. Even though it is tempting to get closer to wild animals such as orangutans and other primates, keep your distance and admire them from afar. It can be dangerous for both humans and animals.

 

Respect local ways and culture

 

When jungle trekking in tropical countries, it can be very hot and humid. Even so, avoid going trekking wearing minimal clothing as this can be very inappropriate in some cultures and local communities, especially when visiting holy places, such as temples. Remember to always ask locals first if you want to take a picture of them and avoid giving gifts to poorer residents as this can encourage begging. Make sure you are well informed about local ways and culture before you go hiking (or before you go to a foreign country in general).

Support the local community

 

Book your jungle trek with a local tour operator and with local guides. This method of touring is win-win because you will support the local community, and because locals have the best knowledge and the best stories about the area you are visiting. Hire local porters, but make sure they are not carrying too much because often they carry almost as much as their body weight up the hills. Also, consider combining your jungle trekking with a community-based tourism experience! When you get to the villages, buy local souvenirs but avoid giving them too much money for it as this can do more harm than good.  

 

Spread the word –  share your knowledge

 

Education is key, share your sustainable experiences with other travellers and friends and in turn you can learn from others.  Express your concern at tour operators and travel companies as the more people that are concerned with environmental issues, the more tour operators will adopt eco-friendly and sustainable practices.

 

For more ideas on responsible camping, check out this Green Tip.

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Credit: Shutterstock

Adam Ruins Everything explains how trophy hunting can actually help animals in the long-run.

Trophy hunters seek out the largest and oldest wild animals to kill and keep as trophies. Hunters say there’s nothing wrong with a well-managed trophy hunt. Hunters pay large fees, which often go toward conservation efforts or the local community—and hunts are often regulated by local authorities to minimize the impact. Critics say trophy hunting is a disgusting act and is completely unnecessary. The numbers don’t add up. What do you think?

 

Read the article and watch Adam Ruins Everything video here to find out. 

 

Posted by The Tylt.

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The clan jetties have been overwhelmed by tourists since receiving Unesco world heritage status. Photograph: gracethang/Getty Images

 

The gambling-ridden clan jetties of Malaysia’s George Town were saved from ruin by the award of Unesco world heritage status, but their new fame left locals overwhelmed by a tide of invasive tourism. Can we ever get the balance right?

Chew Jetty in Malaysia’s George Town attracts tourists by the boatload. Historic homes are now commercial stalls branded with neon signs; one-time fishermen peddle T-shirts, magnets and postcards. Tour buses deposit vacationers from early in the morning until well after sunset.

 

The daily intrusion has clearly taken a toll: windows are boarded, “no photo” signs are pervasive, and tenants quickly vanish at the sight of a foreign face.

 

“I would like to remind people that we are not monkeys, and this is not a zoo,” says Lee Kah Lei, who runs a souvenir stall outside her home on the Chew Jetty.

 

Read the full article about the struggle to strike the balance between the economic benefits of catering to visitors and preserving the culture that drew the recognition.

 

By Laignee Barron for The Guardian.

 

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Photographer: Wayne Lawrence for Bloomberg Businessweek

A mahout, wearing the traditional mohom outfit—denim, red neckerchief, and yellow straw hat—sits atop an elephant at Anantara.

Anantara Golden Triangle in northern Thailand is one of the only places where you can ethically interact with the country’s elephants.

 

I’m half-submerged in the Mekong River—the watery border that ­separates Laos from Thailand and Myanmar—sitting atop a big-eared, pink-spotted, 3-ton elephant named Poonlarp. Her skin looks soft from a distance, but it’s much coarser up close, covered in inch-long bristles. Her gait, which at first gives the appearance of flowing-through-honey movement, feels wobbly up this high. She’s alternately headstrong and playful. If you’ve ever walked a large, stubborn dog, you have an idea what it’s like to ride an elephant. This is the ­bucket-list item that brings people here to Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort.

 

Read more about ethically interacting with elephants at the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort here. 

 

 

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Inspiring your community to go green

Categories: Green Tips
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Inspiring your community to go green

Increasingly, people are looking at ways to reduce their ecological footprint. But is simply greening your own lifestyle enough? How can we also impact our communities, our friends and family, neighbourhoods, towns, cities and, ultimately, our societies?

Here are six ways to inspire your community:

  1. Reconnect

To inspire sustainability efforts in your community, you need to be part of it. Talk to the people around you and seek their opinions. Show support in your community and get involved. Educate yourself on the issues that affect your community and become a leader. Use your new knowledge to start community discussions on sustainability initiatives.

  1. Educate others

Your biggest potential for influencing others is by actions, attitudes and by setting the right example. Be open and honest about your choices and encourage others to follow the same path. For more information and knowledge related to sustainable and socially responsible tourism, visit: PATA’s sustainability website.

  1. Form a Green Team

Form a green team within your community. Having a green team is an important step along the path towards the objective of becoming more environmentally sustainable. It also increases engagement within your community. Check out: how to form a green team.

  1. Local engagement

community engagement

Engage directly with your local community on green projects. What are you planning for EarthDay 2017 on April 22? Gain inspiration from PATA EarthDay activities. Consider neighbourhood clean-up projects; tree planting, community carpooling, recycling and volunteering activities.

  1. Make it easy and enjoyable

Good intentions are fine – but it is meaningful actions that make a difference. For example, if recycling isn’t convenient it is less likely to happen. Visible, conveniently placed recycling bins make it easier for your local community to participate in a recycling programme.  Positive engagement creates positive outcomes in every community. Make sure that you add a little fun to every sustainability project.

  1. Buy local

When you purchase a locally-made product it supports your local economy and benefits the environment by reducing its carbon footprint. Buy locally grown food and handicrafts directly from neighbourhood markets and artists. It’s also a great way to get to know your community.

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Here is why you should source food locally!

Categories: Green Tips
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local food: farmers-market-local-produce-520

Image Source: UCLA – IOES

All local foods are picked at their peak so they are far more tasty and appealing but also much more healthier. Since the food will be consumed in a shorter period, it has less time to lose its nutrients. Imported foods aren’t as fresh as they travel and spend time in warehouses so farmers need to add preservatives.

Buying local food serves local farmers as they receive the full retail price of their produce and do not have to pay for transportation, processing, packaging, refrigeration and marketing. This also helps the environment as transportation, processing and packaging pollute enormously for example: The average food item travels 1,500 miles before reaching our kitchens.

By supporting local agriculture you also ensure that farmers will not have to sell their land that provides ecosystem services such as wildlife habitats and supports local economies. A study published by The American Farmland Trust states that farms pay more taxes than the services they receive, enriching the local community.

In buying local produce, the proceeds remain in the community, as stated in the Times.

The CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programme found that when food is purchased locally, twice the money remains within the local community. So buy local foods, found in the surrounding farms, farmers’ markets and some grocery and natural food stores.

Ten reasons to buy local food

Gastro tourism draws billions in revenue worldwide. Tourists travel specifically to experience national, regional and local foods. Food also occupies a major part of life in different countries. Supporting local food isn’t just economically and environmentally beneficial- it also sustains a culture. You can provide customers/tourists with tips on where to find restaurants who source food locally. There are various websites available that are listing these kinds of restaurants, including:

People do appreciate locally sourced food. Look at FAO’s guide on Understanding your Customers.

To learn more about how you can help the environment by purchasing food locally click here.

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‘post-tourist’

In the last decade, the tourism industry has been overtaken by a new kind of tourist: one who avoids popular sites and abandons their maps. Welcome to the age of the “post-tourist”. Siobhan Lyons Read more.

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This ship sourced pollution study originated from a research program conducted by the South-East Queensland Regional Water Quality Management Strategy, a multi-agency community/industry/government partnership group. Results from previous studies and feedback from principal stakeholders such as Maritime Safety Queensland, prompted demand for a second study to investigate levels of trace metals at selected popular anchorages in eastern Moreton Bay.

by Jan Warnken, Peter Teasdale and Ryan Dunn

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