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asian elephants, thailand, thai elephants

A wild elephant investigates a pickup truck in Thiland – Photo: © IUCN / Bampen Chaiyarak

A new study conducted by the Thai foundation Bring the Elephant Home (BTEH) shows that certain types of deterrence measures could reduce human-elephant conflict (HEC) in Thailand, and save lives on both sides. The study’s findings suggest that people’s interest in conserving elephants is more or less proportional to how much they stand to gain from the animals’ presence. It also found that those currently in conflict with elephants show a willingness to shift to alternative methods of deterrence to those currently being employed.

Elephants, revered and loved for ages in Thailand, have lately become a problem. Human settlements are expanding into elephant habitat, leaving wild populations of the species no other option but to invade human territory. Here, they can ravage plantations and destroy houses, which often escalates into direct confrontation. Conflicts between people and elephants result in hundreds of deaths per year on both sides, and pose a significant threat to the survival of Asian elephants, which are classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.

Read the full article here.

By IUCN.

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In our continuing efforts to reduce waste and educate our staff, the PATA Green Team organized a workshop at our Bangkok HQ on August 7, 2018. We invited guest speakers from Tavises – Magic Eyes to conduct the workshop.

“Ah! Ah! Don’t litter. Magic Eyes are watching you” is a merry jingle many Gen X Thais are familiar with, and thanks to the efforts of this organisation, the concept will be passed down to future generations.

The speakers, Pa and Nat, introduced their organisation and their mission. They gave an overview of waste management in Thailand and discussed the 5 Rs – reduce, reuse, repair, recycle and reject – to promote an eco-friendly lifestyle.

Pa and Nat emphasised the idea of refusing to use single-use plastics – especially plastic bags, straws and cups – proposing alternates to single use items such as tote bags instead of plastics bags, reusable tumblers, handkerchiefs instead of tissues/paper towels and reusable cutlery.

To drive the dangers of single-use plastics home, they shared some nerve-wracking facts about plastic pollution:

           

The group shared various ideas about how individuals can manage their waste properly, and how upcycling can be put into practice to give new life to items that would otherwise be thrown away. The speakers concluded their presentation with a poignant video showing humankind’s general exploitative attitude towards the planet.

Today, Lankaow Waan catered our lunch, chosen for not just their delicious food, but also for their recycled and compostable packaging.

     

Efforts made by organisations such as Tavises – Magic Eyes and Lankaow Waan will help educate the world about the benefits and importance of adopting a more sustainable lifestyle. The workshop helped put things into perspective and reminded everyone how important it is to be mindful of the decisions each one of us makes.

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plastic pollution, volunteers, plastic ocean

Volunteers clearing plastic from a beach in Mumbai, India. Photo by Hemanshi Kamani/Hindustan Times

Despite the increasing concern about the issue, there is little sign that plastic use is falling. Half of all the plastic ever made was produced in the last 13 years, says investment house Hermes, while output is set to increase by 40% in the next decade.

The plastics problem is a stark illustration of the problems of a global economy that is “overwhelmingly linear”. The linear economy sees goods produced in a “take, make and waste” model that assumes resources are essentially infinite and will always be available to make new products.

The circular economy requires a significant shift in mindset, starting with the design process, which must ensure that goods not only have minimal environmental impact in terms of the use of water, energy and materials, but also that they can easily be repurposed or recycled through a “cradle-to-cradle” approach.

Read the full article here.

By Mike Scott for Forbes.

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recycling, sustainability thailand, children recycling

Photo: © Siriporn Sriaram – IUCN/MFF

In a special World Environment Day op-ed, Aban Marker Kabraji, Regional Director for IUCN Asia and Director of IUCN’s Regional Hub for Asia-Oceania, writes about grassroots initiatives and efforts to engage the private sector that IUCN and Mangroves for the Future are already undertaking.

In Trat, residents of Mairood are showing how local action is not only possible and replicable, but also empowering and lasting. Through a project initiated by Mangroves for the Future (MFF), a joint IUCN and UNDP programme that provides grants across 11 countries, the community has started sorting, composting and recycling waste, and is looking to reduce collected waste by 80%.

Read the full article here.

By IUCN News.

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As the global mindset shifts towards a more sustainable future, resorts in Thailand are also taking initiatives in this direction. These efforts are accelerating positive change in the tourism industry. Here are some initiatives that resorts are taking to show that luxury and sustainability can go hand-in-hand.

Cleaning:

Community:

Construction:

  • Soneva Kiri: Materials used to construct the resort are natural and from sustainable sources.
  • Six Senses Yao Noi: Utilises surrounding nature & natural resources to educate guests.
  • Bangkok Treehouse: Energy from renewable sources.
  • Tongsai Bay: No trees were cut during the resort’s construction.

Food:

Waste:

  • Soneva Kiri: Single use plastics and imported water bottles are banned.
  • Soneva Kiri: Waste management is done by onsite composting and a bio-fuel plant within the resort provides fuel to run conventional engines.
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Sharks and Starbucks: How brand licensees can impact your value

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For those in the world of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental and Social Governance reporting (ESG), an interesting dynamic is at play in Hong Kong, with a large multinational brand being drawn into the domestic “dirty” laundry of its licensee. The question is whether that local partner, and flagbearer of that brand, is able to find solutions which will not pull the value of the international brand down with its own domestic reputation.

In short, Maxim’s — the licensee of Starbucks in Hong Kong,  Macau, Singapore and Vietnam, with over 180 stores — is also the largest restaurant chain in Hong Kong, and it continues to serve shark fin. This is akin to having a menu option for elephant or rhino.

Read the full article here.

By Doug Woodring for GreenBiz.

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More than eight million tonnes of plastic enters the world’s oceans every year.

The BBC is to ban single-use plastics by 2020, after TV series Blue Planet II highlighted the scale of sea pollution.

First, throwaway plastic cups and cutlery will be scrapped by the end of this year, followed by plastic containers in canteens by 2019.

By 2020, the BBC hopes to be free of single-use plastic across all sites.

Tony Hall, director general of the BBC, said he had been “shocked” by the plastic waste featured in last year’s nature documentary.

Announcing its three-step plan on Tuesday, the BBC said some of its kitchens had already started replacing plastic cups with glasses.

Read the full article here.

By BBC News

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Credit: 123RF

Vanuatu’s foreign minister says a national audit currently underway will help determine the next stages of the country’s plastics ban.

Ralph Regenvanu said the audit would also examine ways of reducing plastic use, recycling and alternative materials.

He said the ultimate goal is to eliminate all single-use plastics going into the ocean.

“There’s going to be a number of options. There are some items we can obviously ban outright like we did with the three items we just banned. But then of course there’s options for container return, return and deposit schemes.

“That’s seems to be something that is very successful in other jurisdictions. Having a levy which is charged and then people get given a refund for the return of a particular item.”

Read the full article here.

By Radio New Zealand

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Credit: greenaperture / Shutterstock.com

At Collision, which calls itself “North America’s fastest-growing tech conference,” former United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres threw down a challenge to tech titans: move the world from incremental to exponential action on climate change.

Most significantly, the biggest influence the tech sector can have is not on its own emissions or even those of its suppliers—it is, after all, just 2-2.5 percent of global emissions. Tech titans are the interface with global consumers and citizens. On a daily basis, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft influence the behavior of billions of people—the world’s middle classes and the world’s businesses.

Read the full article here.

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tiger, wilderness, sustainable travel, protect wildlife, wildlife protection, conservation, animal welfare

Credit: Shutterstock

Wildlife encounters are one of the most exciting and memorable experiences you can have, but your safety and the animal’s welfare should be your highest priority.

Here are some tips on how to have an exhilarating and responsible wildlife experience:

  • If you can, visit animals in the wild or in sanctuaries where they are kept in the most natural conditions possible. If you’re looking for a more affordable option such as a zoo, do some research on the establishment’s stance on animal welfare before you purchase a ticket.

 

  • Don’t use animals as photo props. Critters such as the slow loris are adorable, but they get distressed when held; therefore, no matter how cute or seemingly harmless, avoid the urge to treat wild animals as cuddly toys.

 

  • Check if your tour operator has taken adequate measures to ensure safety for you and the wildlife. You can reduce uncertainty by booking tours through tour operators that have special accreditations, that show they follow sustainable tourism practices, such as PATA members Khiri and Buffalo Tours.

 

  • Appreciate animals just as they are and respect them. Some attractions may have your favourite creatures behaving in a way they normally wouldn’t in the wild. It’s best to avoid supporting such activities, as it is difficult to access whether the training methods used to tame the animals are responsible or not.

 

 

Spend sustainably because your refusal to engage in potentially dubious activities will bring down the business that profits at the expense of wildlife.

For more background information on the role of elephants in Asia and animal welfare, visit the links below:

If you’d like a more thorough understanding of animal welfare in tourism, check out ABTA’s Animal Welfare Guidelines.

 

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