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 Greta has been campaigning since she was 15 years old

Greta has been campaigning since she was 15 years old

Nearly a year ago, Greta Thunberg stood unwavering on a TED Talk stage and told the audience she had been diagnosed with selective mutism when she was eleven years old, concluding, “That basically means I only speak when I think it’s necessary – now is one of those moments.”

What about now has moved Greta and over 4 million people around the world to join the climate strike and speak up for our planet? It is the notion that in this moment, our actions have vast implications for the future that Greta will grow old in, and the future that her children will be raised in.

“our actions have vast implications for the future that Greta will grow old in”

When I picture the future, my overzealous mind flashes images of overly populated cities raging with simultaneous wildfires, hurricanes, acid rain, and drought. I picture an apocalyptic nightmare. Starving climate refugees fleeing to the cities deemed safest from natural disasters. I picture Cleveland, Ohio, as a safe haven settled on Lake Erie, one of the few fresh water resources left. And no one would remember the Cuyahoga River catching fire, and Cleveland would no longer be the butt of climate jokes around the world (an apocalyptic dream, indeed).

And while these are the over imaginative musings of a writer’s mind, they are grounded in some scientific fact. Our earth is warming, and our actions do have ramifications for the future.

So what are some of these scientific predictions that people around the world are rallying behind?

Rising Temperatures

 Global warming will account for some severe drought in some of the most populated parts of the world

Global warming will account for some severe drought in some of the most populated parts of the world

While it may seem obvious, global warming also means a change in climate extremes. In 2015, Erich Fisher published a study that examines how 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius will affect these weather extremes. His study predicts that the threat of hot weather will double at 1.5 degrees of warming, and double again at 2 degrees. For many areas of the world, such as the Mediterranean, Central America, the Amazon basin, and southern Africa, these extreme heat waves may cause severe droughts.

“the threat of hot weather will double at 1.5 degrees of warming”

Parts of the world like southwest Asia and the Persian Gulf would become uninhabitable without permanent air conditioning.

Rising Water Levels

 The Maldives is one of the many islands around the world at risk

The Maldives is one of the many islands around the world at risk

Glaciers are melting and the temperature of the ocean is warming. Both of these contribute to the rising sea levels that are drowning islands like the Maldives. Many models predict that by 2100 sea levels will rise by 8 to 20 inches.

Ocean Acidification

 Estimated change in sea water pH caused by human created CO2 between the 1700s and the 1990s, from the  Global Ocean Data Analysis Project  (GLODAP) and the  World Ocean Atlas

Estimated change in sea water pH caused by human created CO2 between the 1700s and the 1990s, from the Global Ocean Data Analysis Project (GLODAP) and the World Ocean Atlas

The ocean acts as a massive carbon dioxide sponge, soaking up a portion from the earth’s atmosphere. When the carbon dioxide reacts with ocean water, a weak carbonic acid is formed which reduces the pH of the water. This process of ocean acidification can severely disrupt the oceanic ecosystem.

As microbiologist Michael Kertez told Nature on why he was taking part in the climate strike, “The Brazilian rainforests are on fire, but what’s happening in the ocean is even worse. At some point, the ocean will no longer be able to absorb carbon dioxide from the air, leaving even more in the earth’s atmosphere”.

Natural Disasters

 Natural disaster are becoming common place around the world

Natural disaster are becoming common place around the world

With ocean temperatures rising, so is the threat of hurricanes, typhoons, and tropical storms. Warmer waters provide the energy that forms these storms, and with the projected thermal shift, scientists suspect that we will see higher level hurricanes at an alarming rate. Some scientists believe we are already seeing an uptick in the intensity and frequency of these storms, but others are not convinced.

“scientists suspect that we will see higher level hurricanes at an alarming rate”

This is the future that Greta and millions of children are facing, and they are not willing to sit back while nothing is done to alter this fate.

At the age of sixteen, Greta has rallied over four million troops in the war against climate change, and a large portion of the soldiers in this battle are children.

 Millions of children and young adults around the world have joined Greta in the Global Climate Strike

Millions of children and young adults around the world have joined Greta in the Global Climate Strike

At the climate action summit this year, Greta addressed the world’s leaders imploring “I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean, yet you all come to us young people for hope, how dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words, and yet I am one of the lucky ones.”

The picture science paints for Greta’s future does look bleak, but children who will grow old in other nations in areas of the world like southwest Asia, southern Africa, Central America, the Mediterranean, and the Amazon basin look even more severe.

Thousands of students and adults took to the streets in Brazil to condemn the environmental policies of President Jair Bolsonardo and environment minister Ricardo Salles. Some protesters even created a life size doll of the president with a Pinocchio nose.

Students held signs reading “Não existe planeta B.”

 Signs during the demonstrations ranged from “There is no Planet B” to “Planet over Profit”

Signs during the demonstrations ranged from “There is no Planet B” to “Planet over Profit”

In Kenya, hundreds of protesters rallied to put a halt to plans for a new coal plant.

Larger countries around the world have also been taking to the streets in droves to show their support for Mother Earth.

Many young activists from around the world showed their support for the planet in New York City, where the climate action summit is taking place this week. The theme of the summit is “A Race We Can Win. A Race We Must Win.”

“A Race We Can Win. A Race We Must Win.”

It is a race to 1.5 degrees Celsius. With most leaders backing the plan to cut emissions by 50 percent within 10 years, this race might be one that is never finished. By cutting our emissions by 50 percent in 10 years, we only have a 50 percent chance of ever reaching the 1.5 degree threshold that many climate activists are calling for. 

Cutting our emissions by more than 50 percent will be no easy task and will require a great deal of change, but it is our best bet in securing a future for the younger generations. As Greta said in her TED talk last year, “We do need hope, of course we do. But the one thing we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere.”

About the Author

Devin Farmiloe

Devin is a freelance environmental and travel writer. Her creative spirit and love for the world have just begun to collide, and she looks forward to seeing the good that can come from such a unity.

 


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 Tourists and travellers are enjoying trips more and mores

Tourists and travellers are enjoying trips more and mores

Waste Not on Your Travels

Whether you are travelling for business, on vacation, or simply out for a weekend day-trip down to the beach or the country side, the act of travelling itself can bring with it moments of inspiration, serenity, and fulfilment.

No single person ever has the same feeling as another, yet it is possible to share some of the most special times of one’s life together when embarking on a trip – a trip that could potentially change the course of one’s life.

This, arguably, is one of the reasons why we’re all experiencing a growing addiction to travelling, why there were a total of 1.4 billion international tourist arrivals around the world in 2018. Many people are falling victims to the travel bug, coming out more and more to explore the world and to experience different people, different cultures, and even different foods, climates, or sporting activities.

“there was a total of 1.4 billion international tourist arrivals around the world in 2018”

While this enlightening experience can both educate and relax individuals who partake on these adventures, the recent boom in tourism has also been adding to an already-prevalent strain on the world – waste.

Many of the world’s most beautiful and exhilarating spots are already paying a very heavy price due to an immense amount of littering, our cultural addiction to single-use plastics, and inadequate recycling or environmentally friendly waste-disposal systems in place. An example of this is illustrated in a report produced by the WWF in 2018 which showed that more than 200 million tourists had visited the Mediterranean every summer in recent years, and that these massive numbers had brought about an incredible 40% increase in marine litter to the area.

It is becoming abundantly clear that the problem is rapidly reaching tipping point, and it’s time we seriously start considering how we can go about minimising the waste we generate every time we go on vacation by focusing on sustainable tourism and zero waste.

We’ve put together a list of essential eco-friendly travel products and accessories so that your next trip can be environmentally friendly and as waste-free as it can be.

1.  Reusable Water Bottles

 Millions of plastic bottles wash up on coasts all over the world

Millions of plastic bottles wash up on coasts all over the world

Millions of water bottles pile up in landfills and wash up on beaches all over the world every year, damaging local landscapes and putting an immense strain on global pollution as a whole. Add to this the very basic fact that tourists end up spending a lot of their hard-earned money on purchasing disposable water bottles while travelling, and you’ve got a very unpleasant result for the environment, as well as for your wallet.

The solution is a plain and simple one; save money and the environment by getting a good quality BPA-free, stainless steel, or glass water bottle. Your very own water bottle saves you in so many ways, while openly showing the world that you care for the world around you.

2.  Bamboo Utensils

 Using eco-friendly utensils can seriously help to save the environment

Using eco-friendly utensils can seriously help to save the environment

Skip the single-use plastic utensils with a set of bamboo utensils for your next vacation. These are reusable, super lightweight, and heat resistant. Whether you’re on a backpacking adventure or on a fancy tropical trip, these eco-friendly utensils will always come in handy.

3.  Solar Phone Charger

 Solar powered chargers are a great option to keep you powered on-the-go

Solar powered chargers are a great option to keep you powered on-the-go

Yes! The technology does exist!

Solar chargers make sure you always have enough power to charge your phone and other gadgets without the need to run around hunting for the awkwardly located wall sockets at your lodgings. Many are already choosing the environmentally friendly charging method as it eliminates major hassles for travellers while reducing carbon footprints. That’s because these chargers run on our most renewable of energy sources; the sun! Just a few hours of daylight can power your devices for hours.

According to multiple sources, charging your phone can use anywhere from two to seven kilowatt hours a year. Depending on your energy company, each kWh from the grid creates up to 1.63 pounds of CO2 (according to BlueSkyModel), so if you’re using 7 kWh a year just for your smartphone, that’s 11.41 lbs of CO2 for a single smartphone. If all two billion smartphone users worldwide made this switch to solar, we’d decrease man-made CO2 emissions by 10 million tonnes annually.

4.  Organic Sunscreen

 Organic sunscreen will not hurt marine life

Organic sunscreen will not hurt marine life

Sunscreen is a necessity for many tourists who are not used to excessive exposure to the sun. But many tourists are simply unaware of the environmental impact sunscreen has on marine life.

Sun protection products are jam-packed with chemicals that pollute the waters and destroy the coral and marine life every time we go for a swim. One way to combat this is to switch to a raw organic sunscreen that’s mineral-based and eco-friendly. A lot of these come in plastic-free, recyclable packaging which is even better!

5. Shampoo Bars

 There are plenty of environmentally-friendly shampoo products out there

There are plenty of environmentally-friendly shampoo products out there

Say no to all those fancy travel sized hygiene products packed in plastic bottles and opt for greener alternatives. Eco-friendly hair products like shampoo and conditioner bars are less harsh on your hair and great for the environment, ticking two boxes at the same time!

Eco-friendly brands have not only come up with a host of environmentally-friendly shampoo bars, but also a wide range of other toiletries like creams, perfumes, and even toothpastes.

6. Organic Bags for Shopping

 Wherever you go, take a reusable shopping bag with you

Wherever you go, take a reusable shopping bag with you

 Regardless of the length and destination of your trip, you will probably need to head out to the local markets do some grocery shopping. Moreover, some travellers love to shop while they move from one city to another.

You don’t have to use paper or plastic bags every time you shop. Instead, get a few organic shopping bags that are made of cloth, jute, or drawstring. These are stretchy, durable, lightweight and great at minimising waste or packing out landfills once you’ve discarded them.

7. Portable Washing Bags

Finding somewhere to do your laundry can sometimes be a challenge, and many places will use a great amount of electricity to power the washing machines needed to clean your clothes.

Make your trip a more environmentally-friendly one by using portable washing bags that make laundry absolutely hassle-free. All you need to do is place your dirty clothes into one of these bags, add some water and a little detergent and rub!

Along with all the electricity you’ll be saving, you’ll also cut down on the water used to scrub down your clothes. Use organic detergent that’s free from harmful chemicals to further reduce the negative impact on the environment.

8. Solar Lamps or Torches

If you’re going on a mountain hike or planning a little bit of forest camping, you’ll certainly be needing some light sources. Instead of using ordinary battery operated torches or lamps, invest in a good solar-powered device, or a device that can be charged on a solar charging pack. There are many on the market today that last longer than conventional battery-powered torches, and you won’t have to be scratching around for non-environmentally-friendly batteries.

9. Beeswax Wraps

If you enjoy a good packed lunch during your travels, beeswax wraps are a must-have item. As well as eliminating the need for cling-film to wrap your sandwiches, these wraps are long lasting (usually up to a year) and can be easily washed using dish soap.

10. Portable Water Purifiers

If you’re an avid world-traveller, you may very well find yourself in places where the local water isn’t suitable for drinking. But this doesn’t mean that you need to keep buying water in plastic bottles. As aforementioned, plastic bottles are one of the greatest threats to our environment.

Instead, invest in a portable water purifier that treats water there and then. There are a number of options available including filter-equipped bottles, UV light devices, and water purifying tablets.

About the Author

Silvia Pelham is the (e)co-founder of Five-Leaf System, regular blog writer for the company, and an architect with a PhD in environmental retrofitting of existing buildings. Residing and working in Portugal for over 40 years, Silvia became increasingly aware of the importance of environmental issues in the world, starting up Five-Leaf System as a result.


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 Travel, enjoy, and respect your surroundings for a greener future Travel, enjoy, and respect your surroundings for a greener future
Why Should Travelling be Sustainable?
Our planet has a limited amount of natural resources, and these are rapidly depleting due to a number of activities we take on as travellers of the world. Every time we decide to explore a new destination, we use up resources and affect the planet in a negative way.
We start this by catching a flight to get there which results in massive CO2 emissions in the atmosphere. Once we get to our destination of choice, we stay in fancy hotels. New hotels and resorts are constantly being built to cater for the growing number of tourists. They are often built on natural areas to give you access to the breathtaking views and this, along with a great many other factors, is how mass tourism threatens our environment.
“New hotels and resorts are constantly being built to cater for the growing number of tourists”
While tourism is a wonderful industry, it should not prosper at the cost of our planet. Tourism often causes increased pollution levels and can affect wildlife and nature adversely. This is why travellers need to be more mindful about valuing the environment and making sure not to exhaust natural resources for the future. There has to be greater emphasis on preserving nature and avoiding over-tourism.
 Appreciation of the environment and travelling should go hand in hand Appreciation of the environment and travelling should go hand in hand
What Is Sustainable Travelling?
Sustainable tourism is about finding a way to continue tourism in a place without negatively impacting its natural and cultural environment. It focuses on providing comfortable facilities to tourists while preserving the resources and environment of the host region.
It is all based on the central idea of being more conscious of how we travel. Sustainable travelling aims to reduce harmful effects of travelling on the environment. It also tries to improve the condition of the local economy and to create a positive effect on the local community.
Why Is Sustainable Travelling the Way Forward?
The tourism industry has finally entered a new era of sustainable travelling. Leaders around the world have started to address this issue to create awareness. The future success of tourism relies heavily on economic, social, and environmental initiatives. These are the reasons which have led to the popularity of sustainable travelling.
Global Warming Continues
Summers are getting hotter and winter seasons around the world continue to shrink. Polar ice sheets are starting to melt as a result of the rising average temperature of the planet, and even islands in the Pacific are slowly disappearing due to the rising sea levels.
 The consequences of extreme global warming may be irreversible The consequences of extreme global warming may be irreversible
All of these consequences of global warming are alarming to say the least. Companies all over the world are making efforts to lessen their harmful impact on the planet. People are becoming more and more conscious of their carbon footprint. This is why an ever increasing number of people are shifting towards sustainable travelling. According to a report on home ownership accommodation, 72% of its users have claimed that environmental benefits of home sharing were the main reason they chose this type of stay.
The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Summit
The United Nations took an initiative to promote sustainability and brought together leaders from all over the world. The summit decided upon 17 sustainable development goals which will help to minimise problems of poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030.
Such global campaigns with the involvement of influential world leaders have surely contributed to the awareness and popularity of sustainability. Reaching these goals involves the implementation of sustainability in every industry including the travel industry.
 Millennials are looking to integrate more with the cultures that they visit Millennials are looking to integrate more with the cultures that they visit
Millennials Are More Environmentally Conscious
Millennials have been born into an era where they have to fulfil the duty of becoming responsible inhabitants of this planet. Generations before them continued to exploit and pollute the planet as they fancied and now they have no choice but to fix it. This is why millennials are committed to making this world a better place through sustainable travelling.
In 2018, young travellers were 45% less likely to book a holiday with recreational activities included. Instead, they seeked enriching travel experiences and engaging with local culture. Their passion for globetrotting came with dedication to protect destinations and local communities. Their interaction with local communities made them want to do right by them.
Digital Storytelling Encourages Responsible Travelling
In this digital age, everyone is on social media. We all love making videos and blogging about our unique experiences. Technological advancements have put the power of spreading messages in the hands of ordinary people.
“Technological advancements have put the power of spreading messages in the hands of ordinary people”
As a result, people share their travel stories and create awareness about social problems instantly. Social media can help them highlight the issues that come with tourism and promote sustainable travelling.
Such measures to create awareness have resulted in some remarkable results. According to booking.com, more than two thirds (68%) of all travellers wanted to stay in eco-accommodation in 2018. This shows a rising trend as this was 65% in 2017, and 62% in 2016. This is a great achievement for sustainable travelling and shows that people have finally realised its significance.
What We Can Do
The idea and general concept of sustainable travelling has really only arisen in recent years as the ever-evident need to help save and preserve our planet has become so apparent.
It’s quite plain to see now that we must do all we can to protect the wonders this earth has to offer, for future generations to be able to see and enjoy them for themselves. If we continue to travel irresponsibly as people did in the past, future generations will be robbed of the exceptional experiences we were lucky enough to have. This is why we must make an effort to care for this earth and encourage people to do the same.
It is time for a change and becoming a greener traveller is a start.
About the author
Jason Pelham is a co-writer for Five-Leaf System

 

 Toucans are just one of the magnificent animals that reside in the Amazonian rainforests

Toucans are just one of the magnificent animals that reside in the Amazonian rainforests

Visiting the Amazon can only be compared to putting on a virtual reality helmet and watching the Avatar; its magnitude, wilderness, and beauty are hard to conceptualise into reality, and yet, it is a reality. With much of the modern world consisting of highways, skyscrapers, and shopping centres, it is astonishing that so much of the natural world has been left untouched, or “had been” left untouched.

While the Amazon is related to the Avatar for its untamed beauty, it is also comparable to the degradation of Pandora that takes place in the film. Instead of a war-torn planet being mined for the unfathomably lucrative Unobtainium, the Amazon is being set ablaze by the seemingly harmless cattle ranching industry.

Wildfires are a common natural disaster during the dry season in Brazil, but forest fires are also intentionally (and illegally) started to clear more land for cattle ranching in the area. According to the Global Forest Atlas, cattle ranching accounts for 80 percent of current deforestation rates in the Amazon region.

 Cattle ranching is one of the industries to benefit from deforestation

Cattle ranching is one of the industries to benefit from deforestation

“According to the Global Forest Atlas, cattle ranching accounts for 80 percent of current deforestation rates in the Amazon region.”

Home to around three million species of plants and animals, and one million indigenous people, the recent Amazon Rainforest fires present a myriad of issues that encompass human rights, environmental concerns, and even Brazil’s tourism industry.

The Amazon Rainforest produces 20% of the oxygen that is in the earth’s atmosphere, making the forest fires a high profile environmental concern.

While the current fires torching the Amazon may afflict the growing ecotourism industry in the rainforest, ecotourism may also be a way to support the Brazilian economy, reduce the rate of deforestation, and combat climate change all in one.

According to the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology, ecotourism in the Amazon provides an incentive for the conservation of areas that would otherwise not be officially protected by the government.

“ecotourism in the Amazon provides an incentive for the conservation of areas that would otherwise not be officially protected by the government.”

Whether it is taking a boat ride down the Amazon River in search of Piranha, sleeping in a hammock with the lush canopy overhead, or taking a hot shower in a luxury Amazonian resort, the options for travel in the rainforest are as diverse as the wildlife that calls it home.

If you are alarmed by the wildfires scorching the Amazon, ecotourism may very well be a way to combat deforestation, build the local economy, and experience the wonders of the Amazon all in one vacation.

Canopy Tours

Taking a canopy tour allows you to experience the hustle and bustle of the forest floor from a bird’s eye view. The Canopy is the rainforest’s most biodiverse layer, and the walkways hung among the trees let you stroll in the midst of Red-Eyed Tree Frogs, Toucans, Sloths, and Iguanas.

Canopy tours offer a slightly more eco-friendly option than walking on the forest floor. Since trails and paths have to be made to trudge through the wilderness, taking the high road provides a less invasive option for exploring the Amazon.

Forest Floor Treks

 The South American jaguar at Piquiri River, Mato Grosso state, Brazil, is another animal at great risk.

The South American jaguar at Piquiri River, Mato Grosso state, Brazil, is another animal at great risk.

While walking on the forest floor is more invasive than taking a canopy tour, trekking through the jungle can still be eco-friendly. Rainforest treks are an intense and rewarding experience that truly immerses you into its wildlife.

The forest floor is home to the rainforest’s largest animals as well as some of its smallest. You may see Anteaters, Jaguar’s, and Bullet Ants (which are aptly named, given the pain of their bite or sting).

Many ecotourism companies offer trekking tours that allow you to explore the rainforest with an experienced guide who teaches you about the indigenous cuisine, gives you survival tips, and assists you throughout the excursion.

“Many ecotourism companies offer trekking tours that allow you to explore the rainforest”

On some rainforest treks, you have the opportunity to camp overnight. Instead of traditional camping, many tour guides bring hammocks for you to sleep in and tarps to guard you against the rain.

 Trekking through the Amazonian jungle is a once-in-a-lifetime experience

Trekking through the Amazonian jungle is a once-in-a-lifetime experience

Experience an amazing night in the Amazon rainforest. This tour, organized through our friends over at Leezair includes transfers by boat & canoe, piranha spotting, alligator watching and much, much more!

 

Luxury Eco- Resorts

 Cristalino Lodge is a 5 Leaf Lodge. Visit  http://cristalinolodge.com.br/en  to book.

Cristalino Lodge is a 5 Leaf Lodge. Visit http://cristalinolodge.com.br/en to book.

If you want to wake up to the emphatic chittering of wildlife in the Amazon without the potential late-night snuggles with a Howler Monkey, you might choose to stay in one of the many eco-resorts instead of camping overnight.

The eco-resorts in the Amazon truly show what innovation, coupled with the mindset of environmentalism can achieve. Two examples are the floating resort and the resort located among the treetops. Neither of these lodgings compromise much when it comes to a luxurious experience, and both offer comfort alongside adventure.

Many of the eco-resorts have open concepts, where a sturdy bug screen separates you from the critters (thank goodness, after learning about Bullet Ants), but also allows you to feel immersed in nature.

Tribal Visits

 The people of Ashaninka are just one of the tribes set to suffer from the deforestation of the Amazon - Photo by Ministério da Cultura.

The people of Ashaninka are just one of the tribes set to suffer from the deforestation of the Amazon – Photo by Ministério da Cultura.

Visiting one of the many tribal communities in the Amazon offers a great ecotourism opportunity. While ecotourism focuses a great deal on preserving the environment in the locations you visit, it also works to support the indigenous people in the region.

Going to tribal communities allows you to experience a new culture and learn how indigenous people have lived among, and in harmony with the rainforest for centuries.

Many of the tribal communities in the Amazon have shops where you can purchase souvenirs that showcase local crafts, while also supporting that community’s economy.

River Tour

 River tours are a great way to experience the wonders of the Amazon.

River tours are a great way to experience the wonders of the Amazon.

Taking a tour of the Amazon River is a great way to experience some of the most unique aquatic life in the world. The Amazon River is so large that it holds more water than any other river in the world. To keep your cruise environmentally friendly, try to stay away from watercrafts that cause pollution, and stick to a boat with paddles.

Many of the resorts mentioned previously offer excursions on the Amazon River where you can see Piranha, Caiman, and the rare Pink Dolphin.

The Amazon Rainforest fires are a serious problem, and if the world continues to ignore the needs of the natural world, the forest fires will continue to burn at an alarming rate. While there are many ways to help reduce deforestation, visiting, appreciating, and protecting our world’s greatest natural treasures is one of the best ways we can combat the environmental devastation that is scorching our planet.

About the author

Devin Farmiloe

Devin is a freelance environmental and travel writer. Her creative spirit and love for the world have just begun to collide, and she looks forward to seeing the good that can come from such a unity.

 
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 Rua Augusta and downtown Lisbon

Rua Augusta and downtown Lisbon

 

Looking for ways to be more environmentally friendly when you travel?

In a time when the war on climate change is as fierce as ever, we all know that it’s up to us to do our part to save our planet.

But where do we start?

It’s rapidly becoming common practice at home. We are well aware of what we have to do in terms of recycling, being more energy efficient, and cutting down on our shower times. But when it comes to travel, where do we even start?

One thing you should definitely be looking into, is finding that environmentally friendly and eco-conscious lodging to stay at. Whether it’s a hotel or B&B, a villa or a camp site, the people who run the places you stay at should have a vested interest in responsible tourism.

From use of renewable energies, consumption of organically grown produce, complete involvement in the local communities, and the minimization of carbon emissions, a hotel or lodging owner must be on top of what effect their accommodation is having on the environment.

With this in mind, we’ve decided to compile a list of 5 must-visit locations which are not only in some of the most exciting places to visit on earth, but that are also environmentally friendly and environmentally conscious.

1. Langdale Hotel & Spa (UK)

 Langdale Hotel & Spa gives you an experience in the Lake District like no other

Langdale Hotel & Spa gives you an experience in the Lake District like no other

If you are looking for a relaxing spa wash to away those working worries, then you need look no further than the magnificence that is Langdale Hotel & Spa.

Enjoy the splendours of 16 breathtaking lakes framed by the glorious backdrops of mountains, fells, and woodland in the Lake District. Whether it’s awe-inspiring treks or the relaxation of a sumptuous sauna, this place has it all.

 Langdale Hotel & Spa has it’s own Electric Car Charging Points.

Langdale Hotel & Spa has it’s own Electric Car Charging Points.

Park and charge your electric car at the hotel’s charging point and enjoy a lodging who’s environmental policy includes detailed plans to tackle energy consumption, work on waste management, contribute and protect local ecology, and use an efficient and environmentally friendly water usage system.

You really couldn’t ask for much more from this 4-star / 5-leaf hotel!

It’s been like it for years, and so it continues to be that the staff at Langdale Hotel & Spa do everything they can to make sure you leave a minimal footprint while taking maximum enjoyment from one of the most invigorating and jaw-dropping locations in the country.

Book your stay and find out more about Langdale Hotel & Spa here.

2. Neya Lisbon Hotel (Portugal)

 Sustainability is the order of the day at Neya Eco-Hotel

Sustainability is the order of the day at Neya Eco-Hotel

If you still haven’t visited Lisbon, then be sure to put it on your list of soon-to-visit locations.

Lisbon is a city bubbling in history, made ever vibrant by its engaging people, and yet still rough enough round its edges to keep its enthralling authenticity. It’s undoubtedly a city where your heart will go, and your heart will stay.

In the middle of it all stands a sleek, chic, and elegant state-of-the-art hotel called the Neya Lisbon Eco-Hotel. This place is so cool, it helps bring together organisations looking into their own eco policies by hosting environmentally friendly and sustainable ‘eco-meetings’ for them. If you were looking for proof that eco-friendly lodgings can co-exist with the modernity of a metropolis, then you need look no further.

 Grab an e-bike and head on into the city!

Grab an e-bike and head on into the city!

Leave your car behind, grab one of the hotel’s eco bikes, and head out into a city with years of history.

Take a ride down to the main city centre which runs alongside one of the widest river mouths in Europe, and enjoy the many beautifully modern galleries, city sculptures, and traditionally delicate and quaint little cafes the city has to offer.

If biking is not your thing, simply ask the friendly staff at reception for the best way to get around the city. There’s a range of environmentally friendly modes of transportation from a very efficient bus system to a range of Segway trips and tours to be had.

Once back at the hotel, indulge in some of the luxurious massage rituals, holistic therapies, and sumptuous jaccuzzi’s, and let yourself go in a hotel who’s motto incorporates the ethos of sustainability being their way of life.

 Relax and indulge in the wonderful facilities Neya has to offer.

Relax and indulge in the wonderful facilities Neya has to offer.

Book your stay and find out more about Neya Lisboa eco-hotel here.

3. Bells at Killcare (Australia)

 Explore the wonders of New South Wales

Explore the wonders of New South Wales

The east coast of Australia has long been a destination for travellers looking for excitement, adventure, and life-changing experiences. It’s a coastline that has a little bit of everything, and to this it owes great thanks to the marvels that nature has given it.

About a 2-hour bus ride north of Sydney, and a stone’s throw away from the luscious Bouddi National Park, you will find Bells at Killcare.

Whether it’s for a party, wedding, conference, or simply for a place to lay back and relax, this boutique hotel, restaurant, and spa is the ideal place to relax, explore, and immerse yourself in the wonders that New South Wales has to offer.

 Much of the produce is brought in from the local garden

Much of the produce is brought in from the local garden

Enjoy a culinary journey of authentic Italian-style cuisine from a kitchen that is not only inspired by the produce grown and harvested in the estate’s famous vegetable garden, but that also believes in everyday sustainability and minimal waste.

Showcasing many local producers, suppliers, winemakers, and growers from the region, Bells at Killcare are a beacon of light for anyone looking for relaxation, inspiration, and organically-minded jubilation.

There are truly not many places like this one out there, so enjoy it when you can!

Book your stay and find out more about Bells at Killcare here.

4. Sleeping Lady Resort (USA)

 Warning! Counting stars may take all night!

Warning! Counting stars may take all night!

If you know anything about the Northwest of the US, then you’ll know what Sleeping Lady resort is all about. Nuzzled up off the Cascade Mountains on the banks of Icicle Creek in Washington State, the resort boasts a magnificent setting where the stars light up a blackened sky, and where dips in the local rock hot-pools are an absolute must!

 Indulge in a spot of swimming at one of the resorts heated, natural pools.

Indulge in a spot of swimming at one of the resorts heated, natural pools.

Discover a lodging which works alongside nature in a truly inspiring way.

Sleeping Lady Resort offers guests an unforgettable and unique experience, with gourmet food inspired by the produce from their garden, and a host of wonderful activities to embark on from hiking and biking to fishing, nature walks, horseback riding, white-water rafting, and wine tasting, along with a spot of skiing in the winter.

If ever there was a ‘getaway’, this is probably it!

 Food is grown, and  consumed  locally

Food is grown, and consumed locally

Book your stay and find out more about the Sleeping Lady Resort here.

5. Finca de Arrieta (Lanzarote – Spain)

 Finca de Arrieta - A resort for relaxation, exploration, and adventures

Finca de Arrieta – A resort for relaxation, exploration, and adventures

Picture yourself on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The warm breeze trickles over you, prompting a feeling of overall, constant relaxation.

Now put that together with a hotel so funky, even the most dedicated of holiday-seekers will need to take a step back to truly take it all in!

 Rest, relax, and recharge in one of the resorts eco-twin rooms.

Rest, relax, and recharge in one of the resorts eco-twin rooms.

Eco Village Finca de Arrieta is a once-in-a-lifetime-experience, off-the-grid resort, powered solely by solar and wind energy. There are seventeen Mongolian and traditional-style yurts and cottages, offering communal relaxation areas and adventures for kids all round.

 There’s plenty to do and plenty of kids adventures to be had

There’s plenty to do and plenty of kids adventures to be had

It is a truly inspirational project that takes environmental friendliness off on a ride to behold, bringing together rich comforts and concepts of luxury with a responsible and sustainable holiday experience.

Whether you’re an adventure-seeking traveller or couple, or a family or group of friends, get picked up in one of the resorts’ Toyota hybrid cars, and dropped off in a magical destination that will change the way you think of travel forever!

Book your stay and find out more about Finca De Arrieta here.


Think Green When You Travel

At Five-Leaf System we want to inspire travellers by finding environmentally friendly accommodation. With the same token, we support eco-accommodation that demonstrates positive environmental initiatives and show their commitment to lessen their environmental impact on the world.

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The Bite-Size Eco-Tourist.

 

Nobody wants to feel guilty when they go on a trip. And to those who might say “hey, you should be a more environmentally conscious traveller”, my first gut reaction is immediately defensive and to tell those people to leave me alone!

“I’m not a bad person. I do care about the horrible things that are going on with our planet. It’s just that I’ve been working like mad for the past 8 months and feel as though I deserve a vacation. I deserve to sit on a beach in an exotic place for a week and not think about my work!”

There is a real grave danger around the concept that environmentally friendly travel is playing on the guilt of regular, bog-standard, run-of-the-mill travellers around the world. Many of whom understand and realize that we should be doing our part to help keep the planet clean, “but gosh, at least let me have my week in peace without having to feel bad about that too, no?”

You know what? I getcha!

But what’s the answer then? Well, what if I was to tell you that it might be simpler than everyone is making it out to be?

It’s the same as almost everything else in life. Nothing – or very little – changes overnight.

I recently spoke to someone who said to me, “You know what, if the idea was simply drip-fed to me, instead of me feeling like everyone is shoving it down my throat all the time, I’d probably end up doing it. Instead, I end up feeling guilty about it and find myself pushing it to the back of my mind until someone else solves the problem. I end up actually not wanting to care”.

Now this guy wasn’t an idiot. On the contrary actually. He’s a very smart, highly intellectual and friendly person, working in a lead role at a major software company. He’s calm, collected, and we talked openly about the environment and the dangers we face in the future with no conflict whatsoever.

And then it occurred to me that for those who have been in the environmental business for some time, and for whom the answers have been staring at them in the face for so long, could it be possible that they’ve forgotten what it’s like for those that have not? Could it simply be about having to go back to basics and simply drip-feeding again?

There there could be a case for needing to take a step back, rebooting, and doing this slowly over time again. Habits, both good and bad, ingrain over time, and maybe it’s with this outlook that we should think about taking on the next challenge of environmentally friendly travel – or less harmful environmental impacts during travel – instead of having the concept of harming our planet thrown at travellers who simply wish to have a break from their hectic lives.

Do this, and the results are pretty clear; simple rejection.

To be honest, it is an awful lot to digest at times, so it’s probably not safe for our sanity if that’s the approach taken anyway.

So why don’t we start with those basics then? If I were to tell you that there were, say, a million and one ways that you could travel ‘greener’, chances are you’d run away from the conversation immediately! So let’s start small!

Next time you go on a trip, just do 2 things to help the environment when you go.

1. Take a refillable water bottle with you, making a point of not purchasing any plastic water bottles on your travels, and,

2. Take some kind of shopping bag, making a point of not using the plastic bags given to you at the local supermarkets or stores.

Last year, the Roya Statistical Society held its International Statistic of the Year award, and the winner was: “90.5%: the proportion of plastic waste that has never been recycled”.

Estimated at 6,300 million metric tonnes, it’s thought that around 12% of all plastic waste has been incinerated, with roughly 79% accumulating in either landfill or the natural environment (as sourced from Production, Use, and Fate of all plastics ever made by R Geyer, J R Jambeck and K Lavender Law).

Many states, areas, cities, and private organizations are now moving in the non-plastic and non-single-use plastic areas now, and by simply using your own shopping bag and taking your own refillable bottle of water, the benefits you are contributing to the planet and the area you are visiting are already immense.

It’s about chipping away and slowly getting into the habit of doing those little things that you didn’t do before. Things that will help the environment when you do travel, so that the next time you go on another trip, you can simply add to the habits you’ve already started doing by simply adding a couple more.

Kind of like, bite-sized ecotourism.

 

It is now widely accepted that our world is in quite a bit of trouble. Our oceans are filled with plastic, the ozone is rapidly depleting, and many animals live on the edge of extinction.

And the main reason for all of this?

Simply, and sadly. Us.

According to the UNEP (United Nations Environmental Program), travel-related activities account for up to 14 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions every year, and when you consider that there can be anything up to 8,000 planes flying through the skies at any given moment, you can’t help but wonder how on earth we’re supposed to help from down here on the ground.

When we travel, it’s important to understand that the minute you’ve packed your bags and got yourself out of the front door, you are invariably leaving a carbon footprint on your world. From turning the key in your car and driving to the airport, to getting out of the taxi, bus, or train at your destination, you are having some kind of impact on the planet.


Featured Green Hotels


But all is not lost. There are many ways to change the way we live so that we can help restore our planet to the way it’s supposed to be. Just thinking about the way we travel is a great start.

“So what am I supposed to do? Not leave the house?”

Nobody expects you to stay at home forever! That would be daft (although, embarking on that ever-cool, low-energy usage camping trip is always a good option)! There are, however, a million and one different ways you can travel in a more sustainable, responsible, and eco-friendly way. Eco travel, or ecotourism as it is often referred to, is the new way go, and whether it’s as a sustainable tourist or a business traveller, it should now be a top priority in order to save the environment.

“So what can I do to become an eco-traveller?”

Take for example the simple question of how much luggage you are carrying. If you’re going away on a business trip for 2 days, do you really need 3 of everything? The simple fact is, the heavier your bags are when you travel, the more power your transportation vehicle needs to expend to carry them. “But what if I spill something on my blouse during that dinner party tomorrow night?” It’s understandable that you want to be prepared, and maybe, if you do have a little accident, this is a problem you can think about solving when you are there.

Wouldn’t you feel better knowing that you’re at least doing your part is saving our planet? Of course we all understand  that for a plane, the difference between carrying 2 boxer shorts in your suitcase instead of 3 is minimal, but if we all pull together and start thinking the same way, that’s when the difference will start to be apparent.

And what about the place you are staying in? If you’re making the effort, that’s great, but what about the staff of the hotel or lodging you’re staying at? What are they doing to protect the environment? Make sure you plan ahead and look for a place, a location, and even an area that will not only do their part for the local economy, but look for those that are actively involved and aware of the impact they’re leaving. Does the hotel have a linen policy? Do they offer water-refills? Can they tell me what kind of green and ecofriendly activities are in the area?

Staying at a ‘green’ hotel, where the staff know what they’re doing, where the energy used is clean, and where all measures are taken to be ecofriendly is a huge step forward towards making sure you are being a good eco tourist.

Hotels have a new and big responsibility on what kind of emissions they let off, how much waste they are producing, and what kind of food they use at their lodging. Are they flying bottles of Coca-Cola over from another continent? Does the food they serve come in by plane? Are they giving their guests plastic bottles of water at dinner? A ‘green’ hotel will understand the impact these decisions are having on the people and the environment around them. Everything in a lodging that houses guests is on a large scale so it’s up to the owners to make sure they get it right.

Finally, nobody expects you to suddenly travel and become an angel. When you go on holiday, most of the time you want to rest, relax, or see things which you’d otherwise not see at home. Doing volunteer work is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you wanted to get involved, you should know that it would always be very appreciated by the local community.

If volunteering is not the holiday your’re looking for, then just be sure to minimise that impact you’re leaving in other ways. Avoid the use of power wherever you can. Hike, swim, take some surfing lessons, or even just lie by the pool. Hire a bicycle with your friends or family and go for a ride. Use your human power to do things instead of ‘dirty’ power produced.

And so it starts with you – and me of course, and then everyone else around us. Our family, our friends, our work colleagues, and anyone else whom we might come into contact with during our break and on our travels. And don’t be shy to call it out! If you see something that you know is not right, try to raise awareness to those around you so that we can all do our part to save our world.

Jason Pelham

The aim of the CROWDFUNDING campaign

“Leaf-Boa Go Green Lisboa”

is to raise awareness among travellers as to the choice of lodgings with green credentials and help tourist accommodation owners to improve their ecological and environmental performance

 

lisbon-portugal TNTMAGAZINE


Our focus in this campaign will be on reaching 6,100 lodgings in Lisbon

 

Objectives

to provide hotel and lodging owners with a practical guide on the main areas of interest for a hotel that is environmentally friendly

lighting

air conditioning

electrical equipment

water consumption

air quality inside the building

products and services relating to personal hygiene

waste management

training of staff 

awareness-raising

interaction with stakeholders and

ecological supplies and acquisition

At an average of 30 contacts per team member/per day with 4 people making 2,400 contacts over 3 months, this gives us

7,200 contacts

This figure is more than enough for one contact per hotel or other lodging, and means that there is flexibility in the workload taken on by members of the team.

Once we reach 6,100€ through crowd funding (the equivalent of 1€ = 1 lodging) we can start on the initiative.

That’s all you have to do:

donate

1€ = 1 lodging

here

www.boaboa.pt/en/leaf-boa

thank you

 

visit our site at www.fiveleafsystem.com

 

 

Maybe Paris will be it!

Kyoto, Rio, Copenhagen…. did not manage to create an effective international treaty on climate change mitigation – Paris, at Le Bourget site, from 30 November to 11 December 2015 might do just that.

And Mother Earth Day, on April 22, has been chosen every year, for the past 45 years, to remind us of that. This year

‘The power to change begins with you,’ says Ban, urging sustainable choices on Mother Earth Day

Five-Leaf System - Mother_Earth_Day 2015_UN photo

Image Source: http://www.un.org/

Today, people all over the globe are fighting, in their individual, small ways, for action from their leaders, asking them to recognize the catastrophic implications of climate change.

But alas! action really starts with us…. so perhaps, since most of earth’s population live in cities we should think about ways in which individuals should fight to keep cities green. Ask yourselves:

1. What has happened to all our local green areas….they are the lungs of the city! There are many ways in which you can help – look at all the abandoned and derelict areas in your city, find out who is responsible for them and suggest ways in which they can be greened…even if it starts by the place being cleaned up and some potted plants and a garden seat fixed in a corner…

2. Improving livelihoods and localities…. become a waste warrior! Kids can be great helping volunteers straighten up a place, making it inviting for people to come out of their flats and use the outdoors more. Being out means that you will be made to notice more your local environment and become aware of what is missing to make it worth sharing.

3. Put the forests back in town…. and water them from rooftop rainwater collection! Lots of city areas can be planted with trees, not only to provide shaded areas for people to walk under or cars to park, but it also helps to bring down air temperature which is usually higher in towns. Planting trees and creating green city areas will reduce CO2 levels in your neighbourhood.

4. Create a lake in the city….if you live in a place where it really rains, at least some part of the year! A lake is a great way to collect water and at the same time, it can bring together a community. Think of what could spring from that…bird watching, nature walks, community labour keeping it clean…and you could suggest to your local authorities that inviting photographers, ornithologists, horticulturists to come, help and advise them is easier than they think. People are always willing to help good causes.

5. Grow fresh air…indoor pollution is a silent killer… Sick Building Syndrome (Poor Indoor Air Quality – IAQ) may harbour VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds, PM (Particulate Matter), NO2 (Nitrogen Oxides, CO (Carbon Monoxide), O3 (Ozone) and SO2 (Sulpur Dioxide)… so use Green technology to purify indoor air.

Why not start by using Phytoremeditation … the use of plants to improve IAQ… the best you can get are:

  1. Areca Palm…. it will give you oxygen during the day….
  2. Money plant… more oxygen during the day…
  3. Mother-in-Law’s Tongue…. even more oxygen during the night….

Instant results:

  • Eye irritation – down 52%
  • Respiratory symptoms – down 34%
  • Headaches – down 12%
  • Lung impairment – down 24%
  • Asthma – down 9%
  • Productivity – up 15-20%! (through better health and fewer sick days…)

6. Turn your rooftops green and start an urban food farm up there…fresh, local and seasonal food available to the residents of your flat or local public building….all you need is some community spirit and there are lots of examples to learn from. Check out Germany and India and you’ll be astounded by their progress.

7. Keep your trash and …. compost it! You can have these earthenware or terracotta containers in your flat, verandah, apartment complex, restaurant, hotel, office, hospital, school…..it can start at home but grow to a neighbourhood scale easily enough and placed back into the system if you green an area or a rooftop locally.

8. Use 100 per cent organic, natural and non-toxic alternative to cleaning products…this is just a simple way to help keep the water in your region freer from pollutants and helping in your small way to keep mother earth happier.

9. Car-sharing is also fun….let’s pick up some friends on the way to school, work, theatre, cinema….create your own logos, stickers, badges and posters and advertise your ideas to other people who ride beside you….save on fumes, and your local air will thank you. People might start choosing to live in your area because of what you are doing.

10. And don’t forget to catch the sun….choose a system which does not need a battery bank….one that auto-synchronises the solar power directly with the plant grid…thus eliminating the danger of land and water contamination due to the spillage of acid while operating and maintaining the battery bank…. make sure your solar plant is eco-friendly.

Enough commandments for now… – let’s all go out and enjoy Mother Earth today!


Five-Leaf System - earth-lost-grass-dreamstime

Image Source: http://www.dreamstime.com

By Silvia Pelham

Product innovation was the name of the game at ECOBUILD 2015 in London this year, from the 3rd to the 5th of March.

Setting up low carbon energy infrastructure to all is in everyone’s mind but this aim is clouded by doubts on which long term plan should be used to manage risks from our planet’s changing climate.

The question “what exactly makes a country’s sustainable policy relevant?” was a concern at the outset of the exhibition, and although consensus was attained on many facets, it continued being expressed  in completely distinct ways by the 2000 exhibitors originating from nearly 90 countries.

On the overall picture, there were hundreds of speakers present, with themes ranging from discussions on the Kyoto protocol on energy and climate and narrowing down to construction and certification issues applied to single buildings and materials.

Decades of solar expertise revealed a simplified approach to the subject, with potential clients more eager and at ease with proposed solutions to their homes and finding the subject of good indoor air quality a new theme to contend with.

But what kept bringing curious folk to the front was the now well-known and most sought-after “Big Innovation Showcase” which this year, as in former times, displayed selected new products launched into the market and a wonder to all.

Traditional techniques walked hand-in-hand with the most modern digital technologies, bringing together revolutionary assembly expertise to materials presented raw or mechanically finished to indoor and outdoor solutions.

Nature and biodiversity also played a major role this year, focusing on its application to urban areas, and bringing the natural world – birds, bees, butterflied, bats and beetles! – to newly planned ecosystems which will enable man to create liveable cities in decades to come.

The Five-Leaf System was there and suggests you pencil in the event for next year!

 

Five-Leaf System - Ecobuild - London - March 2015

Image Source: http://www.ecobuild.co.uk/

 

By Silvia Pelham