Tag Archive: environment

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



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


air conditioning

electrical equipment

water consumption

air quality inside the building

products and services relating to personal hygiene

waste management

training of staff 


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:


1€ = 1 lodging



thank you


visit our site at www.fiveleafsystem.com




Reethi Beach, a Five-Leaf System member, a jewel dropped in the Indian Ocean, has been producing freshwater from the resort’s desalination plant and rain-harvesting for the last decade.


A drop in the ocean


Image source: reethibeach.com

Reethi Beach is located on a very small Island in Baa Atoll, and is part of three natural atolls comprising 75 islands, only 13 inhabited. The reefs of this atoll are in pristine condition and this resort has made sure that they will always be kept this way.

Installing a desalination plant was only one of many measures its management saw fit to transform this place into an eco-resort in a location where often the slightest activity may induce catastrophic environmental results and tip the natural balance of the land.

Apart from getting local people in neighbouring islands to tend herb and vegetable gardens and produce more fruit for the resort, the management has also strived to reduce waste by recycling all that is possible and adopting new measures to minimize its impact.

Management changed cocktail plastic straws for straw, all plastic bags were stopped in outlets and rooms, guest toiletries are now re-fillable and drinking water bottled in re-usable glass bottles, thus saving up to 400 disposable plastic ones daily.

Re-cycling of treated water from the sewage treatment plant is used for irrigation purposes and underground tanks of nearly 200 ton capacity provide a welcome for rainwater.

By installing an energy recovery system at the desalination plant almost 10 years ago, it doubled its output with a marginal increase in consumption.

And using the hot water from the heat exchange cycle and a dry-room in the laundry instead of big commercial dryers has also meant energy savings all around.

A good example for us all.

By Silvia Pelham

It was nearly 20 years ago that many water saving gaskets appeared in significant numbers in the USA[1].

This is especially relevant to hotel management since their buildings have all sleeping accommodation normally coupled with a bathroom and water consumption is left to individual users’ whims.

Most guests forget that water conservation practices which are carried out as a matter of course at home, where the water bill is their responsibility, should be continued at their hotel stay.

Since these rules seem to be promptly discarded by guests the moment they step into a hotel shower, hotel managers should be prepared to take action to keep business costs down and help the environment.

What can be done is to look at all appliances and study all areas where guests are likely to use water and start with these, since staff can easily be trained to save in the rest of the building.

But not all water loss is to be tagged to the guest, since hotel managers have plenty of choice to cut down water consumption if they start to maintain their hotels as if they were their home.

A drop of water leaking 24/7 adds up to nearly a 60 litre per day loss – equivalent to a dozen 5 litre water cans you could be serving guests – and considered to be responsible for 14% of everyone’s water footprint for indoor use.

Leaks are sometimes difficult to detect – especially those outdoors – and managers are increasingly concerned enough to compare monthly water consumption averages so as to detect unusual increase in spending on like-like situations.

And again this can be difficult due to monthly fluctuation with guest type and numbers or the time of the year when readings occur.

Managers can start outdoors by tapping on to the main water reservoir and finish indoors checking their taps or faucets – with valves which provide water intake to pipes and assure control over water flow –and check if they still hold enough power to impede water leaking when taps are closed on kitchen and sinks, showers and bath-tubs.

There are four types of taps with work by:

  • compression – when one turns the tap, the valve stem is compressed against the inlet;

   Dripping can be bad 1

Image source: home.howstuffworks.com

  • cartridge – when the perforated cartridge made of metal or plastic inserts rotates;

Dripping can be bad 2

Image source: visual.merriam-webster.com

  • ball-valve – it also rotates but has the shape of a ball and is placed on top of the tap;

Dripping can be bad 3

Image source: wetheadmedia.com

  • disk – made of two ceramic disks fitting tightly together.

 Dripping can be bad 4

Image source: http://www.hometips.com/how-it-works/ceramic-disc-faucets.html

The sealing of these taps is of paramount importance since water seeps easily along metal and plastic features and the maintenance of rubber washers should be checked regularly at the end of threaded stems and gaskets re-fitted to inlets.


Video Source: www.ehow.com presented by Chris Wade.

By Silvia Pelham

[1] USA Federal Energy Management Programme – federally mandated water conservation guidelines were applied from January 1, 1994.

We should start by wasting less and this means changing our attitude towards finding coordinated solutions in our societies.

Essential changes in the way supply-chain operations are carried over are at the heart of the problem, followed by giving incentives to local markets and increasing public awareness to adjustments made to change consumer behaviour.

There may be local schemes already. If not, here are a few:

–       Local authorities should set themselves targets for food waste prevention information campaigns at local schools and implement measures in their own operations such as starting a municipal composting programme.

–       Local markets and businesses should look at their perishables, try to understand and analyse the extent of their own waste patterns and start adopting best practices to lead not only to customer satisfaction but also savings.

–       At the farms, food loss falls into two categories:

  • food that is never harvested, and
  • food that is lost between harvest and sale.

–       There are many reasons why produce may not be harvested. It can be due to disease, pests, or weather. But it can also be caused by man, with food safety scares often unfounded that create a negative notion on consumers and decreased demand.

–       It can be also due to labour shortages or workers trained to only pick selectively and fields may be left with significant amounts of food left behind. This is when communities could come together and organize the means to pick what is left behind, using association at school and other levels.

California gives farmers a tax credit for donation of their excess produce to food banks, just as do Arizona, Oregon, and Colorado.[1]

But the primary reason for fresh food losses comes with culling.[2] These post-harvest losses are considerable (sometimes up to 50% of production) but the items are perfectly edible. Those which are off-grade[3] could be processed.

In order to make this viable the processing plants should be built as close as possible to the source to save on transport costs and have the capacity to handle this excess produce, otherwise more waste will occur.

Off-grade produce also goes to feed animals, and although loss through improper storage and handling are negligible these days, much fresh produce can go to waste if a buyer cannot be found on time.

Processing facilities can also generate food waste by technical malfunction but there is great potential at this stage from trimmings which can be used from scrap to new by-products by re-cycling.

Local businesses such as hotels and restaurants should create partnerships with local farmers to use up quickly and effectively all product which is useful to them and programmes to re-educate staff behaviour and alter kitchen culture could contribute to minimize food waste.

Lisbon wants to be one of the first cities in the world to go fight food waste. With project Lisbon 100%, Re-Food wants to serve over 15,000 meals per day from leftovers from restaurants and hotels. They are looking for volunteers and restaurants as partners.

Source: http://www.re-food.org/

Food is the largest part of municipal solid waste to go to landfills nowadays where it eventually gets converted into methane, twenty-fold more powerful in global warming terms than carbon dioxide.

By Silvia Pelham

[2] Culling is the process of selection of surplus animals from an animal population and in this content means the removal of unwanted products based on their quality or appearance, including size, shape, colour, weight, blemish level and Brix (a measure of sugar content).

[3] Without sufficient quality to be sold in major markets.

It is from the Netherlands that solutions are coming to deal with the plastic which we throw away everyday. This has accumulated in the Pacific and elsewhere as islands in the middle of an area called “The Doldrums”.[1]

Charles Moore[2] came upon these islands made of plastic debris in 1997 when he was returning home from a transpacific race and called attention to this fact with his article “Trashed: Across the Pacific Ocean, Plastics, Plastics Everywhere”.[3]

These “doldrums” are areas where there is little wind and anything that floats finally finds its way there – bottles, fishing wires, nets and bags.  There are five similar areas around the planet with these characteristics and, they are now the most contaminated in the world.

About 250 billion pounds (lbs) of plastic pellets are produced for the manufacture of plastic products every year and the consumer has to start consciously to look for alternative products to use in their daily lives.

WHIM, a Dutch architectural firm has designed a floating island for the North Pacific Gyre and would be totally built in plastic. The idea is to recycle the plastic on site and thus avoid shipment of materials across the ocean. It will be an eco-friendly island housing 500,000 people.

Recycled island_Pacific

Source: http://www.whim.nl

Apart from the urban areas, the island will have beaches, agriculture and mainly seaweed cultivation. The project covering 10,000 square Kms is being funded with a grant from the Netherlands Architecture Fund and will be completed in 2020.

The island will use 97 million pounds of floating plastic found in the area, be powered by wave and solar energy, with seaweed used as bio fuel in homes and fertilizer in the fields. The firm has also conceived a hollow plastic brick which will be used as the base for the construction.

The new community will be self-sufficient and could serve as a model to many more where plastic has accumulated on the five oceans, also helping to create more habitable land for all. The fact that it is between San Francisco and Hawaii will also help in bringing tourists who are looking for a sunny vacation.

From the Netherlands as well comes another idea to clean up this area of the world by literally removing all plastic debris by suction. A monumental hoover.

The idea came from a 19 year-old-student[4] who in 2011 handed in his final paper at the local secondary school with his solution to saving the world from the accumulated debris in the five gyres.

The research focused on plastic and plankton separation, the depth of plastic within the top layer and other depth measurement devices and won the Best Technical Design at the Delft University of Technology in 2012.

The results of his studies were brought to the world through TEDxDelft 2012[5]. At iSea Clash of The Concepts, The Ocean Cleanup project was awarded second prize by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment in 2013.

The idea for a platform-shaped manta came to him while he was underwater diving in the Azores sea.

Source: Manta – The Ocean Cleanup Project – Boyan Slat

The idea is to build 24 Manta platforms fixed to the sea bed and through filtering let the ocean currents do the work. The plastic collected would be recycled and… re-sold, a business predicted to fetch 500 million dollars.

What Charles Moore had predicted 15 years ago as 79,000 years to clean up the oceans of plastic debris has been narrowed down to 5 by Boyan Slat’s invention, to clear up the Pacific plastic island, now the size of 6 countries the size of France.

But prevention should be the order of the day and let’s celebrate Environment Day remembering this year’s motto


By Silvia Pelham

[2] Captain of the Oceanographic Research Vessel Alguita.  http://www.algalita.org

Eco Adventures – Barbados


Our operations began this millennium, with Eco Adventures offering outdoor recreational activities for children and adults.

Eco Adventures was born out of our owners’ fascination with the natural environment, Barbados’ heritage, and a desire to share these Barbadian treasures. It’s amazing how this island was formed, and how Barbadians lived long ago, and why there are many scores of Barbadian centenarians.

Our tour guide Victor Cooke with the assistance of his wife Melva share with tour participants Barbados’ flora, fauna history, culture and geology. Regarding the local flora we explain their various applications; for the fauna, their role in the eco system’s balance is explained in terms of contributing to a healthy environment (from the ants, to millipedes, bats, birds and more).

Barbados’ unique geology is one that is shared in our easy to understand “Geology 101”, this is when the significance of the island’s coral stone cap or karst (which covers 85% of the island) and it’s over 482 kilometers of ravines is shared, especially as they relate to Barbados’ water supply and pollution.

Included in our geology story is also the fragile nature of the 15% of the island, which is labeled the Scotland District or Ancestral Barbados to geologists, in terms of how it must be treated as regards building construction, waste water, animal grazing and certain recreational activities.

The island’s transformation from the settlement of the English in 1627 to the first thirty five years is a remarkable story of land subjugation and environmental irreversibility; we explain its effects and current laws regarding trees.

In our bid to encourage Barbadians we offer moonlight camp out events that Barbados by night and the dawning of a new day may also be appreciated. Non campers are not left out as we offer moonlight walks and sunrise hikes.

On one of our popular trails participants experience how a community of naturalists live and interface with their environment, utilizing the natural spring water for all their needs.

This trail led by Victor Cooke is used annually by a local school to expose their students to the water cycle.

Victor is a member and volunteer hike leader for the Barbados National Trust’s (BNT) popular Hike Barbados Sunday hikes. The BNT’s mandate is to preserve Barbados’ natural and build heritage. The Barbados Museum & Historical Society of which Victor is a member shares a similar mandate.


World Environment Day 2013 1

Source: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/wed

World environment day (WED) – or ECO DAY – can be celebrated in many ways in 2013.

The 5th of June was used by the United Nations to bring to the fore global awareness on environmental issues and also help people around the world take positive action.

It came about 40 years ago,[1] and it comes around in a different city with a different theme each year during the week of the 5th of June. The host city for 2013 is Portland, Oregon.[2]

It is celebrated in spring in the northern hemisphere and in autumn in the southern hemisphere.


It is a reminder of the 1.3 billion tonnes of food wasted or lost worldwide[3] – 1/3 of global food production – when one in seven people in the world go hungry and over 20,000 children under the age of five die daily from hunger.

Food waste represents an enormous drain on natural resources and has negative environmental impact.

In January 2012, the European Parliament adopted a resolution to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2020 and designated 2014 as the “European year against food waste.”[4]

Think.Eat.Save should start at home, where each family should select food consciously by buying food produced locally, managing it wisely so as to reduce waste, use fresh food as opposed to canned or frozen food and think creatively of how to serve leftovers.

Think.Eat.Save should grow to your neighbourhood suggesting what collective decisions can be made to reduce distribution costs and creating incentives for local daily or weekly markets to be chosen over supermarkets.

Think.Eat.Save should grow to the industry by making the food production chain more efficient, with increased regular equipment maintenance so as to reduce time and cost of all production processes, thus saving on natural resources.

Think.Eat.Save should grow to bring awareness to the world of food production impact which:

  • occupies already ¼ of our habitable land;
  • consumes  ¾ of the world’s available fresh water;
  • has resulted in 80% of deforestation worldwide;
  • and produces 30% of greenhouse gas emissions.

World Environment Day 2013 2


Source: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/wed

By Silvia Pelham

[1] It was first thought of at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (5th June- 16th June 1972) and implemented a year later – http://www.un.org/en/events.

[2] The City of Portland, Oregon, World Environment Day, June 5, 2013 –http://www.portlandoregon.gov/wed/61676

[3] “The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012” – UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) –http://www.fao.org/publications/sofi/en.

[4] Parliament Calls for Urgent Measures to Ban Food Waste in the E.U.,” European Parliament News, January 19, 2012, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/pressroom/content/20120118IPR35648/html/Parliament-calls-for-urgent-measures-to-halve-food-wastage-in-the-EU.

Maya Ubud A

Maya Ubud, a Five-Leaf System member in Bali, nestled between the Petanu River valley and the verdant rice fields of Peliatan, has used landscaping as an award winning trampoline to fame.

The Five-Leaf System award was the 44th award this resort and spa has collected in the last decade, and much of its charm and success come from the way its management has cared for the environment – and this has best been reflected in their grounds.

Maya Ubud has managed to protect and further enhance the locale’s natural beauty by modelling the existing land lines to take in their single cabins housing over 100 rooms and still make guests feel that privacy and seclusion are paramount.

Only 20% of the resort’s 10 hectares of land area were built on for accommodation.

Changes in level were turned into great theatrical effect and three essential landscaping elements – water, plants and movement – were brought together in novel ways, allying beauty, safety and comfort to the enjoyment of its guests.


Within a period of three years, over three hectares of land in the river valley were planted with 140 indigenous trees and shrubs, furthering the environmental protection of Bali.

Their management use recycling of waste water from the sewage treatment plant for irrigation water; bio-degradable products and cleaning supplies in laundry, stewarding and housekeeping; and they dispose of all corrosive materials through authorized collection agencies.

They also use energy efficient bulbs, including LED; separate rubbish into food waste, paper, plastic and tin foil; encourage email to distribute memos and other information for internal distribution thus reducing paper usage; and select environmentally friendly suppliers and products.

Photos in this article are from Maya Ubud’s official site and for more information on their environmental policy, see  “Sustainability Management Plan” at  http://www.mayaubud.com/sites/default/files/Sustainability.pdf

By Silvia Pelham

A single plant can be enough to give you a restful sleep. It’s called Andrea and was invented three years ago.  With a Best Invention Award, popular Science in the USA and a permanent collection exhibit of Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, you can now take one home with you.

Manmade modern materials used in interior decorating can emanate obnoxious substances, which, invisible to our sight, hang in the air we breathe in our rooms.

So tells us NASA, upon conferring a high level of toxic volatile compounds in astronauts’ body tissues, resulting from close contact with the plastic, fibreglass, insulating materials and fire retardants that space crafts are built of.

But so are our hotel rooms!

Mathieu LeHanneur has pictured these toxic compounds in his video as moving, menacing waves which live within the four walls of our room and to top it all, has them joined by others of similar ilk, pouring in from the polluted external city air through our opened windows.

With David Edwards from Harvard University, Mathieu devised Andrea, a living air filter made of three elements – a plant, a container and a ventilator – with a filter which allows a one-pot plant to produce enough oxygen in the window sill in your bedroom.


Source: http://www.mathieulehanneur.fr

Andrea’s leaves and roots produce enough oxygen which gets poured in and circulated into the room while fiercely fighting whatever hangs there, thus granting you a good night’s sleep…

By Silvia Pelham

Green Lodge

Green Lodge pic

Sasaab Lodge – Samburu, a Five-Leaf System member, won the Ecotourism Partnership of the Year Award 2012, sponsored by the Federation of Community Organizations, at the Eco-Warrior Awards in Kenya. Congratulations!

The Eco-Warrior Awards recognize efforts, innovations and exceptional achievements for promoting responsible tourism and enhancing tourism sustainability which directly conserves the natural environment linked to local communities through mutually beneficial and equitable partnerships.

Nature conservation through community development from tourism is the essence of ecotourism.

Guests at Sasaab make a direct contribution by their stay towards helping six hundred families of the Ngutuk-Ongiron Group Ranch.

Community projects include schools in the Westgate Area with the provision of furniture, art supplies and over two hundred school text books supplied.

The women in the Westgate Community Conservancy live in a traditional hierarchical structure without any significant employment and Sasaab has helped to form three women’s groups to make artefacts which are used in the lodge and sold in the gift shop.

Sasaab also works with the Westgate Community health care workers planning and participating in community health programmes.

Lion conservation has become a major concern and research is being carried out to minimise its disappearance.

Sasaab Lodge generates hot water using solar panels and uses energy conserving light bulbs and well as growing its own vegetables.

Apart from winning the Ecotourism Partnership of the Year Award 2012, Sasaab was also awarded a gold Eco-Rating last June. This is a prestigious award in Kenya, and only one of 6 lodges in the country to have reached this level.

Green Lodge

By Silvia Pelham

Image source: Sasaab Lodge