Solar Power Lights Up Amazon Communities Fighting Dirty Energy

September 19, 2017 — Three indigenous communities on the front lines of the Amazon rainforest’s most emblematic rights and resources struggles now have solar energy generation capacity and internet hubs thanks to a partnership between Amazon Watch and Empowered By Light.

While Trump administration denies the impacts of climate change on the disastrous weather events in recent weeks, indigenous communities in the Amazon are leading us toward a brighter future as they embrace clean energy while defending the living forest, as demonstrated in the new video released today by Amazon Watch and Credo Mobile.

“These communities are true climate leaders,” said Leila Salazar-López, Executive Director at Amazon Watch. “Lighting the way for our climate and our forests, these indigenous earth defenders know that the solution to climate change must include stopping the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.”

Solar micro-systems and radio communications infrastructure now power five Sápara communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon as they resist oil drilling on their lands; two Munduruku communities in the Brazilian Amazon as they demand legal recognition and protection for their territory; and four U’wa communities in the Colombian cloud forests as they defend their sacred sites. More installations are planned for late 2017 and 2018.

The astoundingly biodiversity of the Amazon is home to hundreds of distinct indigenous peoples whose futures are threatened by this resurgent wave of resource exploitation, often living in remote areas where they are vulnerable to violent repression. The solar power and communications systems being installed are critical for these communities to assure their safety and communicate their stories as they defend their traditional practices and territories. In the past, protecting themselves and their territories has meant using polluting and unreliable diesel and kerosene generators, with fuel being brought in from the outside at significant expense.

Photo credit: Amazon Watch

The solar and communications equipment allow these remote communities to communicate internally to improve their safety and engage in cross-community dialogue; tell their own story to the broader world directly through new communications technology and training, subsequently further increasing their visibility and safety; and have access to reliable, clean energy for other community needs without relying on dirty energy sources like kerosene or diesel.

“We hope the introduction of clean, renewable solar power will not only help these communities protect the Amazon rainforest, which is critical for climate stability, but that it will demonstrate to their governments that similar remote or off-grid communities can leapfrog fossil fuels,” said Moira Hanes, co-founder of Empowered by Light.

Collaborative project planning, along with maintenance and communications trainings, are integral parts of all of these projects in order to maximize both system longevity and impact. These projects, all of which were specifically requested by the communities, provide critical external and internal communications capacity, thereby allowing communities to increase both their personal safety and visibility for their emblematic campaigns.

For more information:

Amazon Watch: www.amazonwatch.org/solar
Empowered By Light: www.empoweredbylight.org

Protect Our Winters Heads to Washington D.C. with Professional Athletes and Outdoor Industry Leaders to Discuss Bipartisan Climate Solutions

BOULDER, CO— On September 13, 2017, Protect Our Winters (POW) will convene in Washington D.C. with professional athletes and outdoor industry leaders to discuss bipartisan solutions to climate change. Athletes in attendance will include: Founder of Protect Our Winters and Jones Snowboards, Jeremy Jones, Olympians Gretchen Bleiler, Alex Deibold, and Kaitlyn Farrington; skiers Julian Carr, Angel Collinson, Hadley Hammer, and Michelle Parker; snowboarders Josh Dirksen and Forrest Shearer; fly fisherman Hilary Hutcheson; climber Matt Segal; and Polar explorer Eric Larsen. In addition, representatives from Aspen Skiing Company, Burton, Fishpond, Keen, Orvis, and the California Ski Industry Association will be in attendance. 

Throughout the day attendees will meet with the following offices: Congressman McClintock (R, CA-04), Congresswoman Mia Love (R, UT-04), Congressman Tipton (R, CO-03), Congressman Walden (R, OR-02), Congressman Welch (D, VT At Large), Senator Daines (R-MT), Senator Gardener (R-CO), and Senator Murkowski (R-AK). 

“For Burton Snowboards, warming winters are a business bottom line issue. We are excited to head to Washington with Protect Our Winters to meet with lawmakers to discuss how we can address climate change’s impacts on the $887 billion-dollar outdoor recreation economy,” said Donna Carpenter, CEO of Burton Snowboards.

Protect Our Winters Heads to Washington D.C. with Professional Athletes and Outdoor Industry Leaders to Discuss Bipartisan Climate Solutions
In addition to one-on-one meetings with members of Congress, the group is excited to attend a hearing held by the bipartisan House Climate Solutions Caucus on climate change’s impacts on tourism and outdoor recreation. The Caucus is a group of U.S. Representatives with a mission to educate members on economically viable options to reduce climate risk and to explore bipartisan policy options that address the impacts, causes, and challenges of our changing climate. Membership is kept even between Democrats and Republicans; the Caucus currently boasts 52 members. Pro fisher Hilary Hutcheson, Olympic snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler, and VP of sustainability at Aspen Skiing Company Auden Schendler will testify at this hearing.

“As a professional snowboarder, it’s true that my idea of a good time isn’t necessarily putting on a suit and heading to Capitol Hill, but I am energized by the rapid growth of the Bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus,” said Jeremy Jones, Founder of Protect Our Winters and Jones Snowboards. “We look forward to meeting with the Caucus and talking solutions.”

Source: Protect Our Winters www.protectourwinters.org

Ideal Destinations for Eco-Conscious Adventurers

Millennials are always keen for green, but Earth Month gives added impetus for travelers to put their money where their mouth is and choose accommodations that actively embrace sustainability. With that in mind, here’s a sampling of lodging choices in top city and resort destinations that are perfect for an eco-conscious adventure:

 

In sync with the Adirondacks. From the felled trees used in its construction (all found on property) to its reuse of dying trees as mulch and in landscaping, just in timber Lake Placid’s Whiteface Lodge has demonstrated its environmental cred. The award-winning, all-suite resort is tucked into the High Peaks of Lake Placid, surrounded by the six-million-acre Adirondack Park, the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous U.S. 

In sync with the Adirondacks. From the felled trees used in its construction (all found on property) to its reuse of dying trees as mulch and in landscaping, just in timber Lake Placid’s Whiteface Lodge has demonstrated its environmental cred. The award-winning, all-suite resort is tucked into the High Peaks of Lake Placid, surrounded by the six-million-acre Adirondack Park, the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous U.S. Among the Lodge’s other green measures: eliminating 43,000 water bottles each year by installing water filters on kitchen faucets and filling bedside carafes with filtered water; saving 1,200 gallons of water daily with laundry measures; installing LED lights to save $95,627 over the next 15 years; and recycling soap for distribution to families in need. A partnership with Tesla Motors provides four stations that fully charge vehicles overnight.
Source: Whiteface Lodge

Among the Lodge’s other green measures: eliminating 43,000 water bottles each year by installing water filters on kitchen faucets and filling bedside carafes with filtered water; saving 1,200 gallons of water daily with laundry measures; installing LED lights to save $95,627 over the next 15 years; and recycling soap for distribution to families in need. A partnership with Tesla Motors provides four stations that fully charge vehicles overnight. 

· Green from the ground up at Element Boston Seaport. Located in Boston’s thriving Seaport District, Element Boston Seaport strives to give back to the Earth with sustainable design and amenities. Among the more innovative features: a stationary kinetic bike in the fitness center that challenges guests to power their personal electronics by putting pedal to the metal. Other eco-features include recycled tire flooring, bathroom amenity dispensers and filtered tap water to cut down on plastic waste, energy-efficient kitchen appliances, dual-flush toilets, in-room recycling bins, electric vehicle charging stations, and a complimentary Bikes-to-Borrow program that encourages guests to explore Boston without their vehicle.
Source: Element Boston

· 

Green from the ground up at Element Boston Seaport. Located in Boston’s thriving Seaport District, Element Boston Seaport strives to give back to the Earth with sustainable design and amenities. Among the more innovative features: a stationary kinetic bike in the fitness center that challenges guests to power their personal electronics by putting pedal to the metal. Other eco-features include recycled tire flooring, bathroom amenity dispensers and filtered tap water to cut down on plastic waste, energy-efficient kitchen appliances, dual-flush toilets, in-room recycling bins, electric vehicle charging stations, and a complimentary Bikes-to-Borrow program that encourages guests to explore Boston without their vehicle. 

· Loggerhead love at Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa

. With the world’s third largest barrier reef just offshore, this all-suite resort on Florida’s Gold Coast is an eco-adventure destination in itself. Besides energy-saving measures on property (like power- and water-conserving appliances in suites and a water- and energy-saving linens program) the Palm Beach Marriott has focused its attention on protecting Florida’s turtle population. Three different resort initiatives benefit the nearby Loggerhead Marine Life Center. They include:

o Plush turtles in each suite available for purchase, with a percentage of sales going to the center.

o “For the Love of the Si Turtles” program at the award-winning SiSpa, donating 10 percent of sales from a 50-minute Signature Massage or Signature Facial.

o A Little Loggerhead overnight package featuring a private tour of the Loggerhead Marine Life Center, participation in its Adopt a Sea Turtle program, and a percentage of package proceeds donated to the center. 

Source: Sanctuary on the Camelback
Source: Sanctuary on the Camelback
 

A Sanctuary for monarchs and more. One of Scottsdale, Arizona’s leading resorts, Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa works to preserve its surrounding desert environment with measures that include the use of low-flow toilets throughout the property, drought-tolerant plants, organic cleaning products and services, and a staff incentive program to encourage positive environmental practices. The resort’s in-room amenities, created exclusively for Sanctuary by Red Flower, are organic, cruelty-free, and made of sustainably sourced ingredients. 

In 2015, the resort also became a certified monarch butterfly habitat as a result of the increase in monarch butterflies in the Scottsdale area. 

Plant for the Planet at Sofitel New York. Guests of this midtown Manhattan luxury hotel can rest easy knowing that their stay helps small-scale Vermont farmers protect watershed health through tree plantings, thanks to Accor World Wide’s Plant for the Planet initiative. The hotel donates 50% of the utility and chemical savings from its guest room linen re-use program to the program. In addition, Sofitel New York estimates 600,000 gallons in annual water savings from its new, high-efficiency toilets and has reduced its daily waste by 44 percent with the installation of an innovative ORCA Digestive Machine that turns organic material into waste water, reducing landfill impact. 

Enjoy this view from 800 feet above sea level. The huckleberry-filled hill was enjoyed by both Robert Louis Stevenson and John Steinbeck.
Enjoy this view from 800 feet above sea level. The huckleberry-filled hill was enjoyed by both Robert Louis Stevenson and John Steinbeck.
 

Green on and off the course at Pebble Beach. The world-renowned golf courses of Pebble Beach Resorts are not only home to some of the game’s most legendary tournaments, they are eco gems as well. Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, and The Links at Spanish Bay are Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries, earning Pebble Beach a Green Resort Award from Golf Magazine and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am a Gold Certification for sustainable golf tournaments from the Council for Responsible Sport. Most recently, Pebble Beach Resorts won the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) 2017 Sustainability Award for Resource Efficiency, highlighting its water reclamation project and solar-powered golf maintenance facility. Off the course, the company takes seriously its role as an environmental steward of the Del Monte Forest and Monterey County coastline, sustainably managing its 5,300 acres for the enjoyment of future generations.

Maintained by a full-time staff of ecology, forestry, and native plant nursery workers, its nursery is capable of growing more than 50,000 native plants a year for revegetation and reforestation projects. Extensive retrofits and upgrades in recent years have reduced the resorts’ energy usage by 16% — saving 1.9 million pounds of carbon emissions.

Inviting sustainability home. The eco-travel trend and booming vacation home rental market converge in a pair of guilt-free retreats within InvitedHome’s exceptional luxury portfolio. The first of these two environmental all-stars, Upper East Retreat (Santa Barbara, California) has earned design awards for its redevelopment via deconstruction – salvaging as many pieces as possible from the original structure, and innovative features like operable trellis louvers that control light and air flow. Up to eight travelers can enjoy the four-bedroom home, which is within walking distance of the historic Santa Barbara Mission. White Cap Lodge (Breckenridge, Colorado) is a ski-in, ski-out gem that has been singled out with a “Best Sustainability” award by the Verdigris Group. Located in the sought-after Warriors Mark area, it features four bedrooms sleeping nine guests and modern amenities like a gourmet kitchen, outdoor hot tub, cozy gas fireplace, and sweeping views from every balcony.

How to Select a Green Lodge when Traveling, Part 3

When looking at websites before booking any one vacation facility, what criteria should you take special notice of?

The best places will highlight their best practices. These may include some or all of the following:

• a mission statement (their purpose and goals)

• social responsibility statements (to their local community)

• use of renewable energy sources

• how waste is disposed of or recycled

• reliance on locally sourced, often organically grown, foods and beverages


• support of permaculture

• on-site gardens, rainwater collection

• local or recycled materials used in building the facility

• use of water-sparing faucets, showers, and toilets

• use of power-sparing lighting fixtures and appliances

• limited use of throw-away paper or plastics

• use of biodegradable cleaning products

• emphasis on hosting individuals or small groups

• offers guided walks and hikes to explore and explain about the local ecosystems and wild animals and birds

• horseback or donkey riding excursions (or by camel depending on where in the world you are)

• participation in carbon-offset projects such as tree planting

• participation in local clean-up projects, watershed rehabilitation, pollinator greenways, etc.

Hiking and camping in the backcountry of the state of Alaska is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Click here to read more from the perspective of an experienced guide – https://www.ecotourlinq.com/blog/spotlight-interview-with-alaska-alpine-adventures

Coming up in Part 4 – A Sampling of Destinations and Green Places to Stay

Guest Writer Bio: Deborah Regen is the publisher of a website directory and blog dedicated to consumer information about ecotourism and sustainable travel. She also sends out a free monthly e-newsletter to subscribers including notices of giveaways. Site URL = https://www.EcoTourLinQ.com and her email = admin@ecotourlinq.com

Paper Is One of The Most Recycled Products in The World

We do use a lot of paper but at least we seem to be moving in the right direction as regards recycling it. In the last 20 years or so, the recovery rate for paper has almost doubled. This is great to see but of course there is still room for improvement. This infographic from Colourfast takes you through the progress we are making but also offers advice on how we can further improve.

Saving paper saves more than trees with one ton of recycled paper incredibly saving 60,000 gallons of water. There are some misconceptions about what can and can’t be recycled. For example, some people believe that you need to remove staples, paper clips etc. before you recycle but remember that modern recycling procedures are generally designed to do this for you. Find out more in the infographic.