Archive for the Sustainable Living Category

Rapha Valley, your health and wellness destiny

Posted in Agri Tourism, Ecotourism, Environment, Green Hotels, Negros Occidental, Sustainable Living, Travel with tags , , , , , , on January 19, 2014 by Sustainability Guru

Rapha Valley Farm, Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental

Step back to nature and wellness country in Rapha Valley. Located amidst the unspoiled (well, almost) verdant highlands of Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB) in Philippine’s southern province of Negros Occidental, but for some spatter of garish, contrasting houses, visit this organic farm and return home a health and fitness buff! After a few hours of organic plants & garden orientation,  wholesome food talk and tasting with no less than its owners, medical doctor-turned-organic chef health guru, Dr. Albert Jo and wife Marilou (a Pharmacy Degree holder herself) regaling you with stories on toxic, GMO filled crappy cooking, you will swear off all processed and artificially enhanced supermarket and fast food!

 Getting there.It is a smooth, well-paved countryside, 75-minute drive from Bacolod City up to Barangay Kaliskis,  DSB Highway. A few meters past KM 48, you have to turn to an “off-road” drive (about two kilometers) as organic farms should be located away from the main road. Then after some almost interminable minutes wondering if you’ll ever get there, you reach the gate to paradise on this part of the planet!

 Rapha Valley Welcome

Organic Welcome. You will be met with hearty reception by shorts-and- apron clad waiters, with a fresh organic welcome drink along with Citronella infused ice-cold towels. Well thought out detail, especially after a long drive and to ward off mosquitoes. Sit back and soak in the natural beauty and greenery, as you will be offered cordial snacks of Black Rice Cakes with native and organic dips.

 Dr. Albert Jo, Proprietor, Health & Wellness Guru

Crops and herbs. Dr. Jo starts by giving a pre-farm tour talk on the basics of healthy eating as opposed to toxic, GMO-filled and artificially enhanced everyday food we buy from supermarkets, fast food and convenience stores. It was shocking to know that some foods that we eat can be downright horrifyingly deadly. Then we proceed with the personalized tour by Dr. Jo himself, first going down the valley as he points out the different crops, herbs and vegetables that can be grown at such an elevation. He shows, cuts some pieces and lets you smell or taste the different flowers, herbs and crops. Most important of all he explains the nutritional and/or medicinal value of each plant.

Rapha Valley Healthy Cuisine 

The Cuisine is medicine.  As your appetite is whetted up again with all the uphill and downhill exercise, you will be ready to relish the food served directly from their vast garden. This is no pig-out for typical freeloading foodies. This is a real deal, hale and hearty, mostly vegetarian, honey-sweetened (sugar free), low salt, low fat (even fat free) and no MSG gastronomy. At its healthiest & most original locavorism.   One of its culinary “open” secret is that they are cooked in clay pots, the old fashioned way, slow and correctly prepared. Another attention to detail is their menu system for first time visitors and fare choices for second or multi-visiting guests! Scrumptious pesco vegan and vegan choices include Herbs & Flowers Salad with choice of Dressing. We’ll reserve the rest of the gastronomy fare for you to discover!

Rapha Valley Casita 

Your casita in the Valley. Rapha Valley now boasts of simple cottages for an overnight or extended getaway from the city. Log cabin or country style casitas, landscaped for serenity and solitude, your comfy abode overlooks the southern country side and possibly even Guimaras Island across which can be seen on a clear day. The casitas offers you a relaxing space for retreat and repose atop the hinterlands of haciendas and sugarcane plantations!

RaphaValley DSB Repose 

Word of MouthRapha Valley is fast gaining popularity, not only for its scenic, cool location, lush greenery, and organic gardens, but also for its unique nutritious and all natural cuisine. It is an exquisite surprise not only for the senses and palate but also for your well-being!  On the Valley grounds, soak in the organic garden trails winding past water irrigations and humming birds; your Health & Wellness Guru will explain the fascinating unaffected garden ecosystem. Learn old world remedies and discover an all natural pharmacy (take note, the root word is “farm-acy”) within the gardens. What could be more delightful than relishing colorful edible flowers and vibrant pink hibiscus for a refreshing drink?

 Don Salvador Benedicto Waterfalls

Visit DSB nowRest and relax for a serene retreat in DSB or wander off to a nature adventure and exploration, before it’s proliferated with utterly hideous structures of vacation houses with no respect for character or sense of place. In our Sustainable Tourism advocacy for this town, we urge everyone who is going to build or develop a house or lodging facility to maintain the geographical character of the mountainous ecosystems, its natural topography, heritage, aesthetics and culture. By all means, we highly recommend observing our Green Hotels & Zero Carbon Resorts best practices!

Keep DSB green as Rapha Valley does to keep all guests hale and hearty! It’s not only for our good but also for our future generations’!

 For more information and Green Travel tips, visit our Green Travel Exchange. 

 

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Green Buying Guide

Posted in Agri Tourism, Coron, Environment, Events, News, Lifestyle, Sustainable Living with tags , , , , , , , on December 1, 2013 by Sustainability Guru
Tokyo Midtown Champagne Illumination

Tokyo Midtown Champagne Illumination

Note: First published in December 2010, we have updated this blog with some news and great green items! Enjoy!

For a non-Christian country, Japan celebrates Christmas to the max, but not for traditional or religious reasons. Not to mention that most Christmas trees and decor are depressing blue color lights! Singapore inaugurated the Orchard Christmas light up with no less than their President, a national event to herald shopping hoarders.   Ti’s the season of extreme enterprise just like everywhere in the globe. In the Philippines, they put up the Yuletide trimmings as early as September, to bring the holiday cheers early amidst typhoon time. It’s simply a silly spell of trash and bash for profitable purposes. So before your Christmas becomes just a blur of stress and duress, get guided by these holiday eco ethos and lighten your impact to the environment.

eco-friendly-green-gifts

1. Buy green gifts.  Consider eco-friendly and socially-conscious products and think about impact and environment when buying gifts. Remember the environmental effort and message gives more meaning, so look for a green approach for each gift: i.e. organic products, reusable, recyclable and really useful.

2. Reuse, reduce & recycle. Be creative in practicing these principles: reuse gift wrappers, reduce waste, recycle unused gift items and give them off. These 3Rs in gift giving is not only economical but less stressful!

Echo Store Gift Bag

3. Eco shopping bags. Bring your reusable shopping bags when heading out to your gift buying spree this season and avoid plastic bags abound. Check out these ideas from Echo Store, Serendra, Philippines.

Reusable gift box from Echo Store

Reusable gift box from Echo Store

Reusable Gift basket from Echo Store

Reusable Gift basket from Echo Store

4. Shop online. Save fuel and energy. Instead of charging out in traffic and lining up kilometric queues in stores, shop online instead! Items purchased online can be delivered straight to your recipient, so it can also cut down effort in personal delivery and again, fuel in driving around to give those gifts!

Save energy, avoid rush crowds!

5. Cool gift certificates. Instead of buying ordinary gifts, buy something special like a concert ticket, spa certificate, book club or gym trial and the like.  Your friend will think of you as a cool and considerate giver.

Green Gift-GCs

Green Gift-GCs

6. Gift of charity. As a great alternative to buying another picture frame, mug or socks for the person who may not need more of the same, give them the gift of charity, a donation to an environmental project or to any other organization for the needy. Donate to these charities or purchase gift cards in their name- donation for a community devastated by typhoon, solar power for grassroots families,  or reconstruction of a school in ruins, etc. There are so many humanitarian and environmental organizations in need of support where you can contribute, in the name of a friend.

Donate for Green Reconstruction

Donate for Green Reconstruction

7. Christmas cards from recycled paper. Thousands of cards each year are bought every yuletide season. Consider the alternative E-greeting card and if you must, buy Christmas cards from recycled paper. Think Amazon Forest and deforestation before you buy that Christmas card.

Macrame Bags made by Aeta Community

Macrame Bags made by Aeta Community

8. Biodegradable wrappers and bows.  Use recycled paper and natural materials instead of plastic or metallic wrappers and bows. Needless to say, they’re easier to dispose and less harmful to the environment. These calls again for creativity: reuse materials, or make the wrapping part of the gift, such as scarves, baskets and or reusable decorative boxes.

9. Re-chargeable batteries. When buying battery operated toys, encourage use of re-chargeable batteries; educate children as early as tots about the proper use of recharging – they’re not only eco friendly but also economical.

Going (green with) banana xmas tree!

11. Live instead of plastic Xmas tree. Purchase a live tree to use as Christmas tree and it doesn’t have to be a traditional fir. Santa will not scold you if you use other foliage as Christmas tree as you can re-plant them in your yard after the holidays. Besides, it serves a natural indoor air purifier. Use natural décor non-plastic, non-hazardous materials and low consumption lights.

12. Avoid wasteful consumption. Think.Eat.Save. as UNEP campaign goes. Christmas is a garbage fest. Before the gift opening and feasting begins, set up your garbage disposals accordingly – for cans, bottles, paper etc. Again, practice the pre- and post party 3Rs. Remember to be thankful, not wasteful.

Think. Eat. Save. Reduce your footprint Campaign by UNEP.

13. Last but not the least, if you are planning to spend Christmas holidays elswhere, travel green and make your vacation more meaningful with our Green Travel ideas. Support our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. – SSTDI campaign for Green Reconstruction of Typhoon Haiyan devastated Coron, Palawan, in the Philippines. Help our grassroot communities recover their livelihood, with sustainable reconstruction and green energy. 

Support Green Reconstruction for Coron

 Christmas has almost lost its essence due to over- commercialization and excessive hype. Make your Yuletide more meaningful and less stressful. Think outside the gift box a little and you can have greener Holidays that may benefit the environment and humanity. Is your Christmas green? Share your eco holiday season tips, please add them to the comments section!

Photo Credits: Echo Store for the Reusable Gift Packs, Gift Bags. Tokyo Midtown for its Champagne Illumination.

Disaster Preparedness: Before a calamity occurs

Posted in Coron, Environment, Events, News, Lifestyle, Good Governance, Sustainable Living, Western Visayas with tags , , , , , , on March 4, 2012 by Sustainability Guru
Philippine Disaster Hazards and corresponding agency-in-charge

Philippine Disaster Hazards and corresponding agency-in-charge

“Do we have to wait until a disaster overwhelms us before we make the radical changes necessary to protect our world for future generations? If we act now there is much that can be saved which will otherwise disappear forever.” ~ John Gummer

In these times of global warming and climate change, one is never prepared enough for the mighty forces of nature or in some cases, man-made disasters, such as the Fukushima Nuclear Plant or in Southern Philippines’ Cagayan de Oro flash flood tragedy caused by illegal logging. For those especially in vulnerable and hazard zones like Japan & Philippines, every one must be aware and be prepared.

Here are the six basic disaster preparedness at home that you must ensure:

1. Check safety around your house

  • Organize flowerpots and propane tanks to prevent toppling, and check the intensity of block walls and roof tiles.Before disaster occurs: Check your house for safety measures!

Before a disaster occurs: Check your house for safety measures!

The DOST- PHIVOLCS call for compliance to building code after the earthquakes in the Philippines. Read article here. 

2. Discuss with your family and household member about disaster measures:

Discuss disaster preparedness with your family. Seriously.

Discuss disaster preparedness with your family. Seriously.

Prepare a pinch, saw, scoop, jack, flashlight, etc. (These may be  expensive to purchase all on you own, but you can discuss and share with your neighbors to prepare these. At least you have a set of equipments ready!)

3. Prevent injuries caused by broken glasses.

Prepare slippers and sneakers close at hand

Prepare slippers and sneakers close at hand. For a blackout at night, keep them in place.

Be ready with rescue equipments

4. Prepare rescue equipments. Prepare a pinch, saw, scoop, jack, flashlight, etc. These might be expensive, so share with your neighbors the cost and the use.

5. Prepare an emergency packAfter a disaster, supply of essentials may stop for a few days. Plan for quantity of stockpiles and storage for essentials to be taken out in case of emergency.

Essential emergency supplies list

  • Food and water (roughly 3 days of food for entire family and 3 liters
    Each family MUST HAVE: Survival Pack.

    Each family MUST HAVE: Survival Pack.

    of water per person a day)

  • First-aid kit, medicine, etc.
  • Portable radio, flashlight, batteries
  • Cash and valuables
  • Clothes

6.  Join Disaster Prevention drills

Ain't done the drill yet? Just DO IT.

Ain’t done the drill yet? Just DO IT.

In preparation for an emergency, create a cooperative structure with neighborhoods on a routine basis.

  1. Discussion
  2. Join disaster prevention resident groups
  3. Join disaster prevention drills

If you don’t have, organize one with your neighborhood or community pronto!

“We are now running out of time, and the question now is not what is happening to the climate, but how bad will it be before the world starts doing enough?”  ~ Jonathon Porritt

Source: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Disater Prevention Information.

“First, climate change is the greatest long-term threat faced by humanity… All countries will be affected, but the poorest countries will be hit hardest. Secondly, the costs of inaction far outweigh the costs of action.” ~ David Miliband

The Philippines is situated along two major tectonic plates of the world – the EURASIAN and PACIFIC Plates. Aside from this, it has 300 volcanoes – 22 as active, an average of 20 quakes per day, 20 typhoons a year, five (5) of these destructive and 36,289 kilometers of coastline vulnerable to tsunami.  The responsibility for leadership rests on the provincial governor, city and town mayors and Barangay chairmen in their respective areas.

Know more about the Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Center and how it should work for you and your community!

Philippine disaster profile. Learn the lessons

Philippine disaster profile. Learn the lessons.

Learn the lessons of past disasters. The Philippines is not short of earlier numerous grants, programs and initiatives in disaster education and management. Share the National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Framework and how it should serve your community better. Be mindful and demand from your public officials on the information and skills. Seek the mass media support and use social media in raising awareness, care and vigilance.

The Coron Initiative , The Boracay Initiative & The Negros Initiative  are Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility frameworks being implemented in Coron, Calamianes Islands & Western Visayas with institutional partners Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels & Clean Blue. Sustainability Capacity Building and Training programs for cities, communities and destinations  include Good Governance and Disaster Prevention and Management. For more info, visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI on how we can help.

Waste not, want not – Know and follow 3Rs; Greening your garbage

Posted in Good Governance, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Living with tags , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2012 by Sustainability Guru

ECO series on Sustainability: Solid Waste and Climate change

 According to a new U.N. report, the global warming outlook is much worse than originally predicted. Which is pretty bad when they originally predicted it would destroy the planet.” –Jay Leno

 

Climate Change & Solid Waste photo by KingCountySolidWasteDivision

Garbage = GreenHouseGas emissions. Photo from King County Solid Waste Division.

Let’s start in our homes. Much had been reported, blogged, FB posted and twitted about  the worsening problem of solid waste in Metro Manila and other urban centers in the Philippines. There had been scores of seminars, conferences and fora  conducted to “discuss” ways of solving the problem but not fully implementing them. For how long will it take the country to attain a zero waste economy, no one knows. But, one thing is sure – time is running out and WE need to act. NOW.

Bag-O Plastics recycling plastic into crocheted bags

Bag-O Collecting Plastic from Bago City dumpsite. Photo from Bag-O Plastics

 

Why WE?

The answer is simple, but at the same time, tricky. Consider this: Metro Manila’s solid waste based on studies made by the National Solid Waste Management Commission Secretariat at the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), is estimated that per capita waste production daily is 0.5 kg; meaning every person living in the metropolis generates half a kilo of garbage a day. With an estimated population of 10.5 million, total waste generated in Metro Manila alone could run up to 5,250 metric tons per day, or 162,750 metric tons per month, a total of 1.95 million metric tons per year. Definitely, a whole lotta waste!

House Rules: Meguro-Ku Solid Waste Segregation

Let’s start in our HOMES. WE must be part of the SOLUTION by reducing our waste. In Tokyo, if our garbage is not segregated, they will NOT be collected AND we will be fined!

 

Our daily waste, our daily RESPONSIBILITY. Based on the EMB study, only about 73% of the 5,250 metric tons of waste generated daily are collected by dump trucks hired by our respective local government units – that is assuming our LGUs are dedicated to their duties to taxpayers. The remaining 27% of daily waste or about 1,417.5 metric tons end up in canals, vacant spaces, street corners, market places, rivers and prohibited places!

Garbage = bad health!

We deserve to live in a cleaner environment, a healthy family, neighborhood, city.

This explains why WE need to act. As we produce garbage ourselves, we are part of the problem. But, we can also be part of the solution by reducing our contribution to the worsening waste crisis and help mitigate climate change effects.

 Why NOW?

This measure is in fact 1o years too late. However, at the rate we are producing waste we will soon be having more of our human-made mountains of garbage amidst us or worse, find ourselves buried in our own trash!

Bacolod City - cleanest & greenest city? NOT!

Bacolod City has 19 dumps like this – cleanest & greenest? NOT!

The catastrophic disasters and major typhoons that brought about tragedy and casualties not to mention filthy garbage in its course, should strengthen our resolve to do something about our wasteful lifestyles.

Talks about landfill as an alternative engineering solution to the garbage problem for the so-called residual waste, is fine. But where to site the landfill is another issue.

We all deserve a cleaner & greener environment

Mandatory SEGREGATION & 3RS should be done primarily at the SOURCE: household, institutional, industrial, commercial and agricultural sources.

 The most important reason why we have to act now on the worsening solid waste problem is their impact on human health and climate change. Health is a basic human right. We all deserve to live in a cleaner environment- a healthy family, neighborhood and nation. The only way to satisfy these needs is to do away with garbage that spreads diseases in our homes and communities.

Landfills and rudimentary incinerators contribute to global climate change by destroying resources. Methane produced from decomposing garbage in landfill is one of the most powerful greenhouse gasses and is 23 times stronger than CO2 in capturing heat. The less we throw away, the less garbage ends up in landfills, the less methane they produce.

Take ACTION. Get your public officials DO THEIR JOB on implementing Eco Solid Waste Management as mandated by RA 9003!

Take ACTION. Get your public officials DO THEIR JOB on implementing Eco Solid Waste Management as had been mandated by RA 9003!

Republic Act No. 9003 Revisited.  RA 9003 or the “Ecological Solid Waste Management Act” provided the legal framework for the Philippines’ systematic, comprehensive and ecological solid waste management program that should ensure protection of public health and the environment more than 10 years ago. It underscored, the need to create the necessary institutional mechanisms and incentives, as well as imposes penalties for acts in violation of any of its provisions.

 How R.A. No. 9003 should HAVE worked for your community:

  • Creation of the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), the National Ecology Center (NEC) and the Solid Waste Management Board in every province, city and municipality in the country.
  • The Solid Waste Management Board of provinces, cities and municipalities shall be responsible for the development of their respective solid waste management plans.
  • Mandatory segregation of solid waste to be conducted primarily at the source such as household, institutional, industrial, commercial and agricultural sources;
  • Setting of minimum requirements to ensure systematic collection and transport of wastes;
  • Establishment of reclamation programs and buy-back centers for recyclable and toxic materials;
  • Promotion of eco-labeling in local products and services;
  • Prohibition on non-environmentally acceptable products and packaging;
  • Establishment of Materials Recovery Facility in every barangay or cluster of barangays;
  • Prohibition against the use of open dumps;
  • Setting of guidelines/criteria for the establishment of controlled dumps and sanitary landfills;
  • Provision of rewards, incentives both fiscal and non-fiscal, financial assistance, grants and the like to encourage LGUs and the general public to undertake effective solid waste management.

How can we help solve the solid waste problem? Are you doing it now?

adopt the 3Rs of Ecological Waste Management: REDUCE, REUSE, AND RECYCLE.

Reduce, reuse, recover, dispose at the minimum.

 There are many ways to do it. A highly recommended formula is to adopt the 3Rs of Ecological Waste Management: REDUCE, REUSE, AND RECYCLE.

In addition, let us avoid doing these PROHIBITED ACTS under the law:

Littering, throwing, dumping of waste materials in public places like roads, sidewalks, canals, parks and vacant lots;
Open burning of solid waste;
– Allowing the collection of non-segregated or unsorted waste;
Open dumping or burying of biodegradable and non-biodegradable materials in flood-prone areas;
Mixing of source-separated recyclable material with other solid waste in any vehicle, box, container or receptacle used in solid waste collection or disposal;
Manufacture, distribution or use of non-environmentally acceptable packaging materials;
– Establishment or operation of open dumps; and
Importation of consumer products packaged in non-environmentally acceptable materials.

Last but not the least, do positive. Again we emphasize the need for 3RS- REDUCE, REUSE, & RECYCLE and waste segregation in our own homes. Take Action. Demand from your political representatives and public officials to provide the basic services as mandated by RA 9003.

Waste not, want not. Prov. Cliché If you do not waste anything, you will always have enough.

SOURCE & FURTHER INFORMATION:

The National Solid Waste Management Commission Secretariat -ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT BUREAU, DENR Philippines; King County Solid Waste Division. Meguro Solid Waste Managment, Tokyo, Japan.

The Coron Initiative , The Boracay Initiative & The Negros Initiative have requested for a formal tie up with the Department of Environment & Natural Resources & Environmental Management Bureau Environmental Education & Information Division in our Greening & Sustainability educational programs for public and private sector proponents in Coron, Calamianes Islands, Boracay, Negros Occidental & West Visayas in the Philippines to work with international partners Green Hotels, Clean Blue & Zero Carbon Resorts. For info and assistance in your destination or locality, email: sustainabilityg@sonixnet.jp

 

Sustainability 101. Towards sustainable cities and communities

Posted in Environment, Good Governance, Green Hotels, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Events, Sustainable Living, Western Visayas, Zero Carbon Resorts with tags , , , , , , on January 15, 2012 by Sustainability Guru

Greening a destination – how to make a city or community sustainable?

For simplicity, we are using the UN’s definition of sustainability:

A sustainable society meets the needs of the present without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainability Triple Bottom Line graphic: People, Planet, Profit.

According to Wikipedia a sustainable city, is a city designed with consideration of environmental impact, inhabited by people dedicated to minimization of required inputs of energy, water and food, and waste output of heat, air pollution – CO2, methane and water pollution.

San Francisco Green City Winner. Photo courtesy of Siemens Green City Index report

Cities compete with each other globally for the attention of investors. Almost every municipality sites sustainability as one of its key targets, but it is often not clear as to how this declaration translates into action, or if the actions that are taken go beyond green window dressing.

Bacolod City Official website screen shot

Bacolod City – green or green window dressing?

The first step when steering towards urban sustainability is visible greening: planting trees, promoting subsistence gardening or saving wetlands for birds.

Sustainable Tourism Development Workshop in Villa Ica, Don Salvador Benedicto

Making Don Salvador Benedicto a true Eco-destination – A Sustainable Tourism Workshop

The next steps are environmental measures which bring social and economic benefits. Health concerns can put emphasis on quality of water, provision of ecological waste management and cleaner energy.

The Coron Initiative - the making of a sustainable destination

The Coron Initiative -Greening Coron for future generations

Waste management can also turn into business, when sorting produces material for local crafts people and bio waste becomes a source of energy. Clogged sewers lead to a ban on plastic bags while lessons about ecosystem services are learned when rivers are cleaned and watersheds are managed in an effort to prevent flooding.

Public Market trash, Bacolod City. Photo courtesy of Lisa de Leon-Zayco

Bacolod City’s Public Market trash. Photo courtesy of Lisa de Leon-Zayco’s Facebook posts

Climate change & environmental degradation effects in Boracay Island

Flooding at the World’s 2nd Best Beach! Climate change & environmental havoc

Almost every city in the world is dealing with an influx of people from different ethnic backgrounds, and cultural events play an important part in creating a sense of pride in the community and are promoted as a means to support minorities. Cultural heritage is increasingly understood as a resource to be kept alive, both for visitors to cities and for the people who live there.

Bacolod City's Electric Masskara - A sustainable festival??? photo courtesy of sunstar.com

In the cities that try to fake it, the grassroots heritage aspects AND authenticty disappear as events grow bigger and more commercial.

In the cities that try to fake it, the grassroots heritage aspects and authenticity disappear as events grow bigger and more commercial. Major events that require substantial investment, such as festivals and sporting events  do not always enhance quality of life for local communities after the television cameras have left.

Tokyo -heritage conservation & environmental protection IS the life and culture of the people

Tokyo – the masters of Waste Management & 3R’s –      Reduce, Reuse, Recyle

Some cities are aware of the links between global targets and local actions. Sustainability measures are taken at the local level, including investment in renewable energy and efficiency requirements for local buildings. More advanced cities broaden the focus to cover social impact and how sustainable development policy is delivered. WATCH TOKYO WASTE MANAGEMENT video.

Sustainable city Seoul - urban development with environmental protection

Sustainable Seoul – urban development with environmental conservation

Refurbishment of existing buildings becomes big business, public transport systems are improved and sustainable public procurement practices are introduced.

U.N. Shanghai Manual for Sustainable Cities

Shanghai Manual – helping leaders of the world’s cities use integrated urban planning, management, financing and technology to green their economies and build climate and economic resilience.

While all these aspects constitute progress, it is misguided to think that they combine to create urban sustainability. True systemic change is missing from the picture. Progress to date has been far too slow and incremental changes to business as usual don’t go far enough.

Climate change mitigation & flood water management- Boracay band-aid style solution!

Boracay’s White Beach downright degradation- flood water flushed out on White Beach!

The tough road ahead will have to include holistic visions, integrated planning and brave strategies to implement them. For this to become a reality, the language of money must become more about sustainability, renewable energy sources must be fully integrated into urban infrastructure and the pedestrian must become king of the road.

Source: The Guardian

Visiting Shanghai's Urban Planning Museum

Visiting Shanghai’s Urban Planning Museum. Shanghai established ECO CITY framework in 2010.

 

Do positive. Do not wait for another disaster to do your part on mitigating climate change.

DO POSITIVE. Learn the lessons from disasters: think SUSTAINABLE.  TAKE ACTION.  Demand from your political representatives to do their job, WORK towards healthy and clean ENVIRONMENT  and community!

Green Growth, Climate Change solutions, the grassroots way. Our Sustainability initiatives includes Capacity Building and Training towards sustainable cities, communities and greening destinations based on RIO +21 Agenda,  Shanghai Manual & UNWTO to include Good Governance, Resilience, Disaster Preparedness and Management, Greening Events/Festivals, Sustainable Tourism development  with Green Hotels, Clean Blue Asia & Zero Carbon Resorts.  Educational programs can be customized for public and private stakeholders, local government units, private businesses and the local community of potential and emerging ecotourism sites.

 Learn more from: sustainabilityguruvisit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI on how we can help.

 

Sustainable beaches: All resorts and islands should be managed this way.

Posted in Boracay, Clean Blue Asia, Coron, Good Governance, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Living with tags , , , , , , , on June 8, 2011 by Sustainability Guru

Since I worked for Boracay Island, Philippines in the early 90s I already started my personal crusade on “saving our seas”, if only to pick up the trash daily along the famed White Beach. This was twenty years ago when there were only a handful of resorts on the island. Since then, rapid, unsustainable development and environmental degradation in and around the island just burgeoned before our eyes. After 10 years since I left, I was brought back full circle to the environmentally deteriorated island, and I had to do my part, with The Boracay Initiative, if only to enlighten stakeholders about conservation of their invaluable source of tourism livelihood!

Banol Beach Photo by Al Linsangan III

I was also given an opportunity to visit Coron, which is still a developing island tourist destination, however, I can foresee, that without a Sustainable Tourism development framework in place, it will go the way of Boracay too. Thus, we also organized The Coron Initiative with our Lead Advocate and partner NGOs in the Coron & Calamianes islands. I was also invited to visit home-province Negros Occidental, and experienced firsthand their marine conservation efforts in Sagay’s Carbin Reef as well as Danjugan Island in Cauayan town. From then, I have proposed The Negros Initiative, mainly to organize the framework on Conservation, Social Responsibility and Sustainable Tourism for the province.

Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco pioneer, Carbon Neutral & Conservation Leader since 1975

With my work experience at Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco pioneer, Carbon Negative and Conservation Leader, I had hands-on knowledge and experience to share the best practices in Sustainability and protection of our ecosystems and heritage, while sharing it with the world.

Experience and enlightenment found along the Philippine learning curve are:

1.  Each Filipino citizen is a stakeholder in this archipelago of 7,107 islands. Each one lives in one of these islands, therefore, is accountable for its marine and coastal resources, one of our richest natural heritage.

You as a stakeholder, are accountable…

2. All businesses and local government units (LGUs) in these respective islands must be accountable as well – they, along with the local community are the so-called private and public stakeholders.

3. In the conservation, protection and safeguarding of our environmental and natural resources, the following multi- stakeholders are responsible:

Local Government Units (LGUs), to which the place and jurisdiction of the natural resources are located and entrusted

Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR) the government agency and its operations arm, Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) with its Integrated Coastal Management Project & Coral Triangle Initiative! 

Businesses or enterprises which are directly or indirectly engaged in the trade of environmental resources, such as resorts/ lodgings /restaurants, manufacturing, aqua culture & fisheries, production of coastal and marine products, etc.  are responsible for the triple bottom line for their business: community, environment and profit.

NGOs – non-government organizations are the civil society leaders whose vision and mission are to ensure that Environmental laws and mandates to conserve the environment, protect all indigenous inhabitants and the future generations.

Local communities
–   Awareness and participation of the local community in conservation efforts are keys to saving our seas. Getstarted at home to be eco-friendly, be pro-active and report delinquents. Not only we at the present, are the direct beneficiaries, it is also for the future generations too! As the African saying goes, “we did not inherit the earth; it is just loaned to us by our grandchildren”.

Be pro-active, report delinquents

Going beyond the key stakeholders mentioned, cooperation and collaborative work  are critically needed from other government agencies to implement and enforce Environmental Laws and Acts:

Department of Education – to teach and show school children how to conserve and protect. A good example is from Negros Occidental, where an environmental-award winning Iliranan Elementary School involved its community in embracing Sustainability & Eco-friendly practices.

Department of Justice – in most areas, the DENR & the EMB are ill-equipped and powerless to go after corrupt pundits, poachers and environmental law violators. This is where the DOJ should step in and assist. Together with the LGU, Police and  community, they should apprehend and punish these criminals immediately.

Mangroves destructed caused flooding in Coron coasts

We ALL have to do our part.  “No man is an island”, no pun intended. Together, we can protect our coral reefs and seas, which provide basic livelihood from tourism,  elemental compounds for crucial medicines, health products, save lives and ensure the future generations’ opportunities from our precious Philippine marine ecosystems and resources!

Photos above courtesy of BayanMoPatrolMo & Al Linsangan III of The Coron Initiative.

Sustainable Beach Management by Clean Blue Asia towards green economy

Sustainable Beach Management by CLEAN BLUE Asia towards green economy

The Coron Initiative with Clean Blue Asia will be working on Sustainable Beach Management as well as the UNEP’s Manila declaration to protect the world’s oceans from land-based activities, educating public and private stakeholders on the conservation of marine environment towards a GREEN ECONOMY. For more info visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI on how we can help.

Easy to be Eco! Ways to be environment-friendly

Posted in Coron, Environment, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Living with tags , , , , , , on June 5, 2011 by Sustainability Guru

Start at home!

Be the change that you want to see in the world” – Ghandi

Save the Philippine coral reefs!

There is so much hoopla about the “rape of the ocean”, switching off lights on “Earth Hour”, landslide disasters due to deforestation and mountains of garbage and plastic within our city, that we are just getting confounded and confused by the day on how we can start doing our part for the earth.

Climate change and global warming?

We complain no end about smog and pollution, filthy floods on typhoons aftermaths, brownouts/blackouts, water shortage, epidemics and uncollected garbage, yet we do not even know where to begin to solve these “environmental” and basic utilities issues.

Every election, we try to choose public officials who are supposed to bring progress to our cities, but end up mostly with broken promises. Then, when a natural catastrophe happens, it is the only time we see them again, “working to the rescue” and aid their constituents, but mostly for publicity and ratings. And we are supposed to know better!

So, how do we really begin to do our part, in being eco-friendly and help protect the environment? If Kids found organization to save endangered species and college students become “Green Ambassadors”, for sure we can do it, too! Simple, we begin at home, with our families and with our own neighborhood. Here are some easy, no-brainer, beginner eco steps:

Live frugally. Just buy the basics

1. Live frugally.
Eco also means economic, and in these hard times, we have to learn to live simply. We don’t have to wait for a disaster (such as the Japan earthquake) to start saving electricity, water; go prudent on clothes or shoes shopping and the like. Just buy the basics.

2. Start your car pool and commute wisely. Save up on gas, parking expenses and carbon emissions with commuting. Avoid taking taxis and you will be surprised how much transport savings you will have at the end of the month!

Reduce toxins. Identify and segregate!

3. Practice proper waste segregation. Here in Tokyo, garbage will not be collected if you don’t separate correctly Avoid using plastics, BYOB. Bring your own bag. Not just to the supermarket but every time you shop. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Be an eco-model among your neighbors and teach them as well. Clean and green your neighborhood.

4. Save electricity. Un-plug all appliances including your PC when not in use. Best to use power strips for multiple appliances and un-plug these so you cut-off most if not, all at the same time. You will see a dip your electricity bill when you start doing this.

5. Save on water. During rainy season, practice rain catchment and store clean rainwater to wash your car or water your garden. This is big water savings for the next dry season!

Rainwater catchment systems

6. When going on a trip, start travelling responsibly. Pack light to avoid excess baggage fees and carbon emissions. Travel to cultural and natural sights but make sure your activities do not destroy the traditions and environment you visit. Start giving back to communities whose natural and traditional resources are threatened or endangered, or even join volunteer trips.

The Coron Initiative – volunteer vacation

7. Last but not the least, get educated, enlightened, pro-active in being green. Make sure to learn at least one sustainable tip a day. There are millions of resources onlineYahoo Green is a great portal with many useful sources on living green,  nature, food & health, recycling, energy, technology and other essential topics. You can also follow yours truly on Twitter for more on sustainability practices.

These may be small and simple steps, but if done altogether with your ‘hood and city, and serve as an example for your province or region, more people will take notice and before you know it, millions in the country will follow suit. When we make a  difference in our own small way, collectively, this will make a big impact and perhaps, we can convince our so called “public servants”, to start doing their jobs, too.

How do you think you can do your part? Share and let us know!