Archive for the Zero Carbon Resorts Category

Learn the lesson from Estancia, Iloilo Oil Spill

Posted in Clean Blue Asia, Good Governance, Sustainable Development, Travel, Western Visayas, Zero Carbon Resorts with tags , , , , on December 14, 2013 by Sustainability Guru

Foreword. Estancia, Iloilo suffered not only devastation on a massive scale but also man-made disaster of oil spill from the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. This is a re-post from our SSTDI Guest Resource Person, Sustainable Lifestyle Designer PJ Aranador’s blog about his hometown Estancia and the destruction brought by the super typhoon. The tourism and hospitality industry should learn the lesson of Estancia, Iloilo oil spill: NO to bunker fuel, YES to clean energy! Read our SSTDI blog post on ways hotels and tourism industry can use renewable energy.   

Don’t miss

Register now for the next TCI-CB Series IV-Green Leaders Conference Workshop:Climate Proofing for Sustainability & Resilience‘ in Coron, Palawan. March 13-14, 2014. Email/contact us for details.

 

 

Estancia, Iloilo: Our beautiful town spilled by oil and shattered it into a night mare

Estancia Iloilo is home to NAPOCOR power barge to supply the electricity of Northern Iloilo. This barge is just a few meters away from the coastline of the town near its old commercial port. It carries 2 million liters of fossil oil. Yolanda’s wrath was so strong it leaked 2,000 litters of dangerous fossil oil to the area. About 150,000 liters were washed on the shoreline while 50 liters afloat the water. 1It may still leak another 1.2  million liters of  oil if something goes wrong, let alone another super tyhoon come soon. The barge was slammed right into Barangay Botongon killing people and forced 5,000 people to evacuate.
The town folks are in agony as the cleaning has been snail pace. I asked the contractor representative how long it will take to totally clean it, he said, it depends. OMG, it depends on what?  Their own sweet little time.?
Let these pictures tell the sufferings of Estancia—now somehow lost and forgotten. The chemical gaseous stink is so strong, with half and hour visit I had on the site, two days after until now I am still very sick. I have a splitting headache and my eyes are teary.  I can imagine the survivors whose respiratory systems and skin may already have been damaged.
We need help to rebuild our coastline, much more, help our folks go back to their homes.
 

Contractor representative touring us at the site of the spill.

The extent of oil spill along the coastline.

The oil spill evacuation center called the Tent City where close to 5,000 locals are relocated while the area is not yet cleaned up for human safety.

Learn the lesson from Estancia, Iloilo Oil Spill: NO to Bunker Fuel, Coal Mining & Fossels Fuels! Yes, to Renewable, Clean, Efficient Energy!

Green Reconstruction for Sustainability & Resilience” is a Sustainable Re-build & Renewable Energy project by the Coron Sustainable Tourism Cooperative, The Coron Initiative,  & Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SSTDI. SSTDI can help you with short-and long-term renewable energy solutions in your community, city or destination. For more info, please email us or click HERE
Support Green Reconstruction for Coron

Green Travel Tips

Posted in Agri Tourism, Boracay, Clean Blue Asia, Coron, Ecotourism, Green Hotels, Negros Occidental, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Tourism, Travel, Western Visayas, Zero Carbon Resorts with tags , , , , , , on February 26, 2012 by Sustainability Guru

Isla Dibatoc, Coron, Palawan

How to travel GREEN! Build lasting memories while protecting the communities/regions you’ve traveled to! These green travel tips will enhance your trip—and help you make a positive difference in the places you visit.

Before you travel

Find out as much as possible. The more you know about a World Heritage Site or Marine Protected Area, the more the site will come alive. Look into the site’s history, culture, natural environment, customs, legends, advisory notices, and more.

Learn a few words in the local language. Make an effort to speak the local language. Simple words like “Hello,” “Please,” and “Thank you” can go a long way to help you communicate with the people who know the site best—they’ll appreciate your efforts and your interest in learning.

Pack light. It’s tempting to pack everything you think you might need, but remember to be smart about your necessities.Packaging items like the plastic wrapping of your new toothbrush simply consume space in your bag and can create excess trash for the fragile sites.

Shangrila Hotel Boracay with CSR & green initiatives

Shangrila Hotel Boracay with CSR & green initiatives

Choose lodging thoughtfully. Look for hotels that have written procedures for environmental impact, employment, and cultural policies.

Explore transportation options. Traveling affects the environment. Wherever possible, try to minimize your impact by looking to alternative transportation and off-setting your carbon emissions.

Calamianes Group of Islands Palawan

Calamianes Group of Islands Palawan

During your trip

Engage in local culture. The saying, “When in Rome do as the Romans” still applies today. Your trip provides a unique opportunity to explore a new culture and to see the world through a different perspective. Enjoying local foods, shopping in local markets, and attending local festivals are all part of experiencing the culture.

Buy local products and services. Choosing to support locally-owned businesses, community tour operators, and artisans means that you’ll have a one-of-a-kind experience and your money will go directly to the community. Before purchasing goods, ask about their origin. Avoid buying products made from threatened natural resources and report poaching and other illegal activities to the local authorities.

Mercado Indio, Lima -Peruvian Arts & Crafts

Mercado Indio, Lima -Peruvian Arts & Crafts

Refrain from aggressive bargaining. It’s often difficult to know your limits in bargaining, so if you’re not sure, ask your hotel for tips. Remember that the purchases you make directly affect vendors’ livelihoods, so decide if you really need to hang onto that extra dollar.

Hire local guides. Enrich your experience by choosing local guides who are knowledgeable about the destination. Ask local tour operators and hotels for recommendations.

Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

Tread lightly. These destinations are World Heritage sites because of their exceptional natural or cultural splendor. Do your part to keep them that way by following designated trails, respecting caretakers, and not removing archaeological or biological treasures from sites.

Respect the natural environment. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Even though you are just visiting and not paying the utility bill, disposing of your garbage properly and minimizing your consumption of water and energy will benefit the overall destination.

Think of the Big Picture. While it is important to support local economy, certain tourist activities and souvenirs can damage a fragile World Heritage site. Say “no” to a souvenir that’s a piece of the site itself, and to tourist activities that may be harmful to a site’s longevity.

Say “no” to a souvenir that's a piece of the site itself!

Say “no” to a souvenir that’s a piece of the site itself!

After returning home

Share tips about responsible travel. In addition to telling family and friends about the wonderful memories you made, also consider sharing tips on how they too can positively impact these destinations while having an amazing journey.

Explore more. Travel is just the start of learning. Once you return home, continue exploring and being involved with the issues or region that captured your attention. Build your knowledge.

Give back. Traveling often opens our eyes and our hearts. Help to preserve these inspirational destinations for generations to come by making a donation to programs that give back and benefit the local community.

Adopted_a_village_Coron Ecotours

Adopt a village by Coron Ecotours

Source: http://www.expedia.com/daily/sustainable_travel/world_heritage/tips.asp

GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE is taking its toll on the planet, wrecking havoc and destruction to our natural environment, rural communities and even big cities! We have to do our part in leaving less impact to the environment. The message is RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL: let us protect the environment, care about local communities and respect their culture as we explore, experience and enjoy.

Zero Carbon Resorts, helping SMEs in the Tourism Industry to reduce carbon footprint

 The Coron Initiative, The Negros Initiative & The Boracay Initiative are Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility frameworks being implemented in Coron, Negros Occidental & Boracay with institutional partners Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels & Clean Blue. Sustainability Capacity Building and Training programs for cities, communities and destinations include Good Governance, Rio 21 Agenda, Waste Management/3Rs/MRF, Resilience, Disaster Preparedness and Management. Educational programs can be customized for public and private stakeholders, local government units, private businesses and the local community in general. For more info, visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI on how we can help.

Photos of Coron by Al Linsangan of Al3Photography.

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Sustainable beaches, green economy in a blue world

Posted in Boracay, Clean Blue Asia, Coron, Good Governance, Green Hotels, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Tourism, Western Visayas, Zero Carbon Resorts with tags , , , , , , on February 11, 2012 by Sustainability Guru

Boracay's White Beach circa 80s and in 2009

I have been working for “beaches”, most of my tourism career for almost three decades in various resorts in the Philippines. I pioneered in Boracay Island managing a small resort when there was only a handful then. Then, rapid, unsustainable development and environmental degradation just burgeoned. It was fate that brought me back full circle to the eco-depleted island after twenty years and I decided to do my part to form The Boracay Initiative, if only to enlighten public and private stakeholders to preserve their invaluable source of tourism livelihood!

The Coron Initiative, towards Sustainable Coron & Calamianes in the next millenium

The Coron Initiative, towards Sustainable Coron & Calamianes in the next millenium

I also had a chance to visit Coron, Palawan an emerging tourist destination, and I foresaw that without a Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility framework, it will suffer the same destruction as Boracay. Thus, we also organized The Coron Initiative with Lead Advocate-NGO, Calamianes Cultural Conservation Network. Next, I was invited to home-province Negros Occidental, and visited marine conservation sites in Sagay’s Carbin Reef as well as Danjugan Island, where illegal fishing is rampant aside from mining threat. From then, I proposed The Negros Initiative, to set up a similar greening guideline for the province.

Museo Sang Bata Negros- Children's Museum on Marine Conservation in Sagay, Negros Occidental

Museo Sang Bata Negros- Children’s Museum on Marine Conservation in Sagay, Negros Occidental

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

At a recent UNEP conference (January 2012), 65 countries adopted the “Manila Declaration – Global Protection Agreement (GPA)” – to strengthen the protection of global marine environment from land-based activities, emphasizing coastal eco resources as a key factor in the shift to a green economy.  This GPA made in the Philippines is very relevant as its 7,107 islands are rapidly losing rich natural resources due to marine-related commercial activities, such as fisheries, inter-island transport, tourism, mining, etc. These massive businesses leave destruction and escalate environmental degradation, loss of vital coastal habitats, marine biodiversity and shore water quality as it did to Boracay Island, the proverbial goose that lays the golden eggs for Philippine Tourism. If not sustainably planned, Coron, Palawan, the next vulnerable tourism hot-spot will follow suit.

Coastal and Mangroves Destruction, Coron, Palawan, Philippines

Coastal and Mangroves Destruction, Coron, Palawan, Philippines

The Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources has implemented an Integrated Coastal Resource Management Program (ICRMP) and the Coral Triangle Initiative  (CTI) to “promote the sustainable development and ensure the long term productivity of coastal resources while providing social services, lessening poverty in coastal communities as well as delivering basic infrastructure.”

Our Sustainable Tourism frameworks are being implemented in Coron and West Visayas with institutional partners Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels and Clean Blue Asia Sustainable Beach Management. These “Triple Bottom Line” initiatives are crucial for destination planning and development strategies towards the greening of tourism.  With the Manila Declaration’s commitment to develop policies to reduce and control wastewater, marine litter and pollution, the ICMP and CTI as guidelines, we will work towards a green economy for the Philippines, seeking green investments in tourism that can contribute to economically viable and robust growth, provide decent jobs, poverty alleviation and reduced environmental impacts. Our Capacity Building programs for cities and communities include Good Governance for LGUs, Waste Management, Resilience, and Disaster Prevention & Management among others. With our partner experts, we will work on SMEs in the tourism industry to reduce carbon footprint by switching to renewable energy sources and develop a network of most reliable eco responsible hotels and lodgings.

Coron Environmental Forum by The Coron Initiative, a public-private sector cooperation

Coron Environmental Forum by The Coron Initiative, a public-private sector cooperation

Our Sustainable Tourism initiatives in the Philippines require multi-sector cooperation and action. Indeed these include all of us to work towards a green economy!

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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.

 

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Five signs of a healthy beach

Posted in Boracay, Clean Blue Asia, Coron, Good Governance, Green Hotels, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Tourism, Zero Carbon Resorts with tags , , , , on September 16, 2011 by Sustainability Guru

Boracay Island before and lately, the over-crowded White Beach

There is enough on earth for everybody’s need, but not for everybody’s greed ~ Mahatma Gandhi

With the recent ruckus about a mega development  in Boracay Island, Philippines side by side its latest accolades, voted as 2012 World’s Best Islands by Travel+Leisure and Best Beach in the World, Number 1 in Asia by TripAdvisor, all the more this island’s authorities and stakeholders should protect and conserve it for future generations. IF they wish to see it thriving  in the next 30 years yet.

The Boracay Initiative Presentation at the First Environmental Forum

In our efforts to organize The Boracay Initiative, where we have sought the institutional support from international organizations in marine and coastal ecological systems conservation, we learned these five signs of a healthy beach from Nature Conservancy. Likewise, the Philippines’ concerned agencies as well as citizens in general should take action to protect their 7,107 islands!

Lack of development is just one sign of a HEALTHY beach. I’ll take an undeveloped beach anytime than one that is teeming with people (and consequently  trash and heavy footprints) without regard for ecological balance, so, if you care enough about your favorite beach, make sure it has these top five signs in keeping it healthy and ensure its sustainability!

Postcard photo by Rene Thalman of Boracay White Beach circa late 80s

1) Shells and Wildlife

In the late 80s, in my first time to Boracay, a stroll along White Beach as well as uninhabited Puka Beach will reveal a sparkling assortment of seashells and abundance of green moss or algae that turn ultimately turns into white dust when dried,washed up by the gentle waves and also after the monsoon season. From surf clams to ghost crabs, the treasures that  surface after this season reveal the diversity of life hidden in the water.

The line of marine debris (NOT trash) left over after high tide is a source of food and an important breeding ground for fish and other aqua species.

 

2) Natural Sand banks

Sand banks are a coastal community’s lifeguards. These sandy mounds — and their  low-growing plants (not to be confused with weeds!) — protect the beaches in  front of them and the land behind them. Running parallel to the shoreline, gentle sloping sand dunes provide a buffer for our roads and protect infrastructure from floods. They also provide nesting habitat and a sand reserve, which comes in andy after sand shifts as a result of a storm or moonsoon rains.

How could Boracay stakeholders let this happen to the "World's Best Island"?

Zoning and carrying capacity limits should be observed in order to maintain natural natural cycles in marine-coastal eco systems and their influence in global warming and climate change.

There must be enough room behind the beach for the dunes to move landward  in the face of storms and sea-level rise”.  Zoning and carrying capacity limits should be observed in order to maintain natural natural cycles in marine-coastal eco systems and their influence in global warming and climate change.

3) Good Water Quality

After a heavy rainfall, storm water can overwhelm sewage systems. That yucky runoff also picks up fertilizer and trash as it flows into the streams and rivers that ultimately spill into our oceans. Needless to say, whatever limited water source is available needs to be conserved and maintained.

Diminising and deteriorating Boracay White Beach

4) No Garbage

It is disappointing to see a beautiful beach littered with plastic bags, soda cans and cigarette butts, but that’s the reality of many recreational beaches. Not only is trash an eyesore, but it also kills marine animals when they ingest it or become entangled.

Littering on the beach is just one part of the problem; people are also dumping trash directly into our waters. In many cases, ships are still illegally dumping into our oceans. “People throw trash overboard on ships and guess what? A lot of it washes up on the beach.”

Littering on the beach is just one part of the problem; people are also dumping trash directly into our waters.

What goes round, comes round. The garbage you throw, goes back to you.  Use less. Act more.

5) Beachscapes, marshlands and swamps

Tidal mudflats, marshlands, ponds, lagoons, swamps and upland forests all help guard our beaches in the face of severe storms. Thus, mangroves are being reforested in Coron, Palawan. They run parallel to the coast and provide a first line of defense for beaches when a storm hits. In addition to shielding the coast, many beach landscapes shelter a variety of fauna as well as flora that protects the beaches.

Our greatest concern for our beaches must go beyond the beyond beaches and must encompass, more holistically, the entire beachscapes, marshes, swamps and wetlands complex. They are all linked, and necessarily in the so called “balance of nature”.

Everything is connected, and it’s important to remember to protect the entire dynamic ecosystem to maintain hope and health along our beaches and coasts. Environmental awareness AND education is critical for all to find ways to go forward with development, while ensuring that the planet’s life support systems are protected, preserved, and conserved. This is the idea behind the concept of sustainable development especially in Philippine TOURISM where livelihoods and attractions are mainly based on the NATURAL RESOURCES and the ENVIRONMENT. It seems odd that people have to be taught how to correctly develop, but there are reasons to believe many people still do not understand the impact that human actions have had and continue to have on the environment and our one and only planet!

Good environmentalism
is good economics ~ B. Conable

According to Ocean Conservancy,  cleanups alone can’t solve the marine debris problem; we need to stop it at the source. “Armed with knowledge about the most prevalent components of marine debris, elected officials can make informed policy decisions, and community leaders can more effectively tailor and expand recycling and other waste reduction programs. Corporations can see the need for improved technology and reduced packaging, and individuals are inspired to properly dispose of trash to keep it out of the ocean.”

We know the problems...and we know the solution. Sustainable development. The issue is the political will ~ Tony Blair

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, it’s not going to get better. It’s not. ~Dr. Seuss

The Coron Initiative , The Boracay Initiative & The Negros Occidental Initiative  are Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility frameworks being implemented in Coron,Calamianes and West Visayas with institutional partners Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels & The Clean Blue.

THE CLEAN BLUE ASIA is the new bespoke beach standards to help provide sustainable future to the industry – the public and private beach operators – to effectively manage the beaches of Asia – Pacific. Sustainability Capacity Building programs for destinations and communities and include Good Governance in the implementation of UNEP’s Manila Declaration,  DENR-EMB’s Integrated Coastal Management and the Coral Triangle Initiative to promote sustainable development and ensure the long term productivity of coastal resources while providing social services, increasing resilience and lessening poverty in coastal communities.

Education & training  can be customized for public and private stakeholders, local government units, private businesses and the local community in general.

For more information visit: http://sstdi.org/services/the-clean-blue/ or contact SSTDI.

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Ecotourism 101. Ecotourism essentials

Posted in Ecotourism, Environment, Green Hotels, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Tourism, Travel, Zero Carbon Resorts with tags , , , , on August 8, 2011 by Sustainability Guru

In 1975 Inkaterra built a lodge for scientists long before ecotourism was trendy

Along with other resource persons, namely Harro Boekhold of Contour Projects and Mr. Joselito Bernardo of the Asian Productivity Organization, we conducted the Train the Trainers in Ecotourism Planning & Management Course at the International School of Sustainable Tourism, in Subic Bay, Philippines. Apparently, among the Asia Pacific participants, there is still much confusion and ambiguities of the term “Ecotourism”.

Ecotourism: conservation and local community participation is essential

Not surprisingly, more so for the travel and tourism suppliers and market. Unfortunately the “eco” trend in the past years has triggered the travel industry to inundate the market with misused and misunderstood eco -labeled tourism products, from hotel accommodations to tours, from lodges to excursions, causing misrepresentation and misunderstanding among travelers from the tourism industry as to what the term “ecotourism” genuinely embodies.

Inkaterra’s Andean Pueblo experience at the foot of Machu Picchu citadel

So once and for all, we are clarifying the essence and emphasizing the basic elements of Ecotourism.

If your destination, property or activities does not have ALL of the above essential elements, then it is NOT “ecotourism”. In addition to these ecological essentials, Ecotourism has also these fundamental nature, no pun intended:

Common ‘Eco confusion’:

Nature Learning Experiences at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

To date, Ecotourism is just tiny niche of the global tourism market, has no traction yet and has just started to be mainstreamed. Tourism has an enormous potential, but without principles that fosters responsibility and sustainability it can harm our planet and wreck havoc to fragile or endangered tourism destinations. So no more confusions, no doubt about it. Don’t be misled by all the “eco-ish” labels. Just memorize the 5 ECO elements; YOU cannot go wrong. Go green!

Photos courtesy of Inkaterra, Peru’s eco pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975.

The Coron Initiative , The Boracay Initiative & The Negros Initiative are Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility frameworks being implemented with institutional partners Green Hotels, The Clean Blue & Zero Carbon Resorts. Sustainability Capacity Building and Training programs towards a green economy for cities, communities and destinations include Good Governance, Rio 21 Agenda, Waste Management/3Rs/MRF, Resilience, Disaster Prevention and Management. Educational programs can be customized for public and private stakeholders, local government units, private businesses and the local community in general. For more info, visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI on how we can help.

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Sustainable Ethos for Occidental Negros

Posted in Agri Tourism, Cuisine & Dining, Environment, Good Governance, Green Hotels, Negros Occidental, Sustainable Tourism, Zero Carbon Resorts with tags , , , , , , , on February 13, 2011 by Sustainability Guru

The Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development, Inc. (SSTDI) is a newly formed not-for-profit, non-government organization (NGO) to lead & implement the Negros Occidental’s Sustainable Tourism capacity building and training, promoting green travel experiences of culture, cuisine, conservation and meaningful visits to local communities.    

While working on The Boracay & Coron Initiatives I took a side trip to my home province sugar land Negros Occidental in southern Philippines. Upon request of Tita Sonia Sarrosa, energetic CEO of 2010 ASEAN Green Hotel Awardee Nature’s Village Resort, I did a stopover to give a talk and presentation on Conservation, Social Responsibility and Sustainable Tourism.   I was happy to learn that in fact, Negros Occidental became the first organic province and aims to be the organic bowl of Asia.

Private farm of Bonnin family

A select group of Provincial officials and private tourism stakeholders were waiting patiently for my delayed flight to listen to my presentation, gleaned from my first hand experience with Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975.

With children-guides at the Museo Sang Bata Negros in Sagay

Next day, we visited Sagay City, south of the province, home of Museo sang Bata Sa Negros (Children’s Interactive Marine Museum).  The Museum size, design and exhibits were originally intended for children but it is an attraction for visitors of all ages, too. Its focus is to educate primarily, children  on Coastal Marine resources especially of nearby Carbin Reef Marine Reserve. However the Museum also serves as a Welcome Center for all guests, offering a brief intro about Sagay’s marine biodiversity, conservation programs and a small hall dedicated to Sagay’s son, the late Governor Joseph Maranon. Several children act as guides in each mini-exhibit and their spiels are heartwarming and interesting not only for kids but also for adultsCarbin Reef Marine Sanctuary, a coral-reef restoration site

Just a quick motor boat ride from the pier across the water, we island-hopped to Carbin Reef Sandbar, the visitors’ base to the 200 hectare Marine Sanctuary. The tongue shaped white sand bar is open for day visitors on a limited capacity for swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving.From Carbin Reef, we took a brief ride to Barangay Vito, where we took the motorboat to Molocaboc Island. We were graciously welcomed by the Barangay Captain and residents who offered us an exquisite lunch of native seafood, proudly produced by the island. Molocaboc has no fresh water resource, thus all residents make use of large earthen jars for rain water catchment to have water supply.

Sagay, Negros Occidental’s rich marine resources

Japanese NGO’s visit the island yearly to do their outreach programs to include mangrove reforestation and sea ranching (a sustainable way of aquaculture & fishing). We then took a quick visit to the farm of college-friend, Jojo Bonnin in Barangay Alangilan,  a mini green-hideaway, just 15 minutes from the city.

Jojo Bonnin’s farm, mini green getaway

From this visit, The Negros Initiative was born, to develop responsible travel to Negros with proponents to include: Eco Agri Sustainable Agri Farm  showcase, Don Salvador Benedicto, the next emerging eco hot spot in the Philippines, and Fresh Start Organic Sustainable Agri tours.

Agri Tourism Sustainable Farm Show Case

Agri Tourism Sustainable Farm Show Case

The Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development, Inc. (SSTDI) is formed to lead The Negros Initiative in the Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility development for Negros with institutional partners Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels & Clean Blue. Sustainability

Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development, Inc. (SSTDI)

Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development, Inc. (SSTDI)

Capacity Building and Training programs for cities, municipalities and communities  include Good Governance, Rio 21 Agenda, Waste Management/3Rs/MRF, Resilience, Disaster Prevention and Management. Educational programs will be customized for public and private stakeholders, local government units, private businesses and the grassroots community in general.

Zero Carbon Resorts helping SMEs switch to renewal energy and green technology

ZERO CARBON RESORTS is our joint project with GrAt for the SMEs in the Tourism Industry to reduce carbon footprint by switching from use of fossil fuel to renewable energy sources especially solar energy and green technologies.

Green Hotels Asia Pacific our network of reliable eco-responsible hotels

Green Hotels Asia Pacific our network of reliable eco-responsible hotels

GREEN HOTELS ASIA PACIFIC is our network of the most reliable eco responsible hotels around the world. It works to help the hotel industry embrace sustainability by integrating innovation and added value with environmental actions in a vibrant global exchange of green hoteliers, operators and responsible clients.

Clean Blue Asia-Sustainable Beach management for public & private beach operators

CLEAN BLUE ASIA is thenew industry standard for beach management and safety – ISO 13009 – the “Clean Blue Industry Standard” CBIS – to help provide beach operators with the information and guidance to effectively manage the beaches of Asia – Pacific.

For more information visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI on how we can help.

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