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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.

 

Inkaterra La Casona-Layered history meets 21st century luxury

Posted in Cultural Scenes, Events, News, Lifestyle, Green Hotels, Inkaterra, Luxury resorts, hotels, travel, Travel with tags , , , , , on May 22, 2011 by Sustainability Guru

Layered history meets luxury at La Casona

“Welcome to the summit of all things Inca – the opulent Cusco. Cusco has a better range of opulent accommodation than anywhere else in Peru”.

                                                       -The Independent Traveller, U.K.

 

Centrally located at an original Inca settlement in Cusco, former capital of the great Incan Empire, Inkaterra La Casona, the city’s first luxury boutique hotel rise discreetly on its prestigious surroundings. A meticulously restored 11-suite manor, this un-hotel reflects the Cusco’s unique mestizo grandeur, the inspiration for the renovation which preserved the blended essence of Spanish design and local folklore, contemporary fixtures integrated with the original structures, traditional colors, murals, and stones reflecting the patina of several epochs.

The land where the Inkaterra La Casona was built was originally part of the Warakos, the training ground of the elite Inka army. After the Spanish conquest in 1534, the property was given to Diego de Almagro, the Spanish cohort and later rival of Francisco Pizarro, conqueror of the Incan Empire, and founder of Lima, capital of Peru. Almagro participated in the Spanish conquest of Peru and is credited as the first European discoverer of Chile.

colonial furnishings and original murals blend with lavish contemporary comforts

The following years the casona was turned several times over to distinguished owners to include Spanish pioneers in Chile, the Amazon. The property even became a convent and much later on Simon Bolivar’s general headquarters, after his victory in the Battle of Ayacucho, where he liberated Peru from the three-century Spanish rule.

Relive the traditions of a priveleged past

Through the years, the house saw many owners until the late 60s, to include the De la Torre Urbina family and consequently Tierras Altas S.A.. In 1999, Inkaterra  acquired the property.

After two years of restoration and renovation, La Casona warmly welcomed its guests

In 2006, meticulous reconstruction works, renovation and upgrade of the manor started and in May 2008, Inkaterra La Casona opened its doors to guests. Fully equipped suites with open fireplaces are graced with down duvets, heated floors and extra large bathtubs. The amenities of the manor include dining area, outdoor patio and reading lounge. La Casona may be booked as individual suites, or as an entire Villa, offering a hub from which to discover the region.

Old World luxury meets cutting edge comforts of 21st century

Highly acclaimed by global travel magazines and travel news reviews, La Casona is a lavish luxury experience savvy travelers won’t want to miss!

“Cusco’s first boutique hotel, takes a few lessons from the conquistadores- the masters of Old World luxury in New World beauty. And while its rooms wraps around an original courtyard built more than 400 years ago, its iPod docks and heated floors are distinctly 21st century”. ~ Urban Daddy, “Mind your Manor  – Spanish Luxury in  Incan Capital”

Peru Dream Trip  2012 by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco pioneer, Conservation Leader, 100% Carbon Neutral, authentic travel and luxury stay or Go Andean. For more info about green travel to Peru, visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI to join the Dream Trip.

All photos courtesy of Inkaterra.

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Machu Picchu – A royal Inca retreat

Posted in Cuisine & Dining, Cultural Scenes, Environment, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Events, Sustainable Tourism, Travel with tags , , , , , on May 28, 2010 by Sustainability Guru

 

 Machu Picchu Historical Reserve is a magical place that fascinates through its vast archaeological remains, geological formations, unique flora and fauna, and spectacular cloud forest. The most remarkable part of the reserve is the archaeological site of Machu Picchu, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.

The Incas built this citadel at the end of the fourteenth century. As centuries passed, the fortress became totally overgrown by vegetation, and virtually disappeared from sight. Hiram Bingham, Director of the Yale Peruvian Expedition, rediscovered Machu Picchu in 1911. Recent research compiled by Yale University has revealed that the Machu Picchu Citadel was not, as Hiram Bingham believed, the traditional birthplace of the Inca people, nor was it the final stronghold of the Incas in their losing struggle against the Spanish. Instead, Machu Picchu, built by Pachacutec at the peak of the empire, was a favored retreat for the Inca nobility.

Machu Picchu Historical Reserve is situated above the town of Aguas Calientes at 2,450 meters (8,038 ft.) a.s.l. The site covers an area of 32,592 hectares (80,535 acres), located in a cloud forest between the Andes and the Amazon Basin, 112 km (70 miles) from the City of Cusco, in a green canyon on the Urubamba River.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel is an 85-room boutique hotel built of stone,   adobe, stucco, and eucalyptus beams which creates a lovely Andean pueblo ambience constructed with indigenous materials, respecting environmental sensibilities, building on heritage with its regional themed architecture and design, decorated with local furniture and fixtures to promote native artifacts and crafts.

The hotel employs local people and conducts constant training in sustainable tourism. It uses clean technology and eco-friendly practices such as bio-degradable materials, handmade toiletries and amenities, the practice of re-cycling, proper waste disposal, water conservation and prohibits the use of aerosol sprays.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu hotel offers an authentic Peruvian travel experience involving guests with the Peruvian cultural and natural values. All activities offered within the hotel offer guests with the wealth of nature, flora and fauna, environment protection, conservation and interactive cultural exchanges. Eco- activities within Inkaterra Machu Picchu offered free for guests include Orchids, Birding, Tea Plantation, Nature Trail and Spectacled Bear project.

“Although celebrities such as Cameron Diaz, David Blaine, Demi Moore and Heidi Klum have all checked in en route to Machu Picchu, the real celebrities at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel are the birds. The Cloud Forest garden is home to 33 types of hummingbirds, as well as rare species….”  – Rory Ross,  “Peruvian Splendour”, Independent Traveller

 The hotel grounds include more than 5 km. (3.12 miles) of ecological paths; several spots of observation and contemplation, with indigenous fauna, the world’s largest concentration of wild hummingbird species (18) , birds (180 species), and butterflies (111 species), amongst a diversity of natural wonder.  Stays at Inkaterra Machu Picchu are 100% carbon neutral as Inkaterra has been contributing actively to global carbon fixing with its reforestation programs in the cloud forest of Machu Picchu. In 2007, Inkaterra was the first Peruvian organization to participate in a Carbon Neutral Program with Sustainable Travel International and is considered a 100% Carbon Neutral hotel. Guests are offered the possibility to offset their carbon emissions on their trips to Peru and join the effort against global warming.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel through its NGO Inkaterra Association is managing Research, Conservation, Protection, Self-generating Resources Program and Community Development in Machu Picchu.  Projects conducted with local communities include reforestation, working with schools, students, volunteers, scientists and researchers. Conservation programs include monitoring & inventory of the local fauna and flora of the Machu Picchu Historical Reserve, the Spectacled (Andean) Bear Rescue Center and the hotel’s Orchid garden with 372 native species in its natural habitat –a world record according to American Orchid Society.

To support its projects, Inkaterra has published books about Flora, such as Orchids in Machu Picchu as well as Field Guides for Birds, Orchids and Butterflies.

“This may be the largest orchid collection in Peru that is open to the public. In all probability it is also the world’s largest orchid species collection set in a natural environment in a private facility.”  – American Orchid Society Magazine

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