Archive for good governance

Sustainable Tourism Development and Stewardship

Posted in Agri Tourism, Travel with tags , , , , on June 7, 2013 by Sustainability Guru

Welcome!

The Coron Initiative- Capacity Building Series Green Leaders Forum- Train the Trainers Conference Workshop July 1-2, 2013

Coron, Palawan, PhilippinesThe Calamianes Cultural Conservation Network Inc.(CCCNI) and  the Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development, Inc.(STTDI) jointly organize The Coron Initiative Capacity Building & Training Conference & Workshop Series in Environmental Conservation, Sustainability & Social Responsibility 2013, as a showcase program of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)- Asia Pacific & the Asia and the Pacific Forum for Environment and Development (APFED).TCI CB-Series II July 2013

The Coron Initiative by the CCCNI embarks on Capacity Building (CB Series) & Training series to implement its program on Environmental Conservation, Social Responsbility & Sustainable Tourism Development and Stewardship, after the successful 1st Environmental Forum held last November 2011, wherein public and private stakeholders of Coron & Calamianes Islands forged a cooperation in environmental responsibilities, concerns and solutions.

To know more about the TCI-Capacity Building Objectives & details, click here.

TCI march 2013 CB Series

JOIN US. The Capacity Building & Training 2013 Series is open to ALL interested in Environment Conservation, Social Responsibility & Sustainable Tourism development & stewardship, triple bottom line businesses, and to concerned citizens and advocates of Sustainability & Climate Change mitigation. For participation and membership to the Green Leaders Forum, July 2013, click HERE.

WHO CAN JOIN:

  • Travel & tourism industry sector, tour operators, travel agents,
  • Public sector, Politicians/Statesmen, Public/civil servants: Government agencies, LGUs in charge of environment, governance, planning & development, tourism
  • Hospitality sector: hotels and resorts, restaurants, bars, (owners, managers, decision makers)
  • Tourism service & Eco/organic product providers: small and medium business owners, leisure (spa, beauty, food & health products/services)
  • Real estate & land owners, Developers, Contractors, Architects, Builders, Suppliers
  • Energy, Water, Organic farming & Recycling sectors
  • Land, water and air transport: Tour bus operators, Cruises/Ships; Airlines
  • Recreation and sports facilities: scuba, snorkeling, mountaineering, adventure, outdoor shops & gears
  • NGOs, cooperatives, People’s Organizations, Environmental, Conservation & Green Advocacy groups
  • Academe, educators, youth leaders
  • Concerned citizens and sustainability advocates

Kayangan Eco Center, Coron, Palawan, Philippines

SUPPORT US/CSR OPPORTUNITY. The Coron Initiative (TCI) is seeking the support and collaboration of the Department of Tourism, Department of Environment & Natural Resources, Climate Change Commission, private companies, multinationals & international agencies to enable us to advance in Capacity Building & Training of locals and communities in ecological conservation of marine protected areas utilized for tourism and enhanced economic growth in sustainable way, while helping mitigate effects of climate change. For sponsorships and tailored CSR programs, please contact us.

FOR sponsorship, registration and SSTDI membership benefits, please email: contact SSTDI.

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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.

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!

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.

 

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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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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.

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