EARTH DAY CELEBRATES ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY
April 22, 2020 is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a global event celebrated each year to demonstrate support for the protection of our environment.
Riviera Nayarit, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Alderney, Andorra and Palma are all destinations that are doing their part to implement programmes and initiatives that ensure local communities thrive, spur conservation, and encourage travellers to contribute to the destinations’ sustainability success.
WILDLIFE PROTECTION IN MEXICO’S RIVIERA NAYARIT
Riviera Nayarit, a destination reflective of the authentic spirit of Mexico, has worked with EarthCheck, the world’s leading sustainability programme for the travel and tourism industry, to embrace sustainable development across the destination.
Riviera Nayarit is home to vast wildlife and the destination is committed to protecting the animals that call Riviera Nayarit home. For years, jaguars have been affected by issues such as land clearance and illegal hunting. Riviera Nayarit found a solution through the creation of the Jaguar Alliance, a civil association that identified 10.7 million square feet of land as protected areas, ultimately allowing jaguars to maintain habitat connectivity.
The conservation of sea turtles is also widely recognised in Riviera Nayarit as six of the seven species of sea turtles in the world arrive in Mexico each year to nest and lay their eggs. Because many of these are on the endangered species list, Riviera Nayarit has several turtle conservation programmes dedicated to harvesting, hatching and releasing turtles. In support of these conservation programmes, accommodation in Riviera Nayarit is constructed at a purposeful distance from the ocean to allow baby sea turtles to hatch and travel freely.
Beyond wildlife conservation, Riviera Nayarit’s hotel partners are also committed to lead with their best green foot forward year-round. From biodegradable cleaning products to solar water heating, recycling, meticulous beach cleanup, composting and donations to local organisations, many hoteliers are renowned for their environmental and sustainability practices.
CORAL REEF CONSERVATION IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
2020 welcomed the launch of a three-year initiative by Tui to help protect coral reefs in the Dominican Republic.
A partnership between the Tui Care Foundation and UK charity, The Reef-World Foundation, will encourage protection of the sensitive ecosystems. More than 300 people from local businesses will receive specialised training on how to work more sustainably and 2,000 members of the community will also learn about reef protection.
The initiative has also partnered with Reef Check Dominican Republic and the Ministry of Environment to introduce environmentally friendly guidelines promoting sustainable diving and snorkelling. This means that around 65,000 tourists will receive information on coral reef protection and how their sustainable practices will impact the marine tourism industry.
Tui Care Foundation board of trustees chairman Thomas Ellerbeck said: “The Dominican Republic is surrounded by extraordinary coral reefs which constitute a key component of the island’s unique natural heritage and biodiversity. We are very excited to be launching this new project with Reef-World that brings tourists and local community together and puts education at the very centre of future environmentally sustainable solutions.”
ALDERNEY WILDLIFE TRUST PROTECTS ONE OF THE MOST UNIQUE COASTLINES IN THE BRITISH ISLES
Alderney, known as one of the wildest places in the British Isles, is the third largest and most northerly of the Channel Islands, located eight miles off the Normandy coast and a 15-minute flight from Guernsey. The island is recognised for its rich and varied wildlife, including the rare blonde hedgehog, the largest population of Glanville Fritillary butterflies in the British Isles and huge colonies of seabirds, including puffins and storm petrels.
Its spectacular coastline is home to many special birdlife, including Peregrine, Buzzard, Raven & Dartford Warbler, while gannets and fulmars can be seen nesting on the rocks of les Etacs and Ortac along the Alderney coastline.
The Alderney Wildlife Trust (AWT) was founded in 2002 by a group of Alderney residents with the primary purpose of better understanding and preserving the island’s unique natural biodiversity. The AWT provides a range of activities, walks and tours throughout the year for residents and visitors to learn more about the island’s unique environments. For example, from March to October, the AWT’s workboat runs seabird tours of Alderney’s coastline (£25 per adult); from April to October, there are weekly sunset walks to hunt for bats and Alderney’s famous blonde hedgehogs (£6 per adult); and year-round there are bi-weekly conservation volunteering opportunities that visitors can join to help keep the island’s most beautiful countryside open to the public.
COMMUNITY LED AND OWNED TOURISM IN GUYANA
Community led and owned tourism is an ethos in Guyana that has seen indigenous communities throughout the country’s hinterland creating, implementing, and offering their own sustainable tourism initiatives to incoming visitors.
From running the eco-lodges that provide the accommodation to taking visitors out on expertly guided tours to discover Guyana’s mega biodiversity, community led, and owned tourism is a method of sustainably managing the destination. The communities’ low carbon lifestyle, commitment to protecting their ancestral lands and the conservation efforts to protect wildlife make Guyana’s tourism one of the greenest on the planet.
Konashen, for example, is Guyana’s southernmost Amerindian village and a relative newbie to community tourism. The native Wai Wai tribe has sustainable management of local resources as its principle focus in an area that offers prime wildlife observation including that of several endangered species.
The community’s guided treks, some overnight, offer total natural immersion in the dynamic rainforest terrain and may be the key to the area’s long-term survival. Bushmasters (bushmasters.co.uk) offers custom tours to the community and into Konashen Community-Owned Conservation Area.
MEASURING THE CHANGING PYRENEES IN ANDORRA
Andorra, also known as ‘the country of the Pyrenees’, is home to an array of colourful flora, trees and wildlife that are at risk as a result of climate change that has already begun to alter the landscape. In order to prevent further disruption to this alpine world, researchers need to understand the extent of impact of climate change and human encroachment on wildlife in Andorra in order to create sustainable solutions.
Earth Watch, an organisation that connects people and scientists to protect the planet, invites participants to join a project to help understand the ecosystem of mountain environments and the complex network of interactions between Pyrenean plants and wildlife. The expedition offers the opportunity to have a hands-on experience in measuring and researching the changes in Andorra’s alpine world and to what extent human activity has impacted this. Activities will include weighing and measuring small animals, finding the Boreal Owl and other birds such as Coal Tit and Crested Tit by visiting their nest boxes and testing their excrement to analyse the DNA in their diet. The research aims to gain a further understanding on the ecosystem, in particular: which species are involved, why are some more present in some areas than others and how do different life stages of each species intertwine to create a functioning ecosystem.
The expedition experience also includes accommodation - Hotel Bringué in the Valley of Ordino – as well as breakfast, a packed lunch and dinner.
For further information, please visit: https://earthwatch.org/wildlife-changing-andorran-pyrenees-briefing/ Images can be found here
SUSTAINABLE TOURISM MANAGEMENT IN PALMA, MALLORCA
The Balearic Islands’ capital of Palma has outlined its commitment to sustainable tourism management with a series of measures that the tourism board, together with the local authorities, have initiated to address the impact that visitors have on the environment.
In order to achieve the goal of a more sustainable destination, specific measures are:
- New low emission public transport networks; an expanding network of charging points for electric vehicles that enables tourists to move around the city in a more responsible way, either by foot, in electric vehicles, in natural gas-powered buses, by bicycle or on electric scooters.
- Extending the restricted traffic zones to achieve the objective of reducing the number of vehicles driving in the centre of Palma.
- Planting more than 10,000 trees over the next four years to open more green zones in the heart of the city