Reflections on Ecotourism (4)

The Elephant in the Room.

An issue I want to return to at a later date (so why am I putting it right at the beginning of the post ? Good question !) is the incredible lack of ecotourism destinations / facilities / accommodations in what is generally referred to as the industrialised, or western world.

I attended the Reisepavillonalternative travel show in Stuttgart last January, with a wonderful ecotourism provider from Ireland. I spent ages trying to find a sustainable tourism place to stay near the venue (or even not so near). I could not find anything. So just for fun, I widened the search criteria out to cover the whole of the wonderful Black Forest region, all the way down to the Swiss border and Lake Constance (Bodensee). Nothing. So we stayed in a  multi-national hotel chain joint.

Anyway, we’ll return to that. If you can vouch for a worthwhile ecotourism place in Western Europe, send me the details. And no, don’t tell me just about a nice place that’s in the countryside. Stay genuine.

Anyway, the beast to which I allude above is today’s story.

Why is it that we talk so much about ecotourism (and let’s face it, there are more and more doing so) in far off places ?  There is no doubt that this is one of the major conundrums of ecotourism.

While ecotourism wants us to ‘go easy’ on resources, step up conservation efforts, help ‘local’ providers, like accommodation, food and guiding, nevertheless it invites us to jump on to multi-national owned aircraft and belch out more than our fair share of GHG into the atmosphere, all in the name of patronising a far off ecotourism venture. Maybe we should talk a bit more about local ‘local’ providers, rather than far flung ‘locals’ in Costa Rica, Ecuador, or wherever.

This is a big issue and, if anything, it allows green-washing to proliferate, since we (ecotourism folk) continue to turn a blind eye to this particularly large elephant in the room.

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Spring Yoga Programme

Here is the spring programme for yoga and other fabulous classes at Blaney Spa & Yoga Centre in Co. Fermanagh. Gabriele will welcome you all, of that I’m sure. Knock yourself out !

Follow this Blog

I came across this blog, the diary of a US ecotourism consultant on a project in Bangladesh to help out with the creation of an ecotourism strategy for a rural area on the Bay of Bengal.

Megan Epler Wood is the founder and past president of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES). She does work for the World Bank and USAID, among others.

A Day in the Life of an Ecotourism Consultant

Sustainable Electricity Consumption

Ok, so let me start by admitting that electricity consumption in this house is too high. But then again, by national standards, probably not. So no, I’m certainly not blowing my trumpet.

What these figures do show, however, is that any “regular” Irish or Western world family can make improvements and reduce its electricity consumption.

So here are my figures :

kWh consumption

2005 – 6,431

2006 – 6,314

2007 – 5,023

2008 – 5,012

I think that’s a pretty good reduction over 4 years. I hope you’ll agree. I’ve also decreased our dependence on oil for heating, by installing a wood burning stove in one part of the house, reducing the reuirement for OFCH and by reducing the temperature on the thermostat, with the same result.

As Ben Stiller’s character in Starsky and Hutch would put it, “Do it !”.