Eco Travel | pg.3

Family-Friendly Spa Vacations to Rejuvenate All Ages

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | July 30th, 2012 | 4 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Family Health, Green Living, Health & Wellness

Family Spa Vacation

Sometimes I almost regret introducing my 14-year-old daughter to the delights of massage therapy, since she’s now as avid as I am to enjoy the relief and recalibration that come with a good professional treatment, which rarely comes cheap. Yet as a dancer, runner and dedicated student, she benefits as much as I do from the health advantages of bodywork, or even an occasional pedicure treat for her tired feet.

Lately, I’ve found myself thinking that a mother-daughter spa getaway might be refreshing for both us, and a fun way to connect outside our usual daily routine of overly packed schedules.

Traditionally, spa vacations have been romantic retreats for couples or escapes for harried women who juggle too much. Today, however, as kids’ lives get ever busier and stress becomes an issue that even preteens are dealing with, a family spa experience in a restful setting can accomplish two purposes: vacation time together while nurturing wellness for all ages.

Top 10 Cities for a Nature Escape Close to Home

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | July 20th, 2012 | 2 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living

It’s July, it’s hot, and there’s still a chunk of sizzling summer ahead. Whether or not you’ve already taken a vacation with family or friends, you may be yearning to get out and enjoy the refreshment of cooler green spaces.

But you needn’t spend pricey gas on a trip to the mountains or the shore if you’re fortunate enough to have nature in your neighborhood. Some cities are especially blessed with public green spaces, and a new project called ParkScore can help you find your city’s best natural oases amidst the sprawl of asphalt, subdivisions and strip malls that weary our spirits on sultry summer days.

Should Natural Areas Be Preserved — or Conserved for Our Benefit?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | July 17th, 2012 | 7 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living

Yosemite National Park

In the environmental world, it’s characterized as the classic battle: Should wild areas be preserved for their intrinsic qualities or conserved for their resources? In other words, should nature be used for “the greatest good for the greatest number of people for the longest time,” as nineteenth-century progressive environmentalist Gifford Pinchot put it; or should the wilderness be protected and revered without human intrusions, a view espoused by romantic environmentalist John Muir?

Today, with a burgeoning population encroaching on our remaining wild areas and economic help scarce, many would say that Pinchot’s beliefs are more realistic for the modern world. In fact, there are even those, such as Peter Kareiva, The Nature Conservancy’s chief scientist, who would take Pinchot’s notion a step further: Natural areas must be managed to benefit humans, if they are to survive at all.

Are the Dubai Penguins Ambassadors of the Wild, or Agents of Profit?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | June 18th, 2012 | 2 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living

Penguin in Antarctica

In the hot, desert climate of Dubai on the Arabian Peninsula, 20 penguins are living in comfort, say the managers of Ski Dubai, the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East. The birds reside in a climate-controlled environment, receive the best veterinary care, and never have to worry about lurking predators.

When you visit Ski Dubai, you can pay to have a “penguin encounter,” where you’ll be able to play with and touch the penguins. Representatives of the resort say that these animals are “ambassadors,” teaching patrons about their wild counterparts and the need to conserve their threatened natural habitat, Antarctica.

But can animals that have been born and raised in captivity and habituated to humans in unnatural ways ever be true ambassadors for the natural world? Can they teach us anything about the wild or move us to care for the environments from which they are so distantly removed?

6 Ways to Find Eco-Friendly Restaurants

Jessica Harlan by Jessica Harlan | June 4th, 2012 | 3 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living, Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating

Serving tasteful food

One of the biggest things you can do to support and encourage responsibly raised food is to vote with your wallet. You may be patronizing CSAs and farmers’ markets for local produce, buying organic brands from your supermarket, and studying nutrition labels for evils like high fructose corn syrup and artificial preservatives. But if you’re eating in restaurants blissfully ignorant of where the food on your plate comes from, then you might be undermining your efforts.

Choose the food you eat in restaurants just as wisely as what you choose to eat at home, and your choices will be more likely to influence the foodservice community to change their ways and offer more environmentally friendly choices on their menus. Plus, with restaurants, being green goes beyond the food they serve — restaurants can, and should, be conservative with energy usage, use eco-responsible construction methods, and treat their staff fairly.

Do a little research on the restaurants in your area, or before you travel to other cities, to find businesses that care about the environment. These tips will help you make the best choices:

Yoga & Music in the Mountains: Hanuman Festival, June 8-10, 2012

Gaiam Staff by Gaiam Staff | May 15th, 2012 | No Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Fitness, Gaiam Happenings, Giving Back, Green Living, Yoga

Hanuman Yoga Festival

This June, dust off your travel yoga mat and head to beautiful Boulder, Colo., for the second annual Hanuman Festival! More than your typical yoga retreat, Hanuman combines yoga, music and community, all for some great causes.

When: June 8-10, 2012

Where: Boulder, Colorado, near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains

The yoga: The all-star instructor lineup includes classes with Kathryn Budig, Tommy Rosen, Kia Miller, Amy Ippoliti and many more.

The music: Enjoy concerts featuring Desert Dwellers, Jim Beckwith, Ashlee K Thomas, David Newman (Durga Das), Vamadeva Jaya, DJ Drez, The Pushpams,  David “Duke Mushroom” Schommer and many more. Artists will perform during select yoga classes as well as at scheduled concerts.

The causes:

  • Off the Mat and Into the World, a program that “uses the power of yoga to inspire conscious, sustainable activism and ignite grassroots social change.”
  • The Wellness Initiative, which seeks to “improve the physical health, social and emotional development, and academic performance of low-income youth through yoga-based wellness programs.”
  • Give Back Yoga Foundation supports and fund certified yoga teachers in all traditions to offer the teachings of yoga to under-served and under-resourced socio-economic segments of the community.

Gaiam is especially excited for this event because it’s one of the only yoga festivals to take place right in our own backyard — less than eight miles from our Louisville, Colorado headquarters! Gaiam and Gaiam TV will each have booths at the festival, where participants will be able to check out our newest yoga mats, DVDs and other gear, as well as meet some of your favorite yoga instructors who will be stopping by to say hello or help you perfect your poses.

We chatted with Cara Fogel Ferrick, Hanuman’s sales and marketing director, who gave us the scoop on what sets Hanuman apart (and where that name came from!).

Is Neuro-Conservation the New Hope for Environmental Messages?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | April 24th, 2012 | 12 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living

Letourneau Creek

Big wads of plastic in the ocean that stretch for miles and disintegrating polar ice caps are the kind of news stories that tend to make us feel hopeless regarding conservation efforts. Why bother to change our light bulbs to compact fluorescents if our planet’s imminent demise is a speeding train that can’t be stopped?

The reason we have these feelings is probably the work of environmentalists themselves. They’re sending the wrong messages, if you ascribe to the new field of neuro-conservation.

Instead of focusing the spotlight on results of scientific studies that prove our planet is rapidly warming, or on statistics about alarming species extinction rates, they should be talking about how an ocean view will make us feel happy or standing among trees will arouse our feelings of peacefulness.

After all, selling us emotions is what marketing professionals have been doing for decades. They know that we don’t just buy a car; we buy how that car makes us feel — wealthier, greener or more in control. Using the tenets of neuro-conservation may just be the boost that environmentalists need to gain support for their causes in a world that’s overrun with more scientific data than we know what to do with — or pay attention to.

6 African Safari Eco-Camps to Take Your Breath Away

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | April 5th, 2012 | 3 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living

Elephant at Zarafa Camp, Botswana

If you’re contemplating an African safari, no doubt it’s the extraordinary wildlife that’s top draw. But many safari camps and lodges are highlights in their own right. While most are not for the faint of budget, they are peerless when it comes to enhancing the “trip of a lifetime”!

As more safari operations “go green” by committing to environmental and community sustainability, the selection of alluring eco-minded camps and lodges continues to grow. Here are six that will have you online in a heartbeat to secure your deluxe tent beneath the stars — or at least daydreaming about it.

Hydropower Dams: Clean Energy Source or Threat to Wildlife?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | March 17th, 2012 | 2 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living

Bald Eagle

Your city or town probably either has a large, brand-new hydropower dam or you know of an old one, located on the outskirts; a crumbling relic from an earlier period in your state’s history. I know this because according to the national nonprofit conservation organization American Rivers, on average our country has constructed one dam every day since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. And the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers counts approximately 75,000 dams that are greater than six feet along the waterways of the United States. In addition, there are at least tens of thousands of smaller dams spanning our rivers and streams.

Whichever version of the structure is in your area, it seems that dams divide us. While some regard them as a clean energy source, others view them as a danger to river otters and fish populations.

So, are our dams good for the environment, or a threat to wildlife? 

Earth Hour 2012: Will Giving 60 Minutes for the Planet Matter?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | March 2nd, 2012 | 5 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living

Sea turtel

To support what’s being billed as the “largest environmental event in history,” all you have to do is turn off your lights for one hour on Saturday, March 31, at 8:30 p.m., your local time. That’s it. It’s probably the easiest thing you’ve ever been asked to do for the planet and the natural world.

The request is a simple one because the World Wildlife Fund, the organizer of Earth Hour, is counting on millions of other people to do the same thing in a cascade around the globe, from New Zealand to Hawaii. And by using the power of our digital interconnectedness throughout the world, it’s hoped we’ll make a bigger statement — via social media — to those in positions of power about our concern regarding the Earth’s changing climate and the effect it’s having, especially on wildlife such as polar bears, tigers and sea turtles.

But in the end, will Earth Hour — and the 60 minutes you spend in the dark — really make a difference?