Costa Rica

“Natural Capital”: Will Putting a Price on Nature Help Protect It?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | March 19th, 2013 | 7 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: africa, American Forests, Belize, conservation, conserve, Costa Rica, Eco Travel, ecotourism, environment, environmental messages, green settings, green spaces, Guatemala, health, healthy, lions, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, natural capital, Natural Capital Project, nature, preservation, preserve, Tanzania, tourism, travel, U.S.

Oak tree

The benefits of green spaces and natural settings are becoming more apparent all the time: reduced stress, depression and feelings of aggressiveness; an increase in overall happiness; faster post-operative recovery; a decline in ADHD symptoms in children — all of these outcomes have been verified when people spend time in nature. The outdoors make us happier, cause us to be kinder and can even give us bigger brains.

While you could say these kinds of benefits are priceless, there’s a new trend afoot. By assigning a monetary value to natural elements in a healthy environment, it is hoped that governments, businesses and others in positions of power will come to see that protecting nature makes good financial sense.

This concept of pricing ecosystem services and natural features — and allowing them to be bought and sold — is gaining wide acceptance among conservationists. But could this approach end up obscuring the unquantifiable, soul-restoring advantages of natural places and put them at even greater risk?

4 Tips for a Yoga Teacher in Training

Kim Fuller by Kim Fuller | January 2nd, 2013 | 1 Comment
topic: Fitness, Yoga | tags: authentic awareness, body, breakthroughs, challenges, community, connection, Costa Rica, emotional work, expectations, expression, human development, inspiration, knowledge, movement, open heart, passion, personal practice, physical work, presence, Real Evolution Yoga, resistance, teaching, transformation, travel, willing mind, words of wisdom, writer, writing, yoga teacher training, yoga teachers, yoga-practice

Becoming a yoga teacher was never one of my life ambitions.

For over five years, my yoga practice brought me joy and fulfillment, but solely from my studentship. Teachers had always intrigued me with their beauty, strength, confidence and presence, but to actually become a yoga teacher seemed like entering a different realm — one that I thought could not possibly be as blissful as the space on my favorite coral-colored yoga mat.

But every now and then I would think about what it would be like to lead a class, spreading pieces of possibility and shining smiles to all the students. I would cue and they would flow, moving with ease to the perfect music I was playing that matched all the perfect words I was saying.

But then my daydreams would subside, and I would find myself happy to only be responsible for my own moves, my own mind. Why would I want to teach anyway? It would take up so much time. When would I get to do my practice? If I was teaching, I wouldn’t be learning.

But are the two job descriptions — writer and yoga teacher — really that dissimilar? As a writer, my true calling has always been found in the power of connection and inspiration, traits any good yoga teacher should possess. I like to set my own schedule, travel a lot, wear comfy clothes and work in bare feet. I love sharing my insights and experiences, spreading words of wisdom wherever I go.

So, yes, now I am not only a writer. My career of word crafting has united with my passion for movement.

Top 12 Eco-Beach Escapes

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | March 2nd, 2011 | 2 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: Adriatic, American Samoa, Antalya, Atlantic, Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park, Australia, Bai Kem Beach, Baiona, beaches, Beaches of Palawan, Best Beaches in America list, Blue Flag, Blue Wave, Brazil, Brela Beach, Caja de Muertos, car-free, Clean Beaches Council, Coffin Island, conservation, coral, Costa Rica, cove, Croatia, Dalmatian coast, Dr. Beach, East Africa, eco-friendly travel, endangered-species, escape, family, Fernando de Noronha, Fiji, Foundation for Environmental Education, Galicia, getaway, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, holiday, island, Koh Libong, Las Islas Cies, lighthouse, Makarska, marine habitat, Mediterranean, National Healthy Beaches Campaign, national park, National Resources Defense Council, nature, nature reserve, Nungwi Beach, ocean, Ofu Beach, Osa Peninsula, Pacific, Patara Beach, Pelícano Beach, Philippines, Phu Quoc, Phuket, Playa Matapalo, protection, Puerto Rico, rainforest, SAD, Sancho Bay, sand, scuba diving, sea, seaside, snorkeling, Spain, Spice Island, sun, surfing, sustainable resorts, swim, Tanzania, thailand, The Blue Lagoon, tourism, tourists, tropical fish, turkey, Turtle Island, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vietnam, Viti Levu, volcano, water, Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands, wilderness, wildlife, winter vacation, Yasawa Group, Zanzibar

Eco-friendly family beach vacation

While I welcome winter along with all the other skiers and outdoor aficionados here in Colorado, by the end of February I’m ready for a surf and sand break. But cramming onto a crowded beach towel-by-cooler with hundreds of other sunseekers is not my vision of restoring my winter-weary spirit.

When you’re a beach lover and a nature lover, the quest becomes to find those pristine stretches of sand that make you feel you’ve discovered a place where time stops; where the rhythm of sea on shore is the primary sound; where the sun’s slow slide behind the horizon is the only marker of day melding into night. A place like, say, Bai Kem Beach on Phu Quoc, one of 105 islands that comprise this idyllic Vietnamese archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand. Picture a soft, white sugar-sand beach, fringed with slender palms. Phuket, half a century ago. No people. Just total, unspoiled beauty.