Eco Travel | pg.3

Is Neuro-Conservation the New Hope for Environmental Messages?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | April 24th, 2012 | 13 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: attention deficit disorder, climate change, conservation, Eco Travel, environment, environmental media, environmentalism, forests, fossil fuels, global-warming, Great Pacific Garbage Patch, green, Green Living, green settings, happiness, health, HOPE, hopeful, hopefulness, nature, neuro-conservation, public health, travel, well-being, wellness

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 | 4 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: African safari, Botswana, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, camping, conservation, Eco Travel, ecotourism, elephants, endangered-species, Gorilla Forest Camp, Great Plains Conservation, green-travel, Himba tribe, Kalamu Star Bed Camp, Kalamu Walking Trail, Kenya, Leleshwa Camp, lions, Masai Mara game reserve, mountain gorillas, Namibia, National Geographic, natural-habitat-adventures, night sky, Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge, sea turtles, Serra Cafema, South Africa, stars, summer vacation, The Last Lions, Tigers, treehouses, Uganda, wildlife safari, Zambia, Zarafa Camp

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.

As Hunter Numbers Decline, How Will We Fund Wildlife Conservation?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | February 1st, 2012 | 86 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: Aldo Leopold, American bison, bird watching, birds, conservation, conservation funding, Crex Meadows, deer, Eco Travel, elk, extinction, fees, fishing license, George Bird Grinnell, Gifford Pinchot, gray wolves, hunting license, money, nature, ruffed grouse, species extinction, sturgeon, Theodore Roosevelt, turkeys, wildlife management, wildlife viewing, Wisconsin, wolves, Yellowstone National Park

Whether you’re an avid sportsman or purely a wildlife-watcher, it’s a fact that the animals, birds and fish you endeavor to see are “paid for” mostly by hunters. Those who engage in hunting, fishing and trapping are the major contributors to conservation funds in almost every state. Surprisingly, the monies animal-viewers and birdwatchers donate to conservation efforts rarely add up to even a third or a half of what hunters put into department of natural resources funds — even though watchers greatly outnumber them.

In my own state of Wisconsin, deer-hunting licenses and permits generated $22.7 million in revenue for the department of natural resources in 2010. And in most years, an excise tax on hunting equipment provides an additional $10 million to the state for wildlife management — in one case, supplying $400,000 to study and prepare for the likely arrival of a deadly bat disease. The problem is, however, that the number of hunters — along with anglers and trappers — is declining. And it promises to keep decreasing as the population ages.

So as the economy tightens, causing state and federal budgets for wildlife conservation to continue to be cut, and if younger people are not taking up hunting and fishing, where will future environmental monies come from? 

Chill Out! 5 Winter Travel Adventures to Celebrate the Cold

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | January 25th, 2012 | 2 Comments
topic: Eco Travel | tags: Absolut Ice Bar, alaska, Arctic Circle, aurora borealis, Canada, China, Churchill, cold weather, dog sledding, Eco Travel, eco-friendly travel, gray wolves, Greenland, Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, ice hotel, ice sculptures, IceHotel, Japan, Manitoba, natural-habitat-adventures, northern lights, Quebec Winter Carnival, Sapporo Snow Festival, snow sculptures, Swedish Lapland, winter travel, Yellowstone National Park

Dog SledWith a few exceptions, much of the U.S. has been experiencing an unseasonably warm and dry winter. While that may make some people happy, those of us who welcome snow, sweaters, skating and skiing are missing winter’s frosty grip.

If you’re feeling as blah as the brown landscape outside, consider a mid-winter adventure to colder climes. There’s nothing like nature beauteously transformed by an icy white veneer to lift even the most listless spirit. From dog sledding to tracking wolves, sleeping in an ice hotel and watching the Northern Lights, cold-weather travel is all kinds of cool!

Are Social Media Sites Fueling a Growing Disrespect for Wildlife?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | November 21st, 2011 | 25 Comments
topic: Eco Travel | tags: "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, bison, blue whale, Eco Travel, environment, ethics, facebook, Great Barrier Reef, humpback whales, kayakers, nature, nature photography, photography, social-media, southeast Alaska, Steller sea lions, taking pictures, travel, twitter, video, wild animals, wildlife, Yellowstone National Park, YouTube

zodiac with whale

Two kayakers paddling off Redondo Beach, south of Los Angeles, got the thrill of a lifetime recently — the kind that most of us will never experience. They met a blue whale, the largest creature on Earth.

The 50-foot cetacean came within arm’s reach of the small kayak. But, not content with this closest of encounters, Rick Coleman, one of the kayakers, plunged into the water for a face-to-face session with the whale — all the while keeping his video camera running. Of course, that video soon appeared on YouTube and the inevitable interviews on TV news shows followed.

In many of those interviews, the Colemans (Susan Coleman was the second kayaker) made the comment that it is important to remember to always approach wild animals with the “utmost respect.”

But is pulling your kayak up to a blue whale and then jumping into the water next to it showing respect for wildlife — or is it more indicative of a desire for renown?

Should the Wealthy Buy Wild Lands to Save Them?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | October 13th, 2011 | 45 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: Canada lynx, conservation, Douglas Tompkins, Eco Travel, environment, environmental protection, environmentalism, environmentalist, French Polynesia, Marlon Brando, national parks, nature, parks, Paul Allen, preservation, private islands, Pumalin Park, Richard Bailey, Tetiaroa, Washington State, wild places, wildlife

Patagonia

When one of America’s best-known and finest actors, Marlon Brando, bought his own private island in 1966, people generally wrote the news off as just another eccentric act by the rich. Until his death in July 2004 at the age of 80, Brando “owned” Tetiaroa, a 2.5-square-mile atoll in the South Pacific, 37 miles north of Tahiti. (He obtained a 99-year lease to it from the French Polynesian government.)

Brando was a nature purist and hoped Tetiaroa would be part environmental laboratory — mostly for sea turtles — and part modest eco-resort. In a will he signed in 1982, he put Tetiaroa in a trust so it could be preserved for posterity. “If I have my way,” he once wrote in a memoir, “Tetiaroa will remain forever a place that reminds Tahitians of who they are and what they were centuries ago.” His wish was to keep the island from becoming overly developed and in as natural a state as possible.

Would You Live Next Door to a (Non-Human) Predator?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | September 16th, 2011 | 54 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: alaska, animals, bear attacks, biodiversity, bison, bison attack, coast, coastal habitats, Eco Travel, ecosystems, elk, encroach, encroachment, endangered-species, environment, food chain, forests, grizzly bears, habitat destruction, humans, Montana, mountains, National Science Foundation, nature, Nebraska, Northwoods, population, predators, sea otters, sea urchins, sharks, shellfish, terriroty, threatened species, travel, trophic cascade, wild, wild animals, wilderness, wildlife, wildlife corridors, wolf, wolf attack, wolves, Yellowstone National Park

Grizzly Bears

This summer — like almost every summer for the past decade or so — was rife with headlines about people being assaulted by wild animals. “Seven teens attacked by grizzly in Alaska’s Talkeetna Mountains,” read a headline in the Anchorage Daily News on July 25, 2011. And, “Two teenagers have life-threatening injuries after being mauled by a grizzly bear while on a survival skills course in the Alaskan wilderness,” the first line of a Guardian feature informed us.

The italics on the words “mountains” and “wilderness” above, however, are mine. I think it noteworthy where these events took place. Against our ever-increasing penchant for developing remote areas and fragmenting wildlife corridors, the world’s largest predators have been squeezed onto smaller and smaller pockets, with nowhere to go but the mountains and the wilderness. Today, grizzlies, wolves, tigers and lions are having trouble finding room to be grizzlies, wolves, tigers and lions. And, without them, our planet is in big trouble.

14 Stellar Spots to See the Stars

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | August 19th, 2011 | No Comments
topic: Eco Travel | tags: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, archaeoastronomy, Arizona, astronomy, astrophotography, Atacama Desert, Australia, Bryce Canyon National Park, California, camping, celestial, Chaco Canyon, Chaco Culture National Historic Park, Cherry Springs State Park, Chile, conservation, Eco Travel, ecotourism, europe, Flagstaff, galaxies, Galloway Forest Park, Goldendale Observatory State Park, Green Living, Haleakala National Park, hawaii, hiking, Hungary, International Dark Sky Association, International Dark Sky Community, Lake Tekapo, light pollution, Mackinaw City, Maui, Mauna Kea, Milky Way, Mont-Megantic International Dark Sky Reserve, Mount Cook, Mount Haleakala, National Park Service, New Mexico, New Zealand, NSW, Pennsylvania, planets, protection, Quebec, Scotland, stargazing, Starlight, stars, telescope, The Headlands, trip, UK, UNESCO Starlight Reserve, United Kingdom, urban sprawl, Utah, vacation, Washington, Wiruna, Zselic Starry Sky Park

Milky Way from Atacama Desert, Chile

Ecotourism often focuses on vanishing natural resources, such as rainforests and glaciers. It’s not often, though, that we think of looking up when we ponder the fate of the natural world under threat. Yet the starry night sky is disappearing as rapidly from human experience as vast tracts of the Amazon or the Arctic ice cap.

Light pollution is growing at the rate of four percent per year, according to the International Dark Sky Association. It is so pervasive that if you were to stand on the observation deck of the Empire State Building, you would see less than one percent of the stars that Galileo Galilei saw through his telescope in 1610.

Part One of this series explored the movement to protect the earth’s natural nightscapes. Here in Part Two, you’ll find suggestions for stargazing destinations that will open up the universe to whole new realms of perception. Escape the orange glow of interstates, car dealerships and mall parking lots, and discover the wonders of our twinkling galaxy!

Are You Willing to Lose Trees to Gain Views?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | August 16th, 2011 | 6 Comments
topic: Eco Travel | tags: Ansel Adams, bats, birds, British Columbia, conservation, cutting trees, Eco Travel, ecology, El Capitan, environment, giant sequoias, Half Dome, John Muir, nature, protection, scenic views, Scenic Vista Management Plan, tourists, travel, trees, Tunnel View, visitors, waterfalls, wildlife, Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

“These darn trees are in the way of my view of nature,” joked one of my guides on a trip to British Columbia a few years back. We had stopped during a hike on a forested esker and were trying to look through the woods to a lake far below. We couldn’t see it through the dense foliage. Of course, his comment made us all laugh. Little did we know then that such an absurd idea would years later — this fall, in fact — become a reality in Yosemite National Park.

Starting later this year, thousands of trees will be cut down in Yosemite to provide better views of the famous granite faces, such as El Capitán and Half Dome, and the breathtaking waterfalls, such as Bridalveil or Yosemite Falls, that ring the valley. But the sounds of lumberjacks and the sights of downed trees — felled only for the purpose of providing better photo ops — are somehow discomfiting in a national park, prompting some to ask, “Why must so many succumb to the saw?”

Unplugged: How to Justify a Totally Offline Vacation

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | August 3rd, 2011 | 7 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: cell phones, e-mail, Eco Travel, facebook, family vacation, Internet, iPods, leave your technology behind, live in the moment, natural beauty, natural world, nature, offline, technology, vacation, wi-fi, wireless

creek-out-of-long-lake-cropped

I knew I had a problem with my Facebook addiction when I kept thinking of last weekend’s camping trip as a series of status reports:

Wendy Worrall Redal

… swore she would not camp in a tent in the rain again, and here she is.

… can’t believe she spent the last two hours trying to get flames out of a smoking fire made with wet wood.

… thinks the finest aroma in the world is the scent of alpine firs.

… is amazed at the lush profusion of wildflowers in the meadow next to Long Lake.

Actually, by the time I went hiking to Long Lake, I had been away from digital technology altogether for 24 hours, and I wasn’t thinking in terms of my Facebook status by that point. But all those moments offered a telling realization: My daily life — my very psyche — is tethered to mobile digital technology.