polar-bears

Should Animals on the Brink of Extinction Be Used to Promote Tourism?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | November 25th, 2013 | 9 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: African elephants, animals, Antarctica, at-risk species, Belize, Canada, Churchill, climate change, Eco Travel, ecotourism, Egypt, endangered-species, environment, extinction, extinction tourism, Galápagos Islands, glaciers, global-warming, habitat destruction, Madagascar, Manitoba, natural-habitat-adventures, nature, poaching, polar-bears, rainforest, Tanzania, tourism, tourists, travel, travelers, UNESCO, wildlife, wolves, Yellowstone National Park

Greenland big ice

I have to admit it: last year, my traveling to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, to see polar bears in the wild was motivated not only by a 10-year anniversary but by a fear that soon the animals could be gone. I go to see glaciers because I’m afraid we’re losing them. And this coming January, I’m returning to Yellowstone National Park to try to photograph our nation’s wolves before they almost completely disappear in the Lower 48 — again.

You could call me an “extinction tourist.”

I’m far from unique. In fact, today people are traveling in ever-greater numbers to see what they think could quickly vanish from the Earth. While just a few years ago travelers might have endeavored to tick off all seven continents or Africa’s Big Five wildlife species, today there’s a certain “cred” given to those who see the landscapes, animals and plants that are just managing to hang on. And tour providers are tapping into that desire with their marketing messages. “See [fill in your favorite endangered animals] before they’re gone!”

But should tourism companies use threatened species as marketing tools? Given our ability to tune out ads, does that minimize the dire circumstances that these animals and environments are now in and dilute the attention that conservation messages might have been able to muster?

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 | tags: Beyond the Hour, biofuels, carbon offsets, climate change, Earth Hour, environment, environmental awareness, fluorescent light bulbs, global-warming, Green Living, interconnectedness, nature, polar-bears, sea turtles, social-media, Tigers, travel, twitter, wildlife, World Watch Institute, World Wildlife Fund

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?

Restore or Protect: Which Environmental Choice Would You Make?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | June 10th, 2011 | 10 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: California, dams, earthquake, earthquake eco restoration, eco restoration, environment, environmental awareness, grassland restoration, Hetch Hetchy Valley, John Muir, nature, pandas, polar-bears, San Francisco, Sierra Club, Tigers, Tuolumne River, wetland restoration, Yosemite National Park

Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite

The Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park was once described by naturalist John Muir as, “A grand landscape garden, one of nature’s rarest and most precious mountain mansions.”

But in 1913, the U.S. Congress authorized the city of San Francisco to construct a dam and reservoir on the Tuolumne River in Hetch Hetchy to ensure that San Francisco would have a dependable water supply. It is said that the act broke John Muir’s heart, and some have even suggested that this great sadness hastened his death in 1914. By 1923, the dam was completed and the valley was flooded under several hundred feet of water.

Today, the Hetch Hetchy Valley, like many of America’s natural landscapes, is at the center of a restoration debate. But is trying to turn back the clock on natural areas we altered long ago the best way to spend environmental funds, especially in these cash-strapped times? Or would working to protect those wild places we still have in their original state be a better use of scant resources?

Will You Miss the Animals You Never Knew?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | April 20th, 2011 | 10 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: bonobo, chimpanzees, China, climate change, conservation, Democratic Republic of Congo, environment, extinction, frogs, giant pandas, global-warming, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, Gulf of California, habitat destruction, International Tiger Forum, mexico, nature, polar-bears, porpoises, species extinction, Tigers, vaquitas, World Wildlife Fund, Year of the Tiger

Polar bear

About four years ago, the U.S. Geological Survey released a projection report stating that two-thirds of the world’s polar bears would be gone by 2050. Their numbers would plummet, stated the report, due to shrinking summer sea ice caused by greenhouse gases. Since that time, images of polar bears have graced water bottles, T-shirts and tote bags. It’s now widely accepted that Ursus maritimus is the poster child for climate change.

We also know of other species in great peril — mostly because of media attention to them. According to the Chinese zodiac, 2010 was the Year of the Tiger, and last November the International Tiger Forum was held in St. Petersburg in the Russian Federation. As the world’s first global summit focused on saving a single species from extinction, the event received widespread news coverage.

Because their likenesses appear on TV screens and spearhead conservation campaigns, chances are that even if you don’t live in tiger or polar bear habitats — where it would at least be possible for you to run into them during your daily life — you would miss them if they disappeared from our planet. But will you mourn the extinction of other species living today if you’ve never heard of them?

Could Plastic Water Bottles Be Better for Nature Enthusiasts?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | December 29th, 2010 | 12 Comments
topic: Detox, Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: bottled water, carbon emissions, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, China, Churchill, CO2, crude oil, Eco Travel, eco-friendly, environment, environmentally friendly, fleece, garbage, Great Pacific Garbage Patch, health, hiking, landfills, nature, nature enthusiasts, oil, pet, plastic, plastic bottles, polar-bears, polyethylene terephthalate, recycling, reusable, stainless steel, stainless steel water bottles, tap, toxins, travel, waste, water bottles

Polar Bear in Chuchill

In the ten years since I’ve been embarking on nature travels, I’ve seen a lot of outdoor gear evolve. Hiking boots, thermal undergarments and GPS units are just some of the items that have undergone striking advances.

But the one essential piece of outdoor equipment that has gone through a gamut of changes, caused the most controversy and been the most intriguing is the water bottle.

Face to Face with Polar Bears in Manitoba

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | November 27th, 2009 | 1 Comment
topic: Eco Travel | tags: arctic, Churchill, excursions, Manitoba, Natural Habitat, natural world, nature, northern lights, polar bear expedition, polar-bears, wild, wild animals, wilderness, wildlife

Looking-in-windowcropped

Credit: Wendy Worrall Redal

I can still feel the Arctic air, sharp and clean. I can see the late-afternoon sunset, a glowing band of gold, then scarlet, then deep rose, lingering on the horizon. I can hear the yip of the sled dogs, avid to dash across the snow. But what remains most vivid in my memories of the past week is the image of my daughter’s face, nose to nose with an enormous polar bear.

What Makes a Nature Photograph “Real”?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | October 16th, 2009 | 9 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: aurora borealis, digital photos, Eco Travel, eco-travelers, images, Matthew B. Brady, nature photography, northern lights, photo illustration, photography, polar-bears, Time magazine, wilderness, wildlife, wolf

Bearfeature

“After” photo: ship is gone; more highlights (see the “Before” photo below). ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

It looked perfect through the lens. I had the shot all lined up: blue mountain in the background, a rocky trail winding through the middle, and wildflowers in the foreground that made up two-thirds of the composition. I rotated the polarizing filter just enough so that I had a bright blue sky. Click.

See ‘Earth,’ Then See 8 of Earth’s Most Amazing Wildlife Destinations

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | May 7th, 2009 | 2 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living, Inspirational Media | tags: africa, antarctic, arctic, climate change, conservation, Disney, earth, eco-travel destinations, endangered-species, Film, movie, penguins, polar-bears, spirit bear, whale watching, wildlife

whales-of-baja-c2a9mike-bruscia1

Disneynature’s acclaimed new film Earth presents the most spectacular 100 minutes of wildlife footage I have ever seen. The film reunites directors Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield, who produced the award-winning BBC series “Planet Earth,” in a new venture that brings equally stunning images to the big screen.

Living Roundup: Ozone Hole on eBay, Trees Lower Asthma & More

Gaiam Staff by Gaiam Staff | May 2nd, 2008 | No Comments
topic: Conscious Living News | tags: asthma, chocolate, ebay, environment, lawn, ozone, polar-bears, spirituality, trees, vegetarian

Every week we highlight the best articles, blogs, news, videos and interesting Web tidbits to help you live green, be healthy, and connect with your sense of spirituality. Read our roundup for info that just helps you live better.

The Ozone Hole Auctioned on eBay