Monthly Archives: December 2013

Coron, a GREEN sanctuary

 

TCI CB Series IV FB Cover teaser

The following is a re-post from an article by Ms. Chit Juan, Social Enterpreneur & Sustainability advocate Managing Partner of Echo Store (see our related blog on green products & gift ideas), one of SSTDI-The Coron Initiative Resource Experts.  

CORON A green sanctuary

MANILA, Philippines – I remember Boracay in the early 1990s when it was lights out at 9 p.m., and you needed flashlights if you wanted to stroll along the shore after sunset, and resorts had ceiling fans and no air conditioning. Coron reminds me of such a time. And how I wish it would remain this way for a long time.

For daytrippers, you can dock your banca at Smith Beach where the boatmen from Al Linsangan’s cooperative will cook up a quick healthy lunch of grilled squid and local fish, and some pork too if you wish. The boatmen come to the beach complete with reusable plates and utensils so as not to litter the beach with disposable plastic utensils. And they encourage you to take as many pictures as you wish while they fix lunch.

After lunch, you board the boat to view Kayangan Lake, a steep 70-step climb in the forest where you are gifted with beautiful postcard views of the lakes of Coron. The island has many nooks and crannies, and snorkel spots like Twin Peaks, Siete Pecados, which responsible eco guides can lead you to. Beware that there are many tricycle drivers and boatmen posing as guides. There are about 40 licensed guides in Coron, and it would be more responsible to pay the proper fees for a proper guide. I wish that the local government is able to control the number of huts situated in the lake. The lake is actually best left to be managed by its original inhabitants, the Tagbanua, because they know how to preserve their environs.

You could also go by paddle boat (I do not know how long it would take to paddle from Coron town to the island though) so as not to disturb the animals that have the island as their natural habitat. Visitors should also not use insect repellents, lotions and other chemical products that could leech into the pristine waters, which are so clear you would surely be tempted to jump in.

To keep Coron as virgin as possible, a group of eco advocates have joined together to form the movement called The Coron Initiative. The movement seeks to teach tour guides to be eco guides, to teach resort owners how to buy green and serve green products, to teach boatmen how to preserve nature and to rally everyone to help save Coron from becoming another commercial destination.

A day trip may not be enough to see Coron island as it has many beaches and snorkel sites. A few more days are needed, too, to explore the rest of the Calamianes Islands – Culion, Linapacan, Coron and Busuanga – and that is just for a quickie view. Even Coron natives still have not explored all their neighboring isles.

What is important is to be a responsible tourist if we are to keep Coron and the rest of the islands pure and green. When we go on these trips, we should not expect city life and comfort. Rather, we should live as the natives do. We should all help in maintaining the peace and quiet of these islands. And of course, help in keeping it green and unadulterated.

There are eco advocates who have joined the movement and you may be better off seeing them on your visit to make sure you are with the green people:

Al Linsangan III is the community leader and head of Calamianes Culture Conservation Network Inc. He also operates responsible and eco-friendly green tours.

Hilbert Enriquez is a locavore and restaurant owner who infuses local flavor in his cuisine at Santino’s Grill.

Ivan Fernandez operates eco-friendly Coron Village Lodge and has adopted green ways like  using used cooking oil for their candles, retrofitting their lodges with eco-friendly materials, etc.

Rene Villegas shares his knowledge about Biology with the eco tour guides, promotes closed season fishing which is three days before and after the New Moon so we can save our favorite fish made into the famous lamayo danggit.

Eric Raymundo has volunteered his personal time to teach resort owners how to be energy efficient at the lowest price possible.

Caloy Libosada teaches tour guides how to be eco-friendly and how to appreciate birds and birdwatching as a tour possibility.

Chin Fernandez, another birdwatcher and Darayonan Lodge operator, promotes birdwatching tours.

PJ Aranador shares with resort developers how to be more efficient in using native materials while keeping the Tagbanua culture in their designs, rather than taking inspiration from Bali or other cultures.

Susan Santos de Cardenas is the moving force behind Sustainable Tourism initiative and has helped CCCNI find partners in the international community despite her being Japan-based.

And the chieftain himself of the Tagbanuas, Rodolfo, who joined our conference (The Green Leaders Forum last July 1 and 2, see related story) to get everyone on the same page while guiding The Coron Initiative members in respecting the ways and customs of the indigenous tribe.

There are many more advocates who can help preserve Coron and its sister islands and many more who can join the movement even while being a tourist or an investor. There are 688 more islands available for sale or investment and we wish developers would toe the line in keeping virgin islands like Coron the way they were when we found them. Let’s make it not just more fun in the Philippines, but greener too.

Take a green trip to Coron, Palawan, Philippines, site of The Coron Initiative– a UNEP APFED showcase program on Sustainable Tourism  Development & Stewardship, the Philippines’ first sustainable tourism program.  For more information and travel assistance please visit our Green Travel Exchange or contact us.   

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Educational programs for hotels, destinations – LGUs, host communities,  private stakeholders and the grassroots and tour operators with Global Sustainable Tourism Council criteria. Training programs for Destinations, Hotels, Tour Operators and Industry in general include Environmental ConservationGood Governance, Climate Resilience. The objective is to address global challenges of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals: poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and climate change. WASTE TO ENERGY solutions are now offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us.

5 Ways Modern Hotels Can Use Renewable Energy

Climate Change Mitigation 101 –  our series on Climate Mitigation for Sustainable Tourism 

Foreword. The tourism industry has a key role to play in confronting the challenges of climate change. There is now a clear understanding that the travel sector can be part of the solution to the global warming crisis, by reducing its green house gas emissions as well as by helping the communities where tourism represents a major economic source to prepare for and adapt to the changing climate. Mitigation in the tourism sector can be achieved by reducing energy use, through changing travel behavior, by improving energy efficiency, increasing the use of renewable energy, carbon offsetting strategies, as well as changes in business practices.  In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, not only the typhoon devastated Estancia, Iloilo but also second man-made disaster, an oil spill from a bunker fuel barge has wrought havoc to the town and its surrounding seas.   In this guest blog post, by Sam Marquit, of Fair Marquit Value, we show how the tourism industry, in particular the hospitality sector, can use renewable energy. 

5 Ways Modern Hotels Can Use Renewable Energy

Companies throughout the world are beginning to use renewable sources of energy. Renewable power, including wind and hydroelectric power, are set to rise by 40 percent over the following five years. Energy Department records already show that renewable energy accounted for 12 percent of United States electricity over the past year. Of this 12%, 5% came from wind and solar sources while 7% was taken from hydroelectric plants. It’s clear that renewable energy is here to stay as more companies embrace it. In this group, the travel industry stands out. Here’s a look at how renewable power is being used by the travel industry to lower operating costs and support a sustainable future.

Daluyon Resort Beach_ZCR & Asean Green Hotel Awardee

Daluyon Beach Resort, Zero Carbon Resorts member and ASEAN Green Hotel Awardee

Solar Energy

The solar energy industry is set to grow to $65 billion by 2016. Today, three-quarters of solar installations in the United States are less than two-and-a-half years old. Hotels of all sizes are quickly taking to this technology. One 16-room boutique hotel, which invested $80,000 in its solar panels, cut its energy bills by 60 percent, or $1,000 per month. Although solar power installations can take as long as a decade to pay for themselves, more hotels are choosing this option.

Green Hotels Best Practices: low impact, efficient energy

Green Hotels Best Practices: low impact efficient energy management & savings

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is ready to double in size as countries around the world embrace it. In Reno, Nevada, the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino heats itself with a geothermal aquifer located 4,400 beneath the surface of the desert. As much as 1,200 gallons per minute are heated this way, saving the company about $2 million each year compared it’s previous natural gas heating. For now, the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino is unique for its sole use of geothermal heating. This area is certainly a hotbed of green innovation especially within the hotel industry. Hotels in the area are continuing to be built and all are green structures.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Travel+Leisure Global Vision Awards Winner

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Travel+Leisure Global Vision Awards Winner

Bio Fuels

Biodiesel is quickly becoming more popular, and the U.S. economy reaped about $4 billion from it in the past year. The Hilton Stockholm Slussen, in Sweden, turns its organic waste into biodiesel at a nearby plant. Increasingly, the biodiesel that results from this and similar projects in Sweden are powering the nation’s vehicles.

Eco Agri Bio Fuel Implements

Eco Agri Bio Fuel Implements

 

Reuse

Waste management is an important issue at hotels, which are increasingly running programs to reuse linens and towels. Guests can choose to dry their towels and keep the same bed linens rather than getting new ones each day. To deal with waste from gardens and kitchens, the Taj Hotel’s Mahal Palace in India is sending waste to biogas plants and even offering facility tours to guests.

Nature's Village Resort, Negros Occidental, ASEAN Green Hotel Awardee

Nature’s Village Resort, Negros Occidental, ASEAN Green Hotel Awardee

Wind Energy

Companies such as Warren Buffet’s MidAmerican Energy Company are building billions of dollars worth of wind farms. In Kansas, a hotel was destroyed by a tornado, but its owner rebuilt a greener version of the hotel with wind energy that covers half of its electricity bill each month.

Six Senses Resort Con Dao Vietnam, Multi-awarded Eco Lodge & Sustainable hotel

Six Senses Resort Con Dao Vietnam, Multi-awarded Eco Lodge & Sustainable hotel

Renewable energy sources are becoming popular with consumers and companies around the globe. Hotels, which are major energy consumers, have taken a lead in embracing these new sources of energy. Along with saving money, renewable energy sources boost customer perception of hotels and support a healthier future for everyone.

 

Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated Coron. An opportunity to switch to Renewable Energy.

Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated Coron. An opportunity to switch to Renewable Energy.

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

 

 

Climate change mitigation in the tourism sector

An excerpt from the UNEP Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in the Tourism Sector. 

Boracay White Beach is gone! Photo via The Asahi Shimbun

Tourism threatening white sand beaches, coral reefs in Asia. Photo via The Asahi Shimbun

Tourists are traveling more often and to more distant destinations, using more energy-intensive, fossil fuel-based transport and the sector’s greenhouse gas (GHG) contribution has increased to 5 percent of global emissions. Other unsustainable practices, such as excessive water use, waste generation, and habitat encroachment are threatening ecosystems, biodiversity, and local culture.

But if done right, tourism can be a positive force for both the local economy and the environment. Sustainable Tourism aims to reduce poverty by creating local jobs and stimulating local business, while establishing ecologically sustainable practices that preserve resources and reduce pollution. Currently, only a minimal of tourism profits touches the people living in and near tourist destinations. Increasing local involvement can not only generate income but also encourage communities to protect their environment.

Boracay Island Garbage. Photo via The Asahi Shimbun

Boracay Island Garbage. Photo via The Asahi Shimbun

Investing in energy efficiency and waste management can reduce GHG emissions and pollution and also save hotel owners and service providers money. Under the right circumstances, natural areas, biodiversity, and cultural heritage—three of the main reasons people travel in the first place—can all reap the benefits of sustainable tourism.

Boracay Island Drainage on White Beach. Photo Via The Asahi Shimbun.

Boracay Island Drainage on White Beach. Photo Via The Asahi Shimbun.

The sustainability of coastal tourism destinations depends partly on their ability to adapt planning and management practices to the impacts of climate change and also to increase their ability to reduce disaster risks.

Why The Boracay Initiative? To save  Boracay Island from more Environmental Degradation

Why The Boracay Initiative? To save Boracay Island from more Environmental Degradation

Climate Change Mitigation refers to efforts to reduce or prevent emission of greenhouse gases.  Mitigation can mean using new technologies and renewable energies, making older equipment more energy efficient, or changing management practices or consumer behavior. Protecting natural carbon sinks like forests and oceans, or creating new sinks through silviculture or green agriculture are also elements of mitigation.

Mitigation by the Tourism sector can be achieved by reducing energy use, through changing travel behavior, by improving energy efficiency, increasing the use of renewable energy, carbon offsetting strategies, sustainable destination planning and management, tour operators’ choice of destinations and packaging of travel products, as well as other changes in business practices.

TCI CB Series II- Green Leaders Forum, July 2013

Learn to Lead the Green Way forward: Green Leaders Forum: Green Hotels, Zero Carbon Resorts, Sustainable Design and Purchasing

A number of studies present strategies available for increasing the effectiveness of mitigation activities in relation to tourism and climate change. Best practices from case studies for different stakeholders and local context have been formed as a guide to mitigation tools, covering techniques, policies and measures in various scenarios. Various mitigation strategies in the transportation and accommodation sectors as well as for tour operators, consumers and destinations have long been available and should be implemented.

The Coron Initiative Sustainable Tourism Capacity Building Program

The Coron Initiative UNEP APFED Showcase Program for Sustainable Tourism Development and Stewardship, Environmental Conservation and CSR

The overall objective of climate change mitigation strategies, policies and activities in the tourism sector is to contribute to the achievement of “carbon neutrality” in the sector. For hospitality and tourism establishments, “carbon neutrality” can be defined as a set of policies that it uses when it estimates its known greenhouse gas emissions, takes measures to reduce them, and purchases carbon offsets to “neutralize” those emissions that remain. Carbon neutrality signifies an establishment that has a zero net contribution of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. This includes all activities directly controlled by the company, including travel, purchasing of goods and services, and daily behavior of staff. Carbon neutrality can be achieved by improving the way the organization operates (e.g. through “green” procurement), by improving efficiency of operations (e.g. communications and meetings) and equipment (e.g. vehicle transport and building). Carbon neutrality also recognizes offsetting as an option (last resort) to achieve full neutrality.

Eco Friendly Products by EchoStore.

Eco Friendly, Sustainably Sourced, All local products by EchoStore.

The Tourism Sector is composed of a wide range of businesses, from small, local operations that service a single local market to very large transport, hotel and tour operator companies that serve global markets across entire regions and which sell or facilitate millions or tens of millions of tour packages to foreign destinations each year. The industry provides tourists with products and services such as accommodation, transport, food and drink, attractions to visit, and souvenirs to purchase.

Fresh Start Organics Negros Occidental Organic Farm and Products Showcase

Fresh Start Organics, Negros Occidental Organic Farm and Products Showcase

It is clear that the industry shapes demand through its marketing strategies, but consumers (tourists) ultimately make the final choices. Recognizing that tourists have an important role in creating business interest in sustainable tourism products, the sector must consider mitigation options and should be increasingly proactive in addressing climate change.

The Coron Initiative espouses Clean and Renewable Energy to mitigate effects of  vulnerable Coron & Calamianes islands.

Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated Coron. An opportunity to switch to Renewable Energy.

How can the hospitality industry apply climate mitigation through Renewable Energy?  See our next blog post! 

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

Green buying and gifts guide

Note: First published in December 2010, we have updated this blog with some news and great green items! Enjoy!

Deck the halls with boughs of holy, fa la lala… ti’s the season of extreme enterprise just like everywhere in the globe. For a non-Christian country, Japan celebrates Christmas to the max, but not for traditional or religious reasons. Not to mention that most Christmas trees and decor are depressing blue color lights, though thankfully have low energy consumption! Singapore inaugurated the Orchard Christmas light up with no less than their President, a national event to herald shopping hoarders.  In the Philippines, they put up the Yuletide trimmings as early as September, to bring the holiday cheers early amidst typhoon time. It’s simply a silly spell of trash and bash for profitable purposes. So before your Christmas becomes just a blur of stress and duress, get guided by these holiday eco ethos and lighten your impact to the environment.

eco-friendly-green-gifts

1. Buy green gifts.  Consider eco-friendly and socially-conscious products and think about impact and environment when buying gifts. Remember the environmental effort and message gives more meaning, so look for a green approach for each gift: i.e. organic products, reusable, recyclable and really useful, like products from Handmade Gallery (photo below.)

Handmade Gallery Useful Gift.

2. Reuse, reduce & recycle. Be creative in practicing these principles: reuse gift wrappers, reduce waste, recycle unused gift items and give them off. These 3Rs in gift giving is not only economical but less stressful!

Echo Store Gift Bag

3. Eco shopping bags. Bring your reusable shopping bags when heading out to your gift buying spree this season and avoid plastic bags abound. Check out these ideas from Echo Store, Serendra, Philippines.

Reusable gift box from Echo Store

Reusable Gift basket from Echo Store

Reusable Gift basket from Echo Store

4. Shop online. Save fuel and energy. Instead of charging out in traffic and lining up kilometric queues in stores, shop online instead! Items purchased online can be delivered straight to your recipient, so it can also cut down effort in personal delivery and again, fuel in driving around to give those gifts!

Save energy, avoid rush crowds, buy online!

5. Cool gift certificates. Instead of buying ordinary gifts, buy something special like a concert ticket, spa certificate, book club or gym trial and the like.  Your friend will think of you as a cool and considerate giver.

Green Gift-GCsBuy Green Gifts for a Cause.

6. Gift of charity. As a great alternative to buying another picture frame, mug or socks for the person who may not need more of the same, give them the gift of charity, a donation to an environmental project or to any other organization for the needy. Donate to these charities or purchase gift cards in their name.

Green gift giving: donate to our environmental conservation & protection educational programs.

 

7. Christmas cards from recycled paper. Thousands of cards each year are bought every yuletide season. Consider the alternative E-greeting card and if you must, buy Christmas cards from recycled paper. Think Amazon Forest and deforestation before you buy that Christmas card.

Macrame Bags made by Aeta Community
Macrame Bags made by Aeta Community

8. Biodegradable wrappers and bows.  Use recycled paper and natural materials instead of plastic or metallic wrappers and bows. Needless to say, they’re easier to dispose and less harmful to the environment. These calls again for creativity: reuse materials, or make the wrapping part of the gift, such as scarves, baskets and or reusable decorative boxes.

9. Re-chargeable batteries. When buying battery operated toys, encourage use of re-chargeable batteries; educate children as early as tots about the proper use of recharging – they’re not only eco friendly but also economical.

Handmade Gallery Holiday Centerpiece

Handmade Gallery Holiday Centerpiece

11. Live or Recycled materials instead of plastic Xmas tree. Purchase a live tree to use as Christmas tree and it doesn’t have to be a traditional fir. Santa will not scold you if you use other foliage as Christmas tree as you can re-plant them in your yard after the holidays. Besides, it serves a natural indoor air purifier. And oh, use natural décor non-plastic, non-hazardous materials and low consumption lights.

12. Avoid wasteful consumptionThink.Eat.Save. as the UNEP campaign goes. Christmas is a garbage fest. Before the gift opening and feasting begins, set up your garbage disposals accordingly – for cans, bottles, paper etc. Again, practice the pre- and post party 3Rs. Remember to be thankful, not wasteful.

Think. Eat. Save. Reduce your footprint Campaign by UNEP.

13. Last but not the least, if you are planning to spend Christmas holidays elswhere, travel green and make your vacation more meaningful with our Green Travel ideas. Support our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. – SSTDI genuine green initiatives, helping grassroot communities.

 

Genuine Green: Social equity & local economic growth, climate change solutions, the grassroots way.

Genuine Green: Social equity & local economic growth, climate change solutions, the grassroots way.

 

Christmas has almost lost its essence due to over- commercialization and excessive hype. Make your Yuletide more meaningful and less stressful. Think outside the gift box a little and you can have greener Holidays that may benefit the environment and humanity. Is your Christmas green? Share your eco holiday season tips, please add them to the comments section!

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and Management. Sustainable Purchasing: Green Supplies & Suppliers Presentation was delivered by Guest Resource person, Ms. Reena Francisco of Echo Store in Coron, Palawan, Philippines during The Coron Initiative – Capacity Building Series in 2013. 

Waste to Energy projects are also offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

 

Photo Credits: Echo Store for the Reusable Gift Packs, Gift Bags & Handmade Gallery for Holiday Centerpiece. 

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