Using Permaculture Principles in Travel
GGT readers (and writers) are travelers of a certain caliber– upstanding members of a global society that share a love of culture, nature and the melding of the two. We embrace the world, we go out and enjoy it, and we want to keep it around as long as possible.
And that is why—after we give ourselves a quick pat on the back—we are all destined to take an interest in permaculture.
If you’re into organic gardening or eco-construction, you’ve probably already heard this term tossed around a time or two. But the problem folks often run into is that the definition of permaculture can be a bit slippery.
Speaking at TBEX Athens, Photo by Vera Wolters
Why I Quit My Travel Dream to Get a Job
When I was a teenager, I dreamed of traveling the world, as most teenagers do. But, unlike most teenagers, I actually had a plan for how I would make this travel dream life happen.
Classically trained from the age of 11, I could sing my butt off. I even sang for Pope John Paul II in the Vatican when I was 12. By age 16, many people who knew about such things were telling me that I could be a star on Broadway, if I wanted. But by the time I finished high school later that year, I had a much grander vision for my life: I was going to be a rock star!
I eventually enrolled in the Music Business program at Georgia State University, with a focus on business management so I wouldn’t get screwed out of royalties. Some friends and I put together a rap-rock band (this was 1991, before that sound was passé), which I managed. I learned Recording Engineering so that I could produce our demo. I worked at a high-profile radio station (WRAS) and record company (BMG) to make industry connections. All the pieces were in place to make my dream come true.
Backstage with Ziggy Marley, circa 1995
But then a funny thing happened: I started getting to hang out with actual rock stars. I played video games with Tool. I escorted Henry Rollins to book signings. I went in the studio with Chuck D. I partied with everyone from Ziggy Marley to Willie Nelson. I got to chat with them about the realities of life on the road, of constant movement, of missing friends and family and the milestones in their lives.
I eventually came to realize that the reality of the “travel dream life” did not measure up to the fantasy. And that’s when I decided to become a writer instead of a rock star.
Mama Duck & Her Ducklings
Exploring the London Wetland Centre
(The following is a guest post from Oakland-based environmental educator Paul Belz, who develops/teaches natural history classes for children, families and teachers. Check out Paul’s blog for more of his work, and email Bret Love at [email protected] for guest posting info.)
Busy, bustling South London is an astonishing place to find a rich wetland habitat. But that’s precisely what you’ll see at the London Wetland Centre, complete with blue-footed ducks, grey herons, moor hens, swans, swifts, sand martins and much more.
Sir Peter Scott, who founded Britain’s Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in 1947, dreamed of an urban wetland that would be accessible to Londoners and travelers alike. The only child of Antarctic explorer Robert Scott and sculptor Kathleen Scott, Sir Peter wrote over 30 books, traveled the world, and was a champion skater and glider pilot. He was one of the co-founders of the World Wide Fund for Nature, which now better known in North American as World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Sir Peter was also celebrated as a wildlife painter, especially of birds. He helped develop the IUCN Red List, an ongoing list of endangered species worldwide, and created the scientific name Necittaras rhombobteryx (“the monster of Ness with the diamond shaped fin”) so the Loch Ness Monster could be included in that collection. The Daily Telegraph later pointed out that this name was an anagram for “Monster hoax by Sir Peter S.”
Photo by Ami Vitale
Conservation Scientist Dr M Sanjayan on PBS’s
EARTH A New Wild
I’ve never seen a TV show that resonated with me on a deeper personal, philosophical and ideological level than PBS’s new nature documentary series, EARTH A New Wild (which airs Wednesday nights at 10PM EST, on the PBS site and iTunes).
The show follows host Dr M Sanjayan– former lead scientist for Nature Conservancy and current executive VP of Conservation International– as he travels the world, examining the connections between mankind to the ecosystems in which we live.
From the Plains of Kenya and the United States, to the forests of British Columbia and the Ecuadorian Amazon, to oceans spanning the globe, the show insists that we are all connected: As Nature fares, so does humanity. The regularly reinforced moral of the story is that, by taking care of the planet on which we all depend for food, water and shelter, we’re taking care of ourselves.
Sri Lanka-born Sanjayan, who earned a PhD in biology and was recently selected by the National Geographic Society for its Explorers Council, is the perfect host. With EARTH A New Wild, he shows numerous examples of how, through responsible ecotourism and conservation initiatives, it IS possible for man and nature to co-habitate peacefully and prosperously. I was honored to speak with Sanjayan for this extensive interview on how these concepts can help save the world.
The 10 Best Canoe Trips
For Your World Travel Bucket List
Mention the word “paddle” and you may get references to “being up the creek without one,” or memories of corporal punishment formerly handed out at Catholic schools.
But when I hear the word “paddle,” I conjure up different images– mist coming off the shore at dawn, the calls of a loon or a howler monkey reverberating throughout the surrounding wilderness, with the only human-made sound the “swish-plop” of a paddle as you propel your canoe or kayak along the river or across the lake.
Paddling introduced me to my first real travel adventure several decades ago in Ontario’s Haliburton Highlands, and I’ve been hooked on the hobby ever since. These are my picks for the Best Canoe Trips in the world, and I feel like I’ve barely touched the tip of the iceberg…