St George Bermuda: The Oldest Town in the New World

St_George_Town_Hall_Kings_Square_Bermuda

Town Hall in King’s Square, St George Bermuda

St George Bermuda

The Oldest Town in the New World

 

Bermuda is a group of tiny islands located about 580 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

 

The nation is renowned for its picturesque pink sand beaches; its brilliant blue waters; and its temperate climate, with winter days averaging around 68º and temperatures rarely spiking above 86º in the dog days of mid-August.

 

Considerably less well known is the fact that it’s also home to the oldest continuously inhabited English settlement in the western hemisphere.

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45 Going Green Tips for Travelers This Earth Day

Kayaking in Mountains

45 Going Green Tips

for Travelers This Earth Day

 

April 22 is Earth Day, an initiative originally conceived in 1970 to raise global awareness about environmental issues worldwide.

 

Calling for “a billion acts of green” in 2015, this annual day of support has grown rapidly over the years.  Gradually, awareness about our collective responsibility to live sustainably seems to be taking hold. This year Earth Day events will take place all over the world to promote the idea that we should be protecting the environment in every way we can, and the responsible travel movement in particular has been gaining speed in recent years.

 

But we shouldn’t wait for Earth Day to start being conscious of our impact on the planet. There are a huge range of little things that everyone can implement into their daily lives and travel routines to start making a positive difference. For the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, here are 45 simple going green tips for travelers wanting to make a difference, both at home and abroad.

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INTERVIEW: Charles Darwin Foundation Exec. Director Swen Lorenz

Charles Darwin Foundation Executive Director Swen Lorenz

Interview With Charles Darwin Foundation

Executive Director Swen Lorenz

 

We’ve always felt a special connection with the Galapagos Islands. Not only because it’s an incredibly unique haven for nature/wildlife enthusiasts and an impressive model for responsible ecotourism management, but also because our trip there in 2011 really helped launched this site.

 

One of our favorite memories is our visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz island. It was there that we learned about the important scientific research the Charles Darwin Foundation has done since 1959 in an effort to conserve this unique ecological treasure, including bringing the Galapagos Tortoise back from the brink of extinction, eradicating invasive species and advising the government of Ecuador on how to manage Galapagos National Park sustainably.

 

So we were shocked to learn that the Foundation was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy a few months ago after the local mayor shut down their gift shop, which brings in an average of $32,000 a month. The problem came when the gift shop began selling items such as swimsuits, chocolates and artwork, and local vendors groused that the CDF’s shop was impacting their revenue. This was part of a larger issue in which locals complain that international tourism (which is largely based on small island-hopping cruises) doesn’t benefit them directly.

 

As we prepare for a return trip to the Galapagos Islands in June, we decided to reach out to Charles Darwin Foundation Executive Director Swen Lorenz to discuss the Foundation’s history, mission, problems and potential solutions, as well as why its scientific research is essential to conservation of the Galapagos Islands.

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12 Odd Intangible Cultural Heritage Practices UNESCO Protects

UNESCO_Intangible_Cultural_Heritage_Traditions

12 Odd Intangible Cultural Heritage

Practices UNESCO Protects

 

If you were enraged when ISIS extremists bulldozed the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud in Iraq, or in 2001 when they dynamited the 6th-century Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan, you were probably feeling equal doses of anger and helplessness. These were both physical marvels, and we watched them senselessly annihilated by ignorance and hatred.

 

But traditional customs and culture can die, too. That’s why UNESCO created an Intangible Cultural Heritage List, which covers cultural traditions in dire need of protection. This list contains plenty of the things you would expect– song, dance, festivals, crafts and arts. But it also contains many more unusual, protection-worthy practices which are on the brink of destruction.

 

The Intangible Cultural Heritage traditions covered below all caught my eye because I’m either personally familiar with them or they made me pause as I read through the list. They’re listed here in no particular order, other than whimsy:

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PHOTO GALLERY: Madagascar Animals

Madagascar_Animals_King_Julien_Ringtail_Lemurs

Madagascar Animals Photo Gallery

 

Visiting Madagascar had been a dream of ours for a very long time. We imagined lush rainforests teeming with wildlife. We imagined colorful birds, playful ring-tailed lemurs, chameleons ambling across tree branches and other Madagascar animals as far as the eye could see.

 

When we finally traveled to Madagascar last summer, we found the place amazing and terrible at the same time. Decades of uncontrolled logging led to a loss of nearly 50% of Madagascar’s rainforest between 1950 and 2000. With deforestation came a decrease in biodiversity, with several lemur and other Madagascar animal species (many unique to the country) now endangered or extinct.

 

Luckily, the Malagasy government created a great network of national parks, where poaching and illegal logging are strictly controlled and tourists are only allowed to visit with a guide. The Madagascar I saw in national parks was the one of my dreams, with lush nature and plenty of wildlife to see.

 

Baobab Tree in Madagascar

 

Viewing the wildlife of Madagascar is a completely different experience from safaris in the African savannah. You don’t travel on a vehicle, you walk, led by a skilled guide and pisteurs, a network of animal-spotters that tell the guides where animals are likely to be seen.

 

Madagascar animals are small, and therefore harder to spot. Lemurs are not much larger than a monkey, and some chameleons are no more than a couple of inches long. So spotting them in the wilderness is not at all easy.

 

Still, wildlife-viewing in Madagascar is a wonderful experience. You’ll see animals that cannot be seen anywhere else, as the island is home to more than 800 endemic species, from lemurs and the cat-like fossa (the baddie in the Madagascar movie) to dozens of chameleons and colorful birds.

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