GO GREEN TIP #111: A Guide to Ethical Eating When You Travel

A Fruit Stand on Aegina Island, Greece

A Fruit Stand on Aegina Island, Greece

A Guide to Ethical Eating When You Travel

 

Ain’t it grand that the world population is growing ever more mindful of what we eat!

 

I’m not talking about mindfulness self-centered around six-pack abs or tighter glutes. I’m excited about the food movement. I’m talking about the ways people are becoming more concerned over how our food is produced, its effects on the environment, and the way those who are producing it are treated. I’m talking about how we, as a society, are gradually growing up, becoming more aware and taking more responsibility for our impact on the planet.

 

Like so many others out there, we– as travelers– want to be part of this changing consciousness, wherever we are. Just because we love traveling doesn’t mean that we have to stop paying attention to our environmental footprint while we’re on the road. Sure, it may be a bit easier at home, where we know all the eco-friendly stores, the ethical products, and local green restaurants.

 

On the road, tend to get a little more challenging. There might be language differences, unfamiliar choices, and basic logistical obstacles to contend with. But we can handle it, and these simple tips will help you understand the issues of ethical eating all over the globe.

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THAILAND: Gibbon Conservation in Phuket

The Gibbon Project photo via WARF

The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project photo via WARF

 

Gibbon Conservation

in Phuket, Thailand

 

[The following is a guest post from Jo Karnaghan, Chief Frugalista at Frugal First Class Travel, a guide to saving money while traveling in style. You can follow Jo on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. If you’re a travel blogger interested in guest posting on GGT, please email pitches to Editor-In-Chief Bret Love at [email protected]]   

 

When we take family vacations, we often go to a resort. We find it a great opportunity to relax and do as much or as little as we like.

 

While it’s always tempting to spend our days lounging on the beach or enjoying cocktails by the pool, we do make time to find some meaningful activities to engage in as well. But as our daughter gets older, finding fun activities that we all agree on can be more difficult.

 

On a recent trip to Phuket, Thailand, I knew that visits to Buddhist temples just weren’t going to do it for her.  But when we came across the Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre in the Khao Pra Thaew National Park, even our fickle tween was hooked.  Not only did we have an opportunity to see these amazing animals up close, but we learned a lot about the need for Gibbon conservation.

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Rapa Nui National Park: Easter Island Facts & Photos

Rapa Nui National Park Easter Island- lone statue

Lone Maoi Statue in Rapa Nui National Park

Rapa Nui National Park

Easter Island Facts & Photos

 

“In the middle of the Great Ocean, in a region where no one ever passes, there is a mysterious and isolated island; there is no land in the vicinity and, for more than eight hundred leagues in all directions, empty and moving vastness surrounds it. It is planted with tall, monstrous statues, the work of some now vanished race, and its past remains an enigma.” – Pierre Loti

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

An isolated volcanic island located in the heart of the South Pacific, Rapa Nui National Park is widely known as one of the most isolated destinations in the world.

 

Colonized around 700 AD by Polynesian settlers whose spiritual beliefs led to the carving of enormous stone statues called Moai, much of the area is dedicated to important archeological sites. The mysteries surrounding how and why these giants of stone were carved continue to fascinate the world today.

 

Rapa Nui National Park Easter Island Cliffs with Moai Statues

Easter Island Cliffs with Moai Statues

 

After Europeans stumbled upon it in 1722, tales of this exotic island with monolithic stone giants spread throughout the world. Explorers traveled here from far-off lands, most notably Captain James Cook in 1774. Chile eventually took possession of Easter Island in 1888, and it has been a Chilean territory ever since.

 

Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, Easter Island still displays many of the cultural elements of historical Polynesia today. The park is a protected Chilean wildlife area which concentrates on maintaining the legacy of the Rapa Nui culture.

 

Intrigued? Here are some fascinating facts and photos of Rapa Nui National Park…
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INTERVIEW: Joan Embery on Why Zoos are Good for Conservation

Joan Embery at the San Diego Zoo

Joan Embery at the San Diego Zoo. Photo by Chris Martin

Joan Embery on

Why Zoos are Good for Conservation

 

Keeping wildlife in captivity is bad. Animals being free to roam the wild is good. Right?

 

The issues surrounding animal rights can seem very black and white to armchair activists. But what happens when the habitats in which these animals live– their food sources, their safe havens– are destroyed? What happens when humans hunt and poach animals to the brink of extinction? How do we save these species for future generations?

 

For better or worse, most kids first learn about wildlife from their local zoo. The very best zoos not only focus on wildlife education, but conservation of endangered species via captive breeding and responsible re-introduction programs:

  • The Phoenix Zoo helped bring the Arabian Oryx back: Extinct in the wild in 1972, there are now more than 1,000 roaming freely.
  • Critically endangered by loss of their Brazilian rainforest habitat, the Golden Lion Tamarin‘s status has been improved by captive breeding at DC’s National Zoo.
  •  There were only 22 California Condors left in the wild by the late 1980s. The San Diego Zoo used condor hand puppets to feed baby birds, and now more than 200 fly free.
  • Colorado’s Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has used artificial insemination to breed and release over 200 Black-Footed Ferrets, which were mostly extinct in the wild by 1980.
  • Only 45 Amur Leopards remain in the wild, but there are 220 in breeding programs in zoos around the world, with a reintroduction scheme currently in the planning stages.

 

Joan Embery is one of the world’s leading wildlife conservation advocates. A professional Fellow of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, she founded the American Association of Zoo Keepers. As the San Diego Zoo’s goodwill ambassador since the early 1970s, she’s appeared on The Tonight Show nearly 50 times and hosted educational shows such as Animal Express, Animals of Africa and myriad PBS specials.

 

We recently spoke to Embery about breaking into the male-dominated world of veterinary medicine in the late ’60s, what drew her to wildlife education, why zoos are good for conservation, and the role she sees ecotourism having in saving endangered species.

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ECO NEWS: How Obama’s Clean Power Plan Impacts Climate Change

 

Obama Gets Greener (Courtesy of Steve Jurvetson)

Obama Gets Greener (Courtesy of Steve Jurvetson)

How Obama’s Clean Power Plan

Impacts Climate Change

 

What a week it is when the powers-that-be in the grand ol’ USA decide to take a leap towards greener energy!

 

We’ve become far too familiar with weak environmental policy efforts that involve pacing around, arguing over the validity of Climate Change, while fossil fuels continue to vaporize into greenhouse gases.

 

So this week’s revelation of President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan was a monumental moment that will soon change our entire energy system… for real!

 

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