Eco Tips

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Eating Wildly with

Urban Foraging Expert Ava Chin

 

Some time ago I came across Ava Chin’s book about urban foraging, Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love & the Perfect Meal.

 

Foraging is the practice of gathering wild foods. While it sounds romantic, it’s actually a skill that one has to learn and practice. Once learned and practiced responsibly, foraging is a sustainable practice of connecting your plate to the environment you live in.

 

Ava Chin, who lives in New York City, was the “Urban Forager” columnist for the New York Times from 2009 to 2013. I sat down to talk with her about her book, the basics of urban foraging and how newcomers can learn some simple tips on how to eat wildly.

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Herb Spiral

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.

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This is what many homes look like at Christmas Photo Fittzone

This is what many homes look like at Christmas. Photo Fittzone

5 Eco-Friendly Ways to

Decorate for Christmas

Whatever you may think of Christmas, something shifts in the air when December rolls around. In the Northern Hemisphere Christmas ushers in crisp skies and bright winter stars and the smell of freshly cut pine needles. In the South, summer breezes and surfing and swaying palms might welcome the holiday season, the air heavy with the sizzling aroma of BBQs.

 

Wherever you live, Christmas is also trees with heavily-weighted branches and houses that heave beneath blinking lights and tons of tinsel. Sadly, this seasonal bling carries a hefty environmental price. It brings out the old arguments in the Great Christmas Tree Debate – artificial or natural?  – and a cascade of seasonal information about the impact of the season’s packaging, transport or waste.

 

Christmas also fuels a race for the biggest, best and brightest illumination, as recent as the artificial materials and modern inventions required to make Uncle Harry’s blinking penguin and strobe-light igloo visible from space.

 

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Responsible Horseback Riding Tours on Morro Strand State Beach

Horseback Riding on Morro Strand State Beach, by Mike Baird via Creative Commons

Go Green Tip #106:

Responsible Horseback Riding Tours

 

Imagine yourself astride a magnificent Arabian horse, his mane blowing in the wind and tickling your hands as they hold the elaborately tasseled reins, your eyes falling on the magnificent sight of the Pyramids of Giza looming before you. This is the sort of horseback riding experience that’s meant to be savored for a lifetime.

 

Now imagine that the reins are attached to a bit that fits uncomfortably in the horse’s mouth. He shifts from side to side to take the weight off of his painfully overgrown hooves. He hasn’t had adequate hay for days, or possibly even weeks. And he’s been beaten to force him to perform. The experience doesn’t sound so ideal anymore, does it?

 

As responsible travelers increasingly eschew attractions that profit from captive animals, the tide is slowly shifting towards an industry that favors viewing animals in their natural habitats. Companies like Sea World are seeing their business models crumble, and attractions like Thailand’s Tiger Temple watch their visitor numbers decline steadily as people become more and more committed to ethical practices regarding the exploitation of animals.

 

Responsible Horseback Riding Tours, Arabian Horse

A Rabiccano Arabian Horse, photo by Montanabw via Creative Commons

 

Unfortunately, for domestic animals like horses, things widely remain unchanged. It’s easy to see that a dolphin in a tank  a caged tiger are in unnatural, uncomfortable surroundings. But, for the layperson, it’s not as readily apparent when a horse at a tourist attraction is unhealthy, in pain, or lacking basic care. When tourists choose an irresponsibly managed horse activity, they may unknowingly be contributing to improper care or abuse of these amazing creatures.

 

If you’re considering joining a horse tour or taking a horseback ride during your travels, these are a few simple ways to tell if the horse you’ll be riding is properly cared for. And choosing a responsible horseback riding tour can make all the difference between perpetuating the cycle of poor horse management or ensuring that the horse will enjoy the experience just as much as you do. Here are a few tips on what to look for:

 

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Dolphin Discovery at the Moon Palace Resort

Dolphin Discovery at the Moon Palace Resort

GO GREEN TIP #105

How to Grade Dolphinarium Facilities

 

I saw them before I even stepped off the stage after my Opening Keynote session at TBEX Cancun with Dr. Martha Honey. More than a half-dozen employees of Dolphin Discovery– the dolphinarium that offered “Swimming With Dolphins” tours at the Moon Palace Resort– stood in a semicircle, looking uncomfortable, waiting for me to wrap up my conversation with another blogger so they could chat with me about what was being called “Dolphingate.”

 

For those who missed the drama, in July it was announced that the tours being offered to travel bloggers attending the TBEX Conference included a “Swim With Dolphins” tour at a Cancun dolphinarium. Blogger Matthew Kepnes called for a boycott of TBEX, with hundreds of other bloggers and concerned travelers signing his petition. TBEX honcho Rick Calvert was unyielding and unapologetic, saying that bloggers should behave like journalists and make their own decisions. We eventually entered the fray (which we were unaware of because we’d been traveling, and had not planned to attend the Cancun conference) and convinced Cancun Tourism to cancel the tours.

 

In the midst of the controversy, we were invited by TBEX to appear alongside Dr. Honey– founder of the Center for Responsible Travel– in a keynote session to discuss ecotourism and responsible travel issues, including dolphinariums and other animal attractions. Manuel Garduno (Manager of Marine Mammal Operations), Michelle Madueno (Manager of Education & Conservation), and several other members of the Dolphin Discovery staff were there, with “Debunking the Myths About Dolphins in Human Care” brochures in hand, to invite us to tour their facility and learn why not all dolphinariums are created equal.

 

How could we refuse?

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Destinations We’ve Covered:

• AFRICA
Egypt- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Madagascar- Ring-tailed Lemurs at Anja Reserve
Morocco- A Journey into the Atlas Mountains
South Africa- Londolozi Game Reserve Safari
South Africa- Kruger National Park
South Africa- South Africa- Zulu Memories
Tanzania- Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

 
• ANTARCTICA
How To Get To Antarctica w/out Doing the Drake
The Haunting Beauty of Icebergs
Penguins of Antarctica
Taking the Polar Plunge
Top 5 Eco Attractions in Antarctica
Whales of Antarctica
 
• ASIA
Borneo- Sabah Ecotourism Attractions
India- Ranthambhore National Park
India- Tibetan Culture In Ladakh
Laos- The Pastoral Paradise of Muang Ngoi
Malaysia- Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre
Malaysia- Orangutan Conservation at Sepilok
Nepal- Hiking The Annapurna Circuit
Taiwan- Top 5 Eco Activities in Taipei
Thailand- Top 5 National Parks
 
• AUSTRALIA/OCEANIA
Australia- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Australia-Kangaroo Island
Australia-Maria Island
New Zealand- Kapiti Island
New Zealand- Tongariro National Park
New Zealand- Top 5 Ecotourism Attractions
Tahiti- First Impressions
Tahiti- Photo Gallery
Tahiti- Moorea 4x4 Safari Tour
Tahiti- Moorea, Tiki Village Theater
Tahiti- Pearl Diving in Bora Bora
Tahiti- Ruahatu Marine Sanctuary, Bora Bora
Tahiti- Swimming With Sharks in Bora Bora
Tonga- Eua Island Eco Activities

 

• NORTH AMERICA
CANADA
Churchill- Into the Wild of Manitoba
Churchill- Polar Bear Fight
Churchill- Polar Bear Photo Gallery
Churchill- Tundra Wildlife

UNITED STATES
America’s Best Volcanoes
AL- Fishing Mobile Bay
AL- Mobile Carnival Museum
AK- Denali National Park
CA- Hiking The John Muir Trail
FL- Sanibel Island Eco Activities
FL- Crystal River, Swimming with Manatees
FL- Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
GA- Barnsley Gardens
GA- Top 5 Autumn Activities Around Atlanta
GA- Best Christmas Light Displays
GA- Top 20 Atlanta Christmas Events
GA- Jekyll Island Eco Activities
GA- Weekend in North GA Mountains
GA- Top 5 Eco Attractions in North GA
HI- Hawaii’s Big Island
HI- Hawaiian Mythology
HI - Top 5 Kauai Nature Attractions
LA- Lafayette Cajun Food Tour
LA- Mardi Gras Indians Super Sunday
LA- Voodoo Museum
MT- Hiking Glacier National Park
NC- Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
NC- Asheville's Green Restaurants Scene
NC- Asheville's Top Ecotourism Attractions
NC- Greensboro Travel Guide
NC- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
NC- Outer Banks Wild Horses
NM- Top 5 Eco Attractions
NY- Going Green in NYC
TX- Sea Turtle Rescue, South Padre Island
WV- Outdoor Adventures
Yellowstone- Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone- Lamar Valley
Yellowstone- Grand Canyon & Hayden Valley
Yellowstone- Upper Geyser Basin
Yellowstone- Lower Geyser Basin

MEXICO
Cancun- Cancun Underwater Museum
Cancun- Mayan Museum of Archaeology
Cancun- Swimming with Whale Sharks
Riviera Maya- Monkeys, Pyramids & Pottery
Riviera Maya- Rio Secreto
Riviera Maya- Tulum & Coba
 
• CARIBBEAN