Picture yourself in the middle of a vast green field, on the perimeter of a sacred circle. The throbbing pulse of tribal music fills the air with an insistent beat, until you feel its rhythm coursing through your veins. Voices rise and fall in polyphonic harmony, with a power and passion that seems almost otherworldly. Dancers prance and twirl in time, their costumes a whirling technicolor dream. Red-shouldered hawks circle above in an equally mesmerizing aerial waltz. We are here to celebrate Mother’s Day, and Mother Earth, and the beauty of all Creation. This is the Cherokee County Indian Festival, our favorite Georgia Pow Wow.
We didn’t know much about Asheville, North Carolina– much less its Green Restaurants– despite it being just a 3-hour drive from our hometown of Atlanta. But when we decided to stop there to visit our friends Cristina and Hal of Travel For Wildlife en route to the Outer Banks last month, the folks at Explore Asheville were delighted to educate us about the mountain town’s eco-friendly awesomeness. In retrospect, we’re glad they did.
As it turns out, Asheville is the greenest dining destination in America. Out of 80 members in the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association, 17 are certified as green restaurants by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA), the nation’s leading authority on the subject. Their certification standards for green restaurants are pretty intense, grading them on everything from energy consumption and chemical pollution reduction, to water efficiency and waste reduction, to sustainable food and furnishings. In order to maintain their ranking, green restaurants must continually improve sustainability year after year.
Since we were only there 2 days, we only had a chance to visit 3 of Asheville’s green restaurants. But we loved the city’s laid-back “Greenwich Village in the Mountains” vibe so much, we’re already planning a return trip later this year. Read on for our reviews of Bouchon, The Green Sage Cafe, and Posana…
The roots of our next exciting eco adventure date back to last summer.
Our friends at Travel For Wildlife wrote a post about taking a black bear tour at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina. Then, they posted a story about seeing endangered red wolves in the same area, and the Red Wolf Recovery Program that’s trying to save them.
I’ve professed my undying love for bears many times before, but I’ve never seen black bears in the wild. Which is sort of odd, since they’re the only kind of bear that can actually be found in my native state of Georgia. But when I learned that both black bears AND critically endangered red wolves (of which there are just over 100 left in the wild) could be found in the same place, within a 10-hour drive of my house? I began planning our Spring Break trip for 2013 immediately!
I had secretly harbored a bias against México for years, perhaps because of tales I’d heard about tourist traps such as Cozumel and Tijuana. But the Riviera Maya really surprised us, especially the ancient Tulum and Coba Mayan ruins. By the time we finished tracking monkeys in the treetops of Punta Laguna and taking the all-day Jungle Maya Expedition, we were sold on the region as one of our favorite ecotourism destinations.
Jean-Michel Cousteau and his Ocean Futures Society released a statement to the media last Thursday about a new Chinese development that will endanger the vibrant ecosystem of the Puerto Morelos reef, located about 22 miles south of Cancun in eastern Mexico.
Cousteau reports that the Chinese Dragon Mart Cancun mega-project would include more than 3,000 storefronts and be a retail hub for selling Chinese products. “In addition to the center itself,” Cousteau’s press release said, “722 houses for an estimated 2,500 Chinese families would need to be built as well. The center is to be built on 557 hectares, 418 of which would be on a nature reserve.”