I write this blog about ecotourism because I have a big interest in this topic and I do think it can make a difference. I want to share what I find/think interesting about it.
This blog is yours, please feel free to add any comment/suggestion/feedback or email me at guillaume.foutry (at) gmail.com

Saturday, August 29, 2009

New Ecotourism Travel Website: Ethical Travel Portal

I recently came across a new responsible travel website called the Ethical Travel Portal. Here is how they described themselves:"Ethical Travel Portal aims to educate travelers on responsible tourism. We have adopted principles for responsible tourism. We work solely with partners who thoroughly practice responsible tourism.

Responsible tourism is about creating better places for people to live in and to visit. Ethical Travel Portal is about educating people in responsible tourism on the grassroots level. We want to spread the knowledge about how responsible tourism can be implemented in any company by learning from local experts. Our logo, the three clover leaves, symbolizes the triple bottom line: economy, social and environmental responsibility. The guidelines for responsible tourism were chartered in Cape Town in 2002 and followed up in Kerala in 2008". In case you want to have more information on what they do, have a look below at their Twitter account.

I quite like the website that is really easy to use, but it is still to basic according to what you can do at the moment. Hopefully, as the project was launched last year we can hope that some improvements are on the pipeline. Good luck!!

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The Wallet and Keeping up with the Jones Could Save the Planet!!

Greenhouse gas intensity in 2000 Data from the...Image via Wikipedia

Sometimes it is pathetic how people's assertions can change over time. After the hurricane Katrina that struck at the US in August 2005, it seemed that the majority of the populations in the Western World got concerned about the environment and from people and businesses to governments we heard the same thing: we need to reduce our carbon emissions to preserve the environment and we will!

The problem is that 4 years after that, in the aftermath of the economic crisis, it does not seem to be the top priority of all this people any more. From governments that cannot agree on the system to adopt and the efforts that each country should undertake and corporations that are not doing enough to people that have realized that it will require some deep changes to reach this objective, everyone has switched its focus to other concerns.

So how can we push people and organizations to implement things that will bring change? Well, the good old means: money and self esteem!! Behavioural and consumer studies show that green solutions are adopted either to save money or to brag about it in front of your neighbours. Some people thought that the environmental awareness showed a new steps in the way mankind looked at the planet, but unfortunately it appears to be just a new step in our long history of self narrow interests.
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dumbest Idea of the Month: Renting Clothes when Travelling

I truly think this one takes the cake: someone has the project to launch a company that will let people rent clothes when travelling. Sounds convenient, but what happens to the clothes after they are used once? Zero Baggage (this is the name of the project) chief executive Catharine MacIntosh said they would be washed and used again. Here is the video presenting the service.

I know they say you can leave your clothes somewhere and get them back when you are travelling to the same location. And they mention the idea of sustainability several times. However I do not buy it. It is hard for me to see people having the means of using this kind of services willing to wear things that have already been used by someone else. I feel this service is going to evolve into a one use only service, like everything on a plane. I already feel the amount of waste when flying is a huge, but if people adopt this kind of way of travelling this is the crowning of unsustainability.

Convenience is important, but convenience at all cost has already brought us close enough to environmental collapse, so why keep following this way? When I look at what people say on Twitter, they all seem too enthusiastic about it. I hope they will take some hindsight on it and realize the impact of such services.
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Monday, August 24, 2009

Green Travelling: No Easy Answer

Blooming TGVImage by Éole via Flickr

I like the French high speed train TGV: fast, more convenient than a flight but above all better for the environment. I mean I thought that until I read this article from the Guardian: "High-speed rail strategy not so green, report says".

This UK government commissioned report shows that building a high speed railway line between Manchester and London and running it for 60 years is not greener than air routes. Shocking! Well when you take the time to think about it it makes sense.

As mentioned in the study, if the rail is unable to reach a certain market share, it will not impact the environment positively. I feel quite silly not having looked at the problem that way, assuming the rail was always the greener option. I guess our leaders are always eager to use the silver bullet approach and sell it to us. However, if high speed trains are not the solution, they are still a part of it. We need to adopt a relevant mix of transportation systems which will always put the greener alternative first, not the one that seems greener.

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cross Travelling: Where Is Home?

Lille, France : Place Général de Gaulle, also ...Image via Wikipedia

Recently I have been through a weird experiment: greeting my family where I live now (London) and going back home (Lille, France) with my American girlfriend. And that has been a very interesting experience.

First because greeting my relatives in a town I have been living in for almost a year was like putting myself back in my own shoes the first time I came here in London, 10 years ago. The way they looked at things and the comments they expressed were, to a certain extent, the one I had before.

On the other way around, showing my hometown to my girlfriend made me realize all the good things I left behind, even small things. But I also became aware that I am a stranger to it. The place has just changed, my friends are somewhere else, to some point it is not the town I used to know.

So where is home now? Well to be honest I have just been away for a full year (even if I left the place 5 years ago now, getting back there for a few weeks now and again), but I feel it is still a form of home. I have always refused to be called expat as you do not really feel that way in London when you are French (especially with the Eurostar that puts Lille at 1h20 from London), but I feel I am slowly drifting away from it. Home is mainly Lille and a bit London, but lines are moving very slowly.

Now I do understand how hard it is for any immigrant to leave his homecountry and live in another place thousands of miles away. I wish everyone could live one or two years away for his home country, it would probably completely transform the debate on immigration.

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