Jun 26, 2009

Ecotourism at ECOCLUB®, the International Ecotourism Club™,  a global ecological tourism network

ECOCLUB® - International Ecotourism Club™ promotes social & ecological change through & within Tourism. An acclaimed news & social network with Members, individuals & organisations worldwide! It was founded on July 1, 1999 and is based in Athens, Greece (European Union). Our correspondence address is: ECOCLUB S.A. PO BOX 65232, PSIHICO, ATHENS 154 10, GREECE. ECOCLUB® is co-directed by Antonis B. Petropoulos & Frosso K. Dimitrakopoulou. The word and mark ECOCLUB® is a registered trademark of ECOCLUB S.A. Contact us

We support the philosophy and practice of Social Ecotourism / Ecosocial Tourism worldwide. We participate in tourism policy & decision-making processes, conferences, and the worldwide progressive movements. On a day to day basis, we act as an alternative, low-cost ecotourism consultancy, promoting environmentally-friendly holiday options & related services, supporting ecotourism practitioners, academics and students, offering resources such as specialist news coverage, networking and career opportunities, information about upcoming events, new publications, consultancy and funding opportunities and much more. ECOCLUB, the International Ecotourism Magazine™, our electronic publication, is packed with exclusive ecotourism news and views and interviews with tourism & environment leaders & pioneers. We also promote quality cooperative, ecological and organic products at low prices via the ECOCLUB.com Shop.

Ecotourism at ECOCLUB®, the International Ecotourism Club™, a global ecological tourism network

Jun 25, 2009

$863 -- Fiji from Los Angeles (Roundtrip), incl. Taxes

$863 -- Fiji from Los Angeles (Roundtrip), incl. Taxes* new

Fares to Fiji from Los Angeles have been slashed to an amazing price of $863 roundtrip, including taxes. This fare is available for travel June 10 - Dec. 30 on Air Pacific to Nadi on Fiji's the main island of Viti Levu.

This sale ends July 14.

Click here to purchase tickets directly with Air Pacific. Look for the "Get Packing" fare at a base fare of $565. Final price will include approximately $298 in taxes and fees.

Cheap Flights - Flight Specials - Air Pacific

Flyers choose green with a new flight booking tool : TerraCurve.com - Go beyond green. | Responsible travel news, places, people and events.

Even in today’s rough economy, travelers are eager to put the environment first. A new and free online flight search tool has shown that, when given a choice, travelers typically choose carbon-efficient flights.

The tool is being tested in a pilot phase (no pun intended) on select websites and has generated over 10,000 flight searches so far. According to booking statistics, 57% of users selected the cheapest/lowest carbon option to pay an average premium of 19% over lowest cost/higher carbon options.

Developed by Global Travel Market (GTM) and The Carbon Consultancy in association with the International Center for Responsible Tourism, the flight search tool offers provides efficiency ratings of both long and short haul fleets used by major airlines, while highlighting lower carbon emitting direct flights versus indirect flights.

The goal: determine and reduce a trip’s carbon footprint before it even takes place.

Flyers choose green with a new flight booking tool : TerraCurve.com - Go beyond green. | Responsible travel news, places, people and events.

Jun 22, 2009

Special place! - Review of Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort, Kadavu Island, Fiji - TripAdvisor

Matava is a special place. It is not a luxury eco resort and not for the high maintenance crowd. It is simply a wonderful eco resort with a fantastic staff. The lure of Matava draws the same type of people here. If you want to spend some time with those who like adventure and are well travelled, then you picked the right place. We usually stay at the best places when we travel but we wanted to take it down and notch, kick off our shoes (literally) and enjoy a bit of the “real” Fiji.

Hopefully you’ll be greeted by Maggie when you arrive. He makes the whole place come to life. When he isn’t there you miss him greatly. He’ll have you cracking up laughing every time he talks and don’t believe a word he says! You’ll see what I mean when you get there. .. :)

Speaking of getting there, the boat transfer is an adventure in itself so be prepared. Check out the picture with my husband standing in front of our boat. It takes about an hour to get to the lodge. If it is windy and there are waves, you’ll probably be very wet by time you arrive. They give you raincoats but they are so full of holes they don’t help much. They can’t use large boats because the tide can get VERY low. Large boats can’t make it through the reef passages. If you arrive during low tide be prepared to have to walk through some mud to get to and from shore.

Now I say Matava is not a luxury eco resort but if you stay in the Honeymoon bure it will feel like it is. The Honeymoon bure is beautiful and has the large deck with fantastic views. The mosquito net over the bed adds ambience to the room but it is not just for looks. Luckily, it was cool and windy while we were here so mosquitos only bothered us a bit on one night but we slept with the net every night. There are no ceiling fans or a/c, just the ocean breeze. There is also no heat in the rooms so you bundle up or snuggle to get warm. We were there at the end of May and it was chilly, almost cold. Bring a jacket or long sleeve shirt and pants.

All power is solar and there are on-demand gas water heaters. There is a charging station in the main lodge where you can charge batteries, laptops, etc… There are no plugs in the rooms and they do not allow hairdryers to run. In your bure there is a welcome book and it explains that running a hairdryer for 5 minutes uses enough power to run the resort for a week. The book continues to say that however, they will give you a ride in one of their boats for 5 minutes to give you what they like to call the windswept and wild look. I cracked up when I read it!

Adding to the laid-back appeal of Matava is they ask you to go barefoot in the main lodge. In the evening, they sound the drum at 6pm to let everyone know the bar is open (if you want something before then you can get it). This lets all know that if they want to come down to share stories of the day, come on down. Gas lanterns provide light giving everything a warm feeling. One night we had a kava ceremony during the cocktail hour. After we started dinner, the Fijians who were still drinking began singing. It was magical and they were in perfect harmony. It was a very special evening.

Dinner is served at 7pm (or around there in Fijian time). The food here is FANTASTIC, especially the soups! There is lots of variety, fresh ingredients, and flavor. We were here for 5 days and we had something new every day.

When you are finished socializing for the night and ready to go back to your bure, you either use a flashlight or take one of their lanterns to light the way. Once you get back to your bure, look up. The night sky here is unbelievable! The Milky Way is right above you. It is awesome what you can see without any light pollution.

Staying at Matava is a special experience and one we are glad we did. We wanted a true Fijian experience before we went to Taveuni for a completely over the top one. The Fijians here are extra warm and welcoming. We met Jennie, one of the owners, and she was equally as friendly and welcoming. Visiting Kadavu and getting away from all the super touristy stuff gives you a chance to be a part of the real Fiji.

Things to do:

If you want some exercise, take a walk up the trails behind the property. Hike up to the house at the top, go right then keep taking the trails to the left and you’ll go up, up, up to some great views overlooking the ocean and the island.

Definitely hike to the waterfall in the village. It is beautiful!

Dive Manta reef. They try to make sure everyone that stays here goes at least once. We were lucky and saw 3. We hung out by one just watching him feed. It was wonderful! The only thing is we were surprised at how poor visibility was. We had expected better but they also said it was the time of year. Taveuni has much better visibility but you rarely see any big stuff there. We also found out about a place on Viti Levu called Pacific Harbor that is known for Tiger sharks.

Special place! - Review of Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort, Kadavu Island, Fiji - TripAdvisor

Travel Healthy: Handling Mosquitoes and Other Bugs - The Green Guide

On a recent trip to Vietnam, I reluctantly found myself looking for malaria medication in the best "pharmacy" available, a bare room full of unmarked jars of pills down one of Ho Chi Minh City's back alleys. Luckily, neither the pills nor malaria got to me. However, poor planning can pose a threat not only to one's health but also to that of the ecosystems we visit.

While protecting against food-borne illness is your first line of defense, other diseases await unwary travelers. Take care when swimming, as schistosomiasis, carried by parasitic worms, and "swimmer's itch," or cercarial dermatitis, carried by microscopic parasites, are common in freshwater in parts of the Caribbean, South America, Africa and Asia. Malaria-bearing mosquitoes, endemic in West Africa and South Asia, infect 300 to 500 million people worldwide annually, while mosquitoes in Southeast Asia carry dengue fever and those in Africa and South America carry yellow fever. U.S. travel isn't risk-free either; mosquito-borne West Nile Virus claimed 165 U.S. lives in 2006, not to mention rodent-borne hantavirus and tick-transported Lyme disease.

Read full article here: Travel Healthy: Handling Mosquitoes and Other Bugs - The Green Guide

Jun 17, 2009

Heaven!! - Review of Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort, Kadavu Island, Fiji - TripAdvisor

Our stay was UNBELIEVABLE! We have travelled extensively, but this far exceeded our expectations. The lodge was remote enough to escape the typical tourism crowd, but still provided so much.

The bures were incredibly comfortable with amazing views to the ocean and the staff were like family. We felt welcome as soon as we stepped off the boat.

The food was also amazing. Every meal was a wonderful surprise of fresh ingredients and spices (and plenty of it).

We were so sad to leave because after only one week, we felt as if we belonged at Matava. We will definitely be back.

Thanks so much to every single person at Matava. We will be forever grateful for such a wonderful experience.

Heaven!! - Review of Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort, Kadavu Island, Fiji - TripAdvisor

Jun 15, 2009

Sustainable Outdoor Clothing Range Launched

A new website has been launched for outdoor enthusiasts wishing to lessen their impact on the environment. The website is perhaps the first of its kind as it’s entire range of outdoor and adventure clothing is sustainably and ethically sourced.

Rebearth whos ‘Protect your Playground’ slogan reflects their commitment to mother earth provides eco friendly, sustainable, recycled and carbon impact minimised apparel and equipment for cyclists, mountain bikers, surfers, climbers and for anyone who enjoys spending their time in the great outdoors.

The Primary aim of Rebearth Future Adventure is conceived from an enjoyment of the natural environment as a playground for outdoor adventure activities and thus the desire to retain it in its current if not enhanced natural state. Whether your adventures take place afloat, with your head in the clouds, take the rocky road or keep you grounded on the beach or in the forest, Rebearth Future Adventure offer a range of products to suit your needs.
From Bamboo base layers and lanyards to Organic cotton clothing, from recycled tyre belts and sandals to surf wax and wind up head torches all made using environmentally friendly or recycled materials give you the chance to enjoy the great outdoors without your adventures having a negative impact on our planet.

Putting climate control and carbon reduction at the centre of all aspects of Rebearth Future Adventures business operations from retail to transportation, from manufacturing to marketing coupled with a social and environmental ethos including the donation of part of our profits to local and national projects means that you can be sure that when you purchase one of our products you are not merely paying lip service to protecting your playground but are in a small way actually helping to preserve our environment.

To see the ‘Rebearth’ collection visit their online store on the link below.

Rebearth future adventure - grounded

Jun 14, 2009

New iPhone app gets you in the 'green habit' | MNN - Mother Nature Network

An MNN exclusive. I just learned of a very exciting partnership between two cutting-edge media companies in California whose love child is destined to become the definitive green iPhone app.
The app, an upgraded version of 3rdWhale -- which provides iPhone owners with access to a rapidly growing list of local, green businesses -- will now carry content from Creative Citizen, the wiki for green living.
Here is a first sneak peak at the app which will integrate a comprehensive collection of "Creative Solutions" for sustainable living:
One feature that sets the Creative Solution apart from those hordes of redundant "green tips" is that each solution carries with it with a set of tangible benefits, enumerating precisely how that action will reduce the use of water, energy, waste, carbon dioxide AND dollars.
Creative Citizen adds up all the actions that you pledge and tracks your cumulative environmental contribution (and financial savings).
3rdWhale allows iPhone users to download the app (for free currently) which provides them with a map of local green businesses by proximity -- everything from organic restaurants to eco-dry cleaners -- and the new Creative Solutions.
The app will be unveiled at an event in Santa Monica this Saturday called "The Evolution of Green: from Hype to Habit." Produced by EcoNouveau, the event will gather together many of California's most influential green leaders to answer one very important question (as quoted on the MaxGladwell blog):

There’s a lot of hype surrounding the green movement, but we’re not seeing a lot of habit. The results just aren’t materializing. Relative to the chatter, there should be much more change. Everyone is green in principle, but very few are green in practice. Why is that?

Well, one answer might be the lack of a portable tool that connects your daily activities with your green intentions. And it is just this void that the new 3rdWhale app hopes to fill by, as they say, "mobilizing the green revolution."
The 3rdWhale app is also designed for what the developers like to call "radical collaboration." A common buzz word in the politically correct world of CSR (corporate social responsibility) but the 3rdWhale/CreativeCitizen guys seem to mean it. Unlike most other apps, it is an open API within Apple's own open API, meaning that 3rd parties can create add-ons to the application, including a rumored green business rating system which will screen business owners for their green practices and rate them accordingly.
I have followed Creative Citizen closely from its formation by Scott Badenoch and Argam Derhartunian into one of the most robust tools for helping individuals live more sustainably. The fact that it is now integrating with a mobile search engine of local green businesses puts it well on its way to becoming the must-have app for green techies.
UPDATE: The Saturday event is currently at capacity but the CreativeCitizen programs will be streaming the event live (including interviews by yours truly) via a twitter feed:

Should be a fun event with lots of eco-celebs of PlanetGreen fame in attendance. You can check back here on this post or watch it on the CreativeCitizen website.

New iPhone app gets you in the 'green habit' | MNN - Mother Nature Network

Jun 13, 2009

Facebook | Username

Starting NOW, you can choose a username for your Facebook account to easily direct friends, family, and coworkers to your profile.

To select your username, visit the link NOW:

To learn more about usernames, visit the Help Center:

Jun 12, 2009

Tell the Travel Industry How You Want Them to Get Greener

Tell the Travel Industry How You Want Them to Get Greener

Tourism and hospitality leaders want to make your vacations and business travel a "greener" experience for you, and for the planet. Global environmental and travel organizations, suppliers and media have joined with CMI Green and BBMG to produce this first-ever, comprehensive Green Traveler Survey. Your important feedback will help airlines, cruise lines, hotels, tour operators and destinations make their operations and communications greener.

Your answers are strictly confidential - none of the information you provide will be used for marketing purposes, nor will you be added to any lists without your optional, express consent at the conclusion of the survey.

Completing the online survey takes only 12-15 minutes, and as an incentive to complete it, TEN WINNERS will receive a choice of a $50 iTunes gift card, or a $50 Amazon credit, or a $50 donation to the charity of your choice.

Please take a moment now to take the survey. Your feedback really matters! Please also email the link to your friends and colleagues, and ask them to complete their survey by June 15th.

Jun 10, 2009

Sightseeing : Birdwatching in Fiji : Gowealthy.com

Bird watching is a pleasure in Fiji, with a variety of rare and indigenous found in its forests.

You can observe the Fiji Goshawk glide majestically, a bird you only find in Fiji, or the Blue-Crested Broadbill, found only in the Viti Levu rainforest, or hear the deep hollow call of the Barking Pigeon at the Colo-I-Suva Forest Park.
There are about 80 species of terrestrial and freshwater birds of which about 10 have been introduced. They are distributed throughout the islands but those interested in sampling an array bird should consider visiting three islands: Viti Levu (which has 56 of the 81 known species found in the group), Kadavu, and the Garden Island of Taveuni. In general, the larger islands tend to be more ecologically intact and the bigger birds--notably the parrots and pigeons--are easily seen.
There are three species of hawk in Fiji. The most common is the swamp harrier, Circus approximans, which is most commonly seen over the grasslands, swamps and wooded areas. It feeds on rodents, birds and occasionally snakes. The Fiji Goshawk, Accipiter rufitoques, ranges from the coast to inland areas and preys on lizards, insects and other birds. Peregrine falcons, Falcus peregrinus, can also be found in Fiji but are not commonly observed. 
There are several varieties of dove in Fiji. The most common is the introduced spotted turtle dove, Streptopelia chinensis, which is also among the most destructive vis a vis fruit crops. Among the most sought after by birders is the orange dove, Ptiliponus victor found in Vanua Levu, Taveuni and some of the other offshore islands. The male of the species is a bright orange with the exception of an olive green head. So rare is this bird that you'll be hard pressed to find a photo of it in any book.
Peale's pigeon, Ducula latrans , as Paddy Ryan, the South Pacific's premier nature photographer points out in his superb Fiji's Natural Heritage guide, is "more likely to be seen than heard" and sounds a great deal like a barking dog. Thus when walking through a remote rainforest, the bark you'll hear is more likely avian rather than canine in origin.
The white-collared kingfisher, Halcyon chloris, is a striking blue with a white collar around the neck. I've often seen them dipping into a friend's swimming pool in Taveuni. Also seen on Taveuni is the silktail, Lamprolia victoriae. Once thought to be a bird of paradise, it is becoming increasingly rare on other islands most likely because of logging. Paddy Ryan describes it as a deep black with metallic blue spangling on the head and breast.

Sightseeing : Birdwatching in Fiji : Gowealthy.com

Jun 1, 2009

Green Travel


Help Protect Your Favorite Travel Destination

"Green" Hotels Association® is encouraging all travelers to green up their travel. The U. S. Travel Data Center estimates that 43 million US travelers are "ecologically concerned." These travelers will be especially interested, but all travelers can take part in this important mission(the greening of the travel industry-whether away for business or pleasure.

Managers of all businesses react and respond to requests of guests, customers and clients who voice their concerns. So, when you write a note or speak directly to management regarding our environment, you are casting a vote. You can write a note to the general manager of the hotel, to the captain of the airplane and to the manager of a tour company or cruise line with compliments or comments regarding their green program. Thank them for their green program if they have one. Or, ask why they don't have a green program. As a paying customer, it is important that you let them know that you want them to lower water and energy usage and reduce solid waste-and that you want to participate.

"Encourage businesses to think as you do by choosing where to spend your travel dollars. Spend your dollars with travel businesses that are interested in protecting the beautiful destinations we all love to visit", suggests President Patricia Griffin.

Hotels and airlines which have an environmental agenda deserve your patronization. Book your guestrooms and meeting rooms with hotels that are clearly interested in protecting our environment, and let management know that's why you've chosen their hotel. "Green" Hotels Association® member hotels are encouraged to implement water-saving measures, execute energy-saving techniques and reduce solid waste. Rather than putting all these measures into effect "behind the doors", GHA encourages all lodging accommodations to get guests and clients involved. Hotels can offer towel and sheet-changing options, soap and shampoo dispensers, guestroom recycling baskets and reduced food-related waste. Almost all guests realize that we need to help protect our favorite destinations. Those guests are more than willing to participate in a hotel's green program. Choose "green" hotels by calling or faxing "Green" Hotels Association® for a list of members. Or, check out GHA's Internet site-www.greenhotels.com.

"Further ideas for greener individual travel", says Patricia Griffin, "include: during your hotel stay, let management know that it is not necessary to change your towels and sheets every day. When you leave the room, turn off the AC/heat, lights and TV. Carry your own bar soap and shampoo. Leave the little bottles of shampoo if you don't use them. Avoid room service."

Book flights with airlines that recycle the waste created when serving food and beverages to passengers. British Airways, for instance, has a very strong environmental agenda. Southwest Airlines recycles all cabin waste, and was the first to offer electronic ticketing systemwide.

Use the hotel van instead of renting a car. Use public transportation in your destination city.

Before you leave home, you can take the first steps to green up your travel by turning down the thermostat on your hot water heater, adjusting your AC/heat thermostat and stopping your newspaper.

You can help protect the beautiful business and pleasure destinations we all love to visit. You can help protect Mother Earth. You can help protect our environment for future generations.

"Green" Hotels Association - Green Travel