​The top eco-friendly countries to visit in 2017

​The top eco-friendly countries to visit in 2017

Eco-tourism is about much more than just beautiful scenery and socialising with the friendly locals. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship that doesn’t exploit the indigenous community or its natural environment. It’s about preserving and protecting what is unique and precious. Previously I’ve spoken about choosing both your destination and activities very carefully, well here is the perfect bucket list for any traveller that is looking for an eco-friendly destination:

Costa Rica – Costa Rica is well known in the eco-traveller’s community as the leaders in eco-tourism. Not only is it one of the most beautiful countries you will ever visit but it boasts a long list of protected national parks. They have also now implemented a brilliant new system whereby it grades lodgings according to their environmental conscientiousness. It truly is a shining beacon in this industry, proving that you do not have to compromise on luxury and beauty to achieve a sustainable relationship with your natural environment.

Norway – This might not come as a big surprise but Norway is one the leading countries when it comes to living sustainability. The country might be very small but it is one of the leaders in terms of switching its consumer energy to renewable sources. And if that’s not enough to convince you, I have two more words for you, Norwegian Fjords.

Kenya – I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that there are few countries in the world that could offer you such a rich diversity of the animal kingdom than Kenya (or most African countries for that matter). But far more impressive is Kenya’s unprecedented effort to combat illegal poaching and preserve its natural habitats.

Palau – Palau is known for the most spectacular oceans. It’s no secret that our oceans are suffering immensely as a direct result of pollution, global warming and over fishing. The Palau nation has declared most of its reefs no-fishing zones and has been breading a culture of conservation and preservation in the youth with projects, like the Palau Project, that focusses on teaching the youth about these oceans.   

Galapagos Islands – About 90% of these islands are actually national parks where conservation is key. They also restrict the number of visitors to these islands. You can expect to be treated to breathtakingly beautiful views and world renowned snorkelling sites. 

Peru – This one is definitely next on my bucket list. This mountainous country is rich in unique fauna and flora that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, about 30% of its plant species are exclusively endemic to Peru. Then there is the rich history, and the vital role it has played throughout the decades in modern day civilisations, known for having archaeological sites containing evidence of one of the world’s oldest civilisations.

Iceland – Iceland was recently declared as the cleanest consumer energy country in the world, top that with breath taking scenic views and the infamous northern lights, how can it not be on your list already? 

Amazon Rainforest – The Amazon is known to provide 20% of the earth’s breathable oxygen. It stretches across several South American countries and is home to literally thousands of micro and macro ecosystems. Make sure that you choose eco-friendly accommodation and activities as it is well known that the Amazon is one of the hardest hit regions by global warming.

Lithuania – 22% of this beautiful Baltic country’s energy consumed is generated renewably. It is seen as the pioneer in its region when it comes to embracing and achieving the U.N. sustainable development goals. Naturally, the country boasts a long list national parks that can be visited.

What would you add to this list?

The truth about palm oil

The truth about palm oil

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Palm oil is one of those products that mainly pass by without you knowing it, even though it is included in a vast range of products that most people use every day. Many people do not know that it is also a large contributor to the alarming rate of deforestation of the already ailing rainforests that remain throughout Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra and the likes. In many of these communities where these plantations are established small children are forced to do physical labour for long hours in horrific conditions. The big corporations funding these expeditions also lie, cheat and steal their way onto ground that belongs to the indigenous people with their empty promises of development and a better life for all. Many families are dumped into extreme poverty because they can no longer sustain themselves from their own land is forced to become plantation workers, not even earning enough to provide the basics for their families.

With deforestation also comes the endangerment of over 300 000 species of different animals, insects and plants across many ecosystems. Orang-utans are one example of a species that could be extinct in 10 years if their numbers continue to decrease at the currents rate. This endangerment is not only due to their habitat that is shrinking each day, but by the increase in poaching and black market trading of rare species that these foreigners bring with them.

Not to confuse coconut oil with palm oil. Palm oil can generally be found in products such as shampoo, lipstick, instant noodles, ice cream, margarine, detergents, and alarmingly, biofuels. It is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world at the moment, contributing about half of the vegetable oil used in America, Australia and England, and its use is expected to double by 2050.

The ripple effect of deforestation, poverty and endangerment that is left in its wake cannot be ignored any longer. There may be hope, it was estimated that about 18% of the world’s palm oil was certified as sustainable in 2014, even though there has been widespread controversy around this topic. The fact is that oil palm trees are capable of yielding more oil from less land than any other vegetable oil, if it is controlled and regulated properly.

Ever heard of the Tiger Challenge? Companies that have agreed to make use of sustainable sources of palm oil, which is tiger and forest friendly are;

  • Procter & Gamble
  • Colgate-Palmolive
  • Ferrero
  • General Mills
  • Godrej
  • Johnson & Johnsons
  • Kao
  • Kellog’s
  • Libay
  • L’Oréal
  • Mondelēz International
  • Nestlé
  • Nice Group
  • PepsiCo
  • Reckitt Benckiser
  • Unilever

Think twice before you purchase a product, make sure you know where they get their resources from, and that you are not unknowingly contributing to the destruction of our precious rainforests. Make informed decisions.

For more information you can visit:

http://www.saynotopalmoil.com

http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/footprint/agriculture/palm_oil/

http://www.wwf.org.au/our_work/saving_the_natural_world/forests/palm_oil/

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/publications/Campaign-reports/Forests-Reports/Cutting-Deforestation-Out-Of-Palm-Oil/

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/publications/reports/how-unilever-palm-oil-supplier/