Amber Nuttall, entrepreneur, environmentalist and ambassador for the Blue Marine Foundation, is to navigate the Thames from source to sea (236 miles) on a Paddle Board.
She is enduring cold, rough waters, bruised shins and muscle ache to fund an urgent scientific expedition which could help protect Ascension Island (one of the UK’s overseas territories) in the tropical Atlantic. You can support her Thames Paddle Board attempt here.
A second-generation environmentalist (her father was the late tycoon and environmentalist, Sir Nicholas Nuttall, founder of the Bahamas Reef Environmental Educational Foundation) Amber has inherited her father’s passion for marine conservation.
Amber is raising money for the Blue Marine Foundation, which is funding an expedition this week to investigate the little-known waters around Ascension Island, the northernmost reach of the British Oversees Territory of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.
The expedition will shed light on the extraordinary biodiversity off the coast of Ascension. The waters around Ascension and St Helena contain many species of fish that are not found anywhere else in the world, including the Resplendent Pygmy Angelfish, Marmalade Razorfish and the intriguingly named Bastard Cunningfish.
Amber said: ”It really spurs me on in this challenge to know that every penny I raise will go towards this Ascension expedition. It’s very exciting that they might discover new species. And I would be thrilled if Ascension was declared the biggest marine reserve in the Atlantic.
Our emptying oceans are one of the biggest, but most solvable environmental problems we face. Billions of people around the world rely on fish as their main source of protein. By keeping the oceans stocked with fish, we are also solving a global food crisis.
Marine reserves are like national parks – they give fish places to regenerate and help protect rare species. I’d love to paddle board around Ascension one day.”
Having undergone a rigorous training programme, Amber hopes to complete the sponsored challenge for BLUE in a matter of days. A support boat will accompany her from Putney onwards to help her negotiate the tides, Thames Clippers, water snakes and other potential hazards.
The urgent case for Ascension
Ascension Island is the peak of a gigantic undersea volcano in the tropical Atlantic. Its maritime area measures 443,000km2, roughly the size of Germany. Its waters are teeming with significant ocean predators, including tuna, sharks, dolphins and record-breaking marlin. It is a globally important nesting site for endangered green turtles.
Manta rays, whale sharks and leatherback turtles also frequent this highly productive marine environment, which is under immediate threat from the re-opening of a longline fishery.
A poorly managed long lining fishery, dominated by Taiwanese vessels suspected of shark-finning and significant abuses of human rights, was fishing around Ascension until 2013. Long lining delivers huge amounts of by-catch including sharks, turtles, dolphins and billfish such marlin and sailfish. However, the Ascension Islanders are on the brink of re-opening this destructive fishery due economic necessity.
Currently, a lack scientific data from the marine environment is a barrier to creation of a marine protected area around Ascension. Data on the abundance, distribution and biology of endemic and commercially exploited species is particularly lacking.
To fill these data gaps, a research vessel, funded by the Blue Marine Foundation will send divers and cameras down to previously unexplored depth range of 50 – 1,000 metres.
The SAERI survey, due to set sail from Ascension on 20 October 2015, and operating round the clock, will cover as large an area as possible within the waters of Ascension Island, with the main focus being depths of 1,000m and shallower, out to around 20km where biodiversity is thought to be highest.
As well as Ascension Island itself, a key focus of the survey will be a seamount 20km to the south of the island rising to 300m below the sea surface. Ascension and St Helena are part of a ridge of volcanoes, the others being submerged.
The decision as to whether to reopen the industrial fishery or designate an MPA around Ascension will be the first major decision taken since the UK government’s transformative commitment to create a ‘Blue Belt’ around its Overseas Territories in March 2015. The creation of what would be the largest marine reserve in the Atlantic would be a huge conservation gain by the UK.
You can support her attempt here.
Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage
While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.
If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.
Repair and Maintain Appliances
Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.
Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.
When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.
Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full
It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.
The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.
Recycle Water in Your Yard
Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.
You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.
Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants
Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.
Install Water-Saving Features
The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.
There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.
Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City
Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.
If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.
Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism
When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.
After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.
How was it started?
It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.
How to go about it?
So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.
If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.
What can be learned?
Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .