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Tourism Industry Protecting Our Oceans

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World Oceans Day, which takes place on Wednesday 8 June, is a chance to celebrate our seas and remember that it is our behaviour that impacts on the ocean’s survival. Our oceans come under significant strain from every day from overexploitation, illegal and unreported and unregulated fishing, marine pollution and climate change. However, despite the difficulties, some economic travel companies have implemented key initiatives to protect the world’s seas.

From grey reef shark tagging and turtle monitoring in Africa, to helping marine biologists collect data at the Great Barrier Reef, below are the travel companies making a difference in the fight for ocean conservation.

Building on the incredible influence andBeyond has on protected wildlife land, it is expanding its focus on wildlife conservation to include the preservation and sustainability of the seas, with its new project Oceans Without Borders.

Each of the three islands, andBeyond MnembaBenguerra and the newly acquired Vamizi island, are situated within protected marine areas and have a strong conservation focus, all with dedicated projects as well as shared initiatives.

andBeyond Vamizi Island is at the heart of Oceans Without Boarders, with its permanent team at the Vamizi Research Centre working to protect the sensitive eco-systems.  Project highlights include grey reef shark tagging, as Vamizi is home to one of the very few congregations on the east coast. Highlighted projects at andBeyond Mnemba Island include green turtle monitoring, while at andBeyond Benguerra Island the team is working to conserve the habitat of the endangered dugong in conjunction with Africa Foundation and the island’s local community.

All three projects are about simple, barefoot luxury and a respect for our oceans, with Benguerra the company’s most recent opening. It re-opened in July last year following a brilliant renovation and with a design that takes its inspiration from Mozambique’s Portuguese heritage.

Since its re-opening, and in tune with andBeyond’s ethos, guests are now able to support some of the many conservation projects Benguerra has undertaken as well as enjoying its raft of activities.

Benguerra sits alongside a permanent deep water channel which is renowned for its excellent game fishing and its brilliant location is also good for turtle encounter as the island’s massive sand dunes form the ideal habitat for turtles to nest.

The Residence by Cenizaro’s Zanzibari hotel has recently launched a new partnership with leading dive centre, One Ocean – which contributes to the Mnemba Island Conservation Area (MIMCA).  The new dive experience has been carefully designed so guests can enjoy the staggering variety of marine life in an area that was once threatened by overfishing and a general disregard for the fragility of the environment.

Mnai Bay, Zanzibar’s largest marine protected area, was declared a Marine Conservation Area in 1997 and guests are now charged a US$3 levy on all water-sports and diving within this zone. The revenue is paid into a community conservation fund which is used to show local fisherman, and their communities, the real economic value in protecting rather than exploiting these exceptional reefs.

Guests will also have the opportunity to learn about the importance of minimising island rubbish by actively recycling plastics and metal and why One Ocean uses such efficient boat engines.

The One Ocean dive experience at The Residence Zanzibar is for certified divers only. Rates are as follows: Single Dive (US$85); Double Dive/1-day (US$125); Four Dive/2-days (US$240); Six Dive/3-days (US$350); Eight Dive/4-days (US$455); Ten Dive/5-days (US$555) per person.

Rates at The Residence Zanzibar start from £418 per night, based on two sharing on a half board basis including taxes and fees. To book call the hotel on +255 245 555 000 or visit the website. www.cenizaro.com/theresidence/zanzibar.

Passionate about marine conservation, Fairmont Mayakoba, has a dedicated Ecology Manager and Coral Reef Restoration Team. It also has a special partnership with the non-Governmental organisation Oceanus A.C.

Now guests can join one of the team for a fascinating adventure of discovery on a private snorkelling tour of the resort’s coral nursery. The experience takes a behind-the-scenes look at how precious Acropora Palmata coral is grown, harvested and transplanted into the Mesoamerican Reef, the second largest reef in the world. Its special partnership with Oceanus A.C. means Fairmont Mayakoba is one of the only hotels with coral nurseries that can reproduce the Elkhorn Coral (Acropora palmata).

The exclusive trip costs US$75 per person (approx. £52) with all proceeds donated to Oceanus A.C. Rates at Fairmont Mayakoba start from £198 per night. To book call the hotel on 1 800 540 6088, email mayakoba@fairmont.com or visit the website. www.fairmont.com/mayakoba-riviera-maya.

Right in the heart of the Whitsundays, Hamilton Island is surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park – the largest marine protected area in the world and a World Heritage Area.  With ecological sustainability high on the agenda, Hamilton Island has a number of initiatives in place to ensure the protection of the island and its waterways including state of the art sewerage treatment facilities and a self-managed recycling program.

In addition, whilst staying on Hamilton Island, guests are encouraged to support the Marine Park research by logging the marine life they see whilst out snorkelling and diving.  The Eye on the Reef programme is a collaboration of 40 Marine Tourism operators who report and collect data on the health and status of the Great Barrier Reef.  It is then fed back to a special team of marine biologists at Hamilton Island’s eco-certified Fantasea Reefworld centre, who assist with the collection and comprehension of the data.

Hamilton Island offers a wide range of Great Barrier Reef experiences and accommodation options.  The Reef Comber Tour takes in the sites from the skies, with a seaplane journey offering a bird’s eye view of the sheer size and scale of the reef’s coral garden.  There is also the chance to explore the reef with a snorkel.   The 3-hour tour costs AU$599 (approx. £303) per person.  Rates on Hamilton Island start from £145 per night, rising to rates from £515 per night at the world-renowned hotel, qualia.  For more information, visit the website. www.hamiltonisland.com.au.

Environment

What Does the Rising Alt-Right Movement Mean for Climate Change Propaganda?

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Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Rawpixel.com https://www.shutterstock.com/g/rawpixel

Time author Justin Worland penned an insightful post this summer about the increasingly divisive attitudes on climate change. Worland pointed out that concerns about climate science used to be a bipartisan focus, but have since become primarily the concern of the left.

The Alt-Right Gives Renewed Voice to Climate Change Denialism

Unfortunately, the battle is becoming more divisive than ever before. The rise of the alt-right movement has propelled climate change denialism into overdrive. The election of Donald Trump illustrates this perfectly. In 2012, Trump tweeted that climate change was a mess created by the Chinese. At the time, his statement was dismissed as a mocking jab at the current president. However, after millions of alt-right voters put Trump in office, these fears became more pronounced.

The alt-right movement is gaining steam across the Western World. This has created profound concerns about the inevitable future of climate change. Of course, not every alt-right group adheres to climate change denialism. A British paper writing service would likely publish more articles that are favorable to the climate change discussion, even if it was read primarily by right-wingers. However, that is of little solace to the rest of the world. While alt-right groups in mainland Europe may not share the American GOP’s hostility towards climate science, they will help reinforce their political capital.

Around the same time Worland published his article, his colleague at The Guardian, David Runciman wrote a piece that focused more heavily on recent developments driven by the alt-right.

“Not all climate sceptics are part of the “alt-right”. But everyone in the alt-right is now a climate sceptic. That’s what makes the politics so toxic. It means that climate scepticism is being driven out by climate cynicism. A sceptic questions the evidence for a given claim and asks whether it is believable. A cynic questions the motives of the people who deploy the evidence, regardless of whether it is believable or not. Any attempt to defend the facts gets presented as evidence that the facts simply suit the interests of the people peddling them.”

Does this mean that the quest to fight climate change has been lost? No. A new generation of right wingers are beginning to break the cycle of climate change denialism. According to recent polls, millennial conservatives are much more likely to be concerned about the future of climate change then they’re older conservative brethren. They may help turn the tide of the political discussion, so climate change can once again be a bipartisan concern.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of concerns:

  • Millennials are less politically active, so they may not have the influence necessary to temper the alt-right position on climate change.
  • The alt-right has significant control over the discussion. Trump has taken efforts to bar studies that contradict his position on climate change. Millennial attitudes on climate science make shift after being exposed to alt-right propaganda.

The biggest concern of all is that it may be too late to address the problem by the time millennials have any meaningful political influence.

So what can be done to address the issue? Climate change advocates must be more diligent than ever. They will be combating a group of climate change deniers with a lot more political support. They will need to make the case that fighting climate change is not a political concern, but a concern of human survival.

With concerns about climate change mounting, they will also need to make it one of their primary ballot points during coming elections. If they create enough of a protest, they may be able to turn the tide of discussion.

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How Home Automation Can Help You Go Green

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The holidays are an exciting, nostalgic time: the crispness in the air, the crunch of snow under your boot, the display of ornate holiday lighting up your home like a beacon to outer space, and the sound of Santa’s bell at your local Walmart.

Oh, yeah—and your enormous electric bill.

Extra lights and heating can make for some unexpected budgeting problems, and they also cause your home to emit higher levels of CO2 and other pollutants.

So, it’s not just your wallet that’s hurting—the planet is hurting as well.

You can take the usual steps to save energy and be more eco-conscious as you go about your normal winter routine (e.g., keeping cooler temperatures in the home, keeping lights off in naturally lit rooms, etc.), but these methods can often be exhausting and ultimately ineffective.

So what can you actually do to create a greener home?

Turn to tech.

Technology is making waves in conservation efforts. AI and home automation have grown in popularity over the last couple of years, not only because of their cost saving benefits but also because of their ability to improve a home’s overall energy efficiency.

Use the following guide to identify your home’s inefficiencies and find a solution to your energy woes.

Monitor Your Energy Usage

Many people don’t understand how their homes use energy, so they struggle with conservation. Start by looking at your monthly utility bills. They can show you how much energy your home typically uses and what systems cost you the most.

monitor energy usage

Licensed from Shutterstock – By Piotr Adamowicz

The usual culprits for high costs and energy waste tend to be the water heater and heating and cooling system. Other factors could also impact your home’s efficiency. Your home’s insulation, for example, could be a huge source of wasted heating and cooling—especially if the insulation hasn’t been inspected or replaced in years. You should also check your windows and doors for proper weatherproofing every year.

However, waiting for your monthly bill or checking out your home’s construction issues are time-consuming steps, and they don’t help you immediately understand and tackle the problem. Instead, opt for an easier solution. Some homeowners, for example, use a smart energy monitor such as Sense to track energy use in real time and identify energy hogs.

Use Smart Plugs

Computers, televisions, and lights still consume energy if they’re left on and unused. Computers offer easy cost savings with their built-in timers that allow the devices to use less energy—they typically turn off after a set number of minutes. Televisions sometimes provide the same benefit, although you may have to fiddle with the settings to activate this feature.

A better option—and one that thwarts both the television and the lights—is purchasing smart plugs. The average US home uses more than 900 kilowatts of electricity per month. That can really add up, especially when you realize that people are wasting more than $19 billion every year on household appliances that are always plugged in. Smart plugs like WeMo can help eliminate wasted electricity by letting you control plugged-in items from your smartphone.

Update Your Lighting

Incandescent lightbulbs can consume and waste a lot of energy—35% of CO2 emissions are generated from electric power plants. This can have serious consequences for increased global warming.

To reduce your impact on the environment, you can install more efficient lightbulbs to offset your energy usage. However, many homeowners choose smart lights, like the Philips Hue bulbs, to save money and make their homes more energy efficient.

Smart lights can be controlled from your smartphone, and many smart light options come with monthly energy reporting so you can continue to find ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

Take Control of the Thermostat

Homeowners often leave the thermostat on its default settings, but defaults often result in heating and cooling systems that run longer and harder than they need to.

In fact, almost half the average residential energy use comes from energy-demanding heating and cooling systems. As an alternative to fiddling with outdated systems, eco-conscious homeowners use smart thermostats to save at least 10% on heating and roughly 15% on cooling per year.

Change your home’s story by employing a smart thermostat such as the Nest, ecobee3, or Honeywell Lyric. Smart thermostats automatically adjust your in-home temperature by accounting for a variety of factors, including outdoor humidity and precipitation. A lot of smart thermostats will also adjust your home’s temperature depending on the time of day and whether you’re home.

Stop Wasting Water

The average American household uses about 320 gallons of water per day. About one-third of that goes to maintaining their yards. Using a smart irrigation systems to improve your water usage can save your home up to 8,800 gallons of water per year.

Smart irrigation systems use AI to sync with local weather predictions, which can be really helpful if you have a garden or fruit trees that you use your irrigation system for  water. Smart features help keep your garden and landscaping healthy by making sure you never overwater your plants or deprive them of adequate moisture.

If you’re looking to make your home greener, AI-enabled products could make the transition much easier. Has a favorite tool you use that wasn’t mentioned here? Share in the comments below.

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