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Eco Tourism in Marrakech

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The Moroccan city of Marrakech is committed to green tourism. A leading global tourist destination and Morocco’s top attraction, the city has recently hosted the COP22 climate change summit and is fast turning into a green city that encourages eco tourism.

Tourism is the second highest source of income, making up 12% of Moroccan GDP – more than 10 million tourists visited the country in 2015. The National Tourism Office is keen to integrate environmental awareness and protection initiatives into the tourism sector.

General Director Abderrafie Zouiten said: ‘We never wanted to develop mass tourism. Morocco intends to emphasis the eco tourism, its special tangible and intangible heritage, together with the tourism professions, with the regions.’

Sustainable Tourism Charter

The new Moroccan Sustainable Tourism Charter came into force on 25th January 2016 launching the first ever Sustainable and Responsible Tourism Day. The Charter is designed as a framework reference for all industry stakeholders to come together around the four principles of sustainable tourism:

  • Biodiversity Protection and the Environment
  • Sustainability of Culture and Heritage
  • Prioritising Local Development and Respect for Host Communities
  • Fairness, Ethics and Social Responsibility

Morocco’s eco tourism efforts have also been recognised internationally with a Silver Award at the African Responsible Tourism Awards in Cape Town.

Green Key

greenkey

More than 72 Moroccan hotels, hostels and smaller accommodations have now been awarded the prestigious Green Key for their environmental efforts and responsibility, of which 30 can be found in Marrakech.

The Green Key is a voluntary eco label supported by the United National Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). At present, 2,500 establishments across 53 countries are accredited.

These efforts form part of Morocco’s new policy to encourage sustainable development in order to achieve its Vision 2020 Tourism Strategy. This strategy is designed to make the country’s tourism industry more competitive, aiming to attract 20 million tourists by 2020.

Visiting Marrakech

Marrakech, where history and culture merge in a most attractive way, is part of this ambitious vision for the future. The city was awarded ISO 14 011 certification for its sustainable tourism efforts, and there are plenty of options for the eco tourist to enjoy and discover the beauty of this ancient city.

Here are some tips to help promote sustainable travel during your visit:

Shop local

Marrakech’s famous souks boast over 3,000 ‘shops’ and all will reassure you that their wares are authentic, local made and of the finest quality when, in fact, many products will have been mass produced and are not good quality. If you’re looking for genuine souvenirs that also support local business, why not visit fair trade outlets such as Al Nour, a social enterprise that supports handicapped women, or the Cooperative Artisanale des Femmes de Marrakech.

Argan Oil is another classic example. Once a Berber tribal ingredients, it is now a global multi million dollar industry. The Argan tree, native to Morocco, plays an important part in protecting the soil in the South West of the country and preventing more desertification. With the help of UNESCO, Argan trees are now protected while cooperatives have been set up to promote better wages and work conditions for local women. If you wish to buy some Argan Oil to take home, you’re advised to shop at the cooperatives. They may charge a little more but chances are higher that you’ll be getting good quality or even certified organic oil as opposed to cheaper and inferior products sold widely elsewhere.

Sustainable transport

The best way to explore Marrakech is on foot. The Medina provides plenty of opportunity to step back in time and discover architectural gems and hidden alleyways. As far as green space goes, the Menara Gardens are filled with olive trees and great sites, making them a fantastic place for a nature walk. The colourful and exotic Majorelle Gardens contain botanic specimen from around the world as well as the former home of Yves Saint Laurent.

Cycling is another environmentally friendly way to get around. RentBee offers a range of bikes for rent, while Marrakech City Bike Tours offers a chance to discover the old Marrakech Medina.

Of course, for the authentic Moroccan experience, a Mehari dromedary ride is the best way to see the region and discover some of Morocco’s dessert environment…

Respect local customs

While Marrakech is a cosmopolitan city, modest dress is always appreciated in order to be respectful of local customs, particularly in the Medina. Some tourists go around in skimpy t-shirts and shorts or miniskirts, which can create unwanted attention. As a Muslim country, most local women do not show skin apart from face and hands. Do at least have something to hand to cover up your shoulders and keep our knees covered.

Similarly, overt public displays of affection between couples should be avoided, as should eating and drinking while walking along the street, and smoking in the street during Ramadan.

Written by Dakota Murphey, a freelance travel writer working with luxury 18th century courtyard house Riad el Zohar, in Marrakech.

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What Kitchen Suits Your Style? Modern, Classic or Shaker?

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shaker kitchen designs

A kitchen is the centre of the home. Your kitchen ranges between where friends and family gather, talk about their day, cook meals, have drinks, to somewhere you can just enjoy each other’s company. The kitchen is the heart of the home. But, everyone’s lifestyle is different. Everyone’s taste is different. So, you need a kitchen that not only mirrors your lifestyle but matches your taste too. Whilst some prefer a more traditional design, others want a modern feel or flair – and it’s all down to personal taste.

When it comes to redesigning your kitchen, what style would you go for? It’s a difficult one isn’t it. With so many different styles to go for, how can you know exactly what you want until you’ve seen it in action? Leading kitchen designer, Roman Kitchens, based in Essex, have provided three examples of bespoke kitchens and styles they specialise in, accompanied with beautiful images. This design guide will get you one step closer to picking your dream kitchen for your home.

1. Modern

New home in the city centre? Or even a sleek new modern build? You want a trendy and modern kitchen to reflect your city lifestyle. In modern kitchen design, colours are bolder and fresher, with sleek design and utilities that are distinctive and vibrant.

modern kitchen designs

This modern kitchen is sleek and smooth with flawless design and beauty. Minimalism doesn’t stop this kitchen standing out. Featured walls of wood and vibrant mint green draw the eye, whilst the white surfaces reflect the light, illuminating every nook and cranny of this kitchen. This kitchen features products from Rotpunkt, innovators of modern kitchen design. Made with German engineering, a Rotpunkt Kitchen is the ultimate modern addition to your home. Rotpunkt Kitchens have timeless design and amazing functionality, they work for every purpose and are eco-friendly. Sourced from natural materials, a Rotpunkt kitchen uses 37% less timber, conserving natural forests and being more environmentally conscious.

2. Classic

Prefer a homely and traditional feel? Classic kitchens are warm, welcoming and filled with wood. Wood flooring, wood fixtures, wood furniture – you name it! You can bring a rustic feel to your urban home with a classic kitchen. Subtle colours and beautiful finishes, Classic kitchens are for taking it back to the basics with a definitive look and feel.

classic kitchen designs

With stated handles for cupboards, Classic kitchens are effortlessly timeless. They convey an elegant but relaxing nature. Giving off countryside vibes, natural elements convey a British countryside feel. The wood featured in a classic kitchen can range between oaks and walnut, creating a warmth and original feel to your home. Soft English heritage colours add a certain mood to your home, softening the light making it cosier.

3. Shaker

Any kitchen planner will tell you that the meeting point between traditional and modern design, is a Shaker kitchen. They have a distinctive style and innovative feel. Shakers are fresh, mixing different colour tones with stylish wood and vinyl. The most important feature of a Shaker kitchen is functionality – every feature needs to serve a purpose in the kitchen. Paired with stylish and unique furniture, a Shaker kitchen is an ideal addition to any home.

shaker kitchen designs

The ultimate marriage between Classic and Modern kitchens, this Shaker kitchen has deep colour tones with copper emphasis features. All the fittings and fixtures blur the line of modern and tradition, with a Classic look but modern colour vibe. Unique furniture and design make Shaker Kitchens perfect for the middle ground in kitchen design. Minimal but beautifully dressed. Traditional but bold and modern at the same time. Storage solutions are part of the functionality of Shaker kitchens, but don’t detour from conveying yours as a luxury kitchen.

Whatever you choose for your new kitchen, be it Modern, Classic or Shaker – pick whatever suits you. Taste is, and always will be, subjective – it’s down to you.

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Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy

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Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.

Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.

Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.

How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:

  • They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
  • They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
  • They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
  • They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.

Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.

Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use

The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.

Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.

Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers

Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.

Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.

Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy

Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:

  • Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
  • Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
  • Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.

You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.

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