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 Mnemba, Benguerra 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money
The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.
Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.
Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.
Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale
The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.
Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.
Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI
It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.
Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.
Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.
Implementing green changes without a plan
Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.
Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:
- How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
- How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
- How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
- How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?
The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.
Not considering the benefits of green printing
Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.
Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.
According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:
- They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
- They consume less energy than traditional printers.
- They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.
You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.
Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers
Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.
The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.
You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.
Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.
2017 Was the Most Expensive Year Ever for U.S. Natural Disaster Damage
Devastating natural disasters dominated last year’s headlines and made many wonder how the affected areas could ever recover. According to data from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the storms and other weather events that caused the destruction were extremely costly.
Specifically, the natural disasters recorded last year caused so much damage that the associated losses made 2017 the most expensive year on record in the 38-year history of keeping such data. The following are several reasons that 2017 made headlines for this notorious distinction.
Over a Dozen Events With Losses Totalling More Than $1 Billion Each
The NOAA reports that in total, the recorded losses equaled $306 billion, which is $90 billion more than the amount associated with 2005, the previous record holder. One of the primary reasons the dollar amount climbed so high last year is that 16 individual events cost more than $1 billion each.
Global Warming Contributed to Hurricane Harvey
Hurricane Harvey, one of two Category-4 hurricanes that made landfall in 2017, was a particularly expensive natural disaster. Nearly 800,000 people needed assistance after the storm. Hurricane Harvey alone cost $125 billion, with some estimates even higher than that. So far, the only hurricane more expensive than Harvey was Katrina.
Before Hurricane Harvey hit, scientists speculated climate change could make it worse. They discussed how rising ocean temperatures make hurricanes more intense, and warmer atmospheres have higher amounts of water vapor, causing larger rainfall totals.
Since then, a new study published in “Environmental Research Letters” confirmed climate change was indeed a factor that gave Hurricane Harvey more power. It found environmental conditions associated with global warming made the storm more severe and increase the likelihood of similar events.
That same study also compared today’s storms with ones from 1900. It found that compared to those earlier weather phenomena, Hurricane Harvey’s rainfall was 15 percent more intense and three times as likely to happen now versus in 1900.
Warming oceans are one of the contributing factors. Specifically, the ocean’s surface temperature associated with the region where Hurricane Harvey quickly transformed from a tropical storm into a Category 4 hurricane has become about 1 degree Fahrenheit warmer over the past few decades.
Michael Mann, a climatologist from Penn State University, believes that due to a relationship known as the Clausius-Clapeyron equation, there was about 3-5 percent more moisture in the air, which caused more rain. To complicate matters even more, global warming made sea levels rise by more than 6 inches in the Houston area over the past few decades. Mann also believes global warming caused the stationery summer weather patterns that made Hurricane Harvey stop moving and saturate the area with rain. Mann clarifies although global warming didn’t cause Hurricane Harvey as a whole, it exacerbated several factors of the storm.
Also, statistics collected by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from 1901-2015 found the precipitation levels in the contiguous 48 states had gone up by 0.17 inches per decade. The EPA notes the increase is expected because rainfall totals tend to go up as the Earth’s surface temperatures rise and additional evaporation occurs.
The EPA’s measurements about surface temperature indicate for the same timespan mentioned above for precipitation, the temperatures have gotten 0.14 Fahrenheit hotter per decade. Also, although the global surface temperature went up by 0.15 Fahrenheit during the same period, the temperature rise has been faster in the United States compared to the rest of the world since the 1970s.
Severe Storms Cause a Loss of Productivity
Many people don’t immediately think of one important factor when discussing the aftermath of natural disasters: the adverse impact on productivity. Businesses and members of the workforce in Houston, Miami and other cities hit by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma suffered losses that may total between $150-200 billion when both damage and sacrificed productivity are accounted for, according to estimates from Moody’s Analytics.
Some workers who decide to leave their homes before storms arrive delay returning after the immediate danger has passed. As a result of their absences, a labor-force shortage may occur. News sources posted stories highlighting that the Houston area might not have enough construction workers to handle necessary rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Harvey.
It’s not hard to imagine the impact heavy storms could have on business operations. However, companies that offer goods to help people prepare for hurricanes and similar disasters often find the market wants what they provide. While watching the paths of current storms, people tend to recall storms that took place years ago and see them as reminders to get prepared for what could happen.
Longer and More Disastrous Wildfires Require More Resources to Fight
The wildfires that ripped through millions of acres in the western region of the United States this year also made substantial contributions to the 2017 disaster-related expenses. The U.S. Forest Service, which is within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reported 2017 as its costliest year ever and saw total expenditures exceeding $2 billion.
The agency anticipates the costs will grow, especially when they take past data into account. In 1995, the U.S. Forest Service spent 16 percent of its annual budget for wildfire-fighting costs, but in 2015, the amount ballooned to 52 percent. The sheer number of wildfires last year didn’t help matters either. Between January 1 and November 24 last year, 54,858 fires broke out.
2017: Among the Three Hottest Years Recorded
People cause the majority of wildfires, but climate change acts as another notable contributor. In addition to affecting hurricane intensity, rising temperatures help fires spread and make them harder to extinguish.
Data collected by the National Interagency Fire Center and published by the EPA highlighted a correlation between the largest wildfires and the warmest years on record. The extent of damage caused by wildfires has gotten worse since the 1980s, but became particularly severe starting in 2000 during a period characterized by some of the warmest years the U.S. ever recorded.
Things haven’t changed for the better, either. In mid-December of 2017, the World Meteorological Organization released a statement announcing the year would likely end as one of the three warmest years ever recorded. A notable finding since the group looks at global land and ocean temperature, not just statistics associated with the United States.
Not all the most financially impactful weather events in 2017 were hurricanes and wildfires. Some of the other issues that cost over $1 billion included a hailstorm in Colorado, tornados in several regions of the U.S. and substantial flooding throughout Missouri and Arkansas.
Although numerous factors gave these natural disasters momentum, scientists know climate change was a defining force — a reality that should worry just about everyone.
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