This site is designed to
let your imagination fly. It will introduce
to some unusual travel experiences. It doesn't
best hotels or restaurants,
but it will lay out the territory where you
be able to find one interesting adventure
up with some of the finest travel
on the planet and others like yourself.
So dream a lot,
a little. Then go.
In early December 2015 world leaders will gather in Paris at the COP21 meeting
on climate change. (COP=Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change - UNFCCC.)
Working from the belief that fossil fuels have changed earth’s climate significantly, this UN conference, like
others in the last couple of decades, including Rio, Montreal, Kyoto, will try to arrive at a workable global template for
countries to follow to reduce carbon emissions. (http://www.cop21.gouv.fr/en)Their stated goal: keep the earth’s
temperature from rising 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) by 2030.
Scientists agree that the earth has warmed significantly and very quickly several times in the past, but
those times were before humans populated the planet. More alarmingly, the famous graphs of global temperature illustrate
that this exponential rise – ours -- took off in 1859 (Industrial Revolution) and shows no sign of leveling off. CO2
levels are traceable to the vigorous production of industries that have allowed us to stay warm in winter, cool in summer,
to get from A to B at 600 miles an hour, to eat exotic fruits shipped from half a world away, to see inside our bodies,
and to light up the night. And that CO2, the byproduct of our lives, rises to the stratosphere and stops there, creating a
stifling embrace of the earth. Two more degrees, says the UN, and we begin a serious simmer.
But why will this conference be any different?
For one thing, the reality supersedes the political rhetoric: climate
change is in everybody's front yard.
Questions linger -- Whatever happened to the new ice age? Why did earth have periods of
pre-human global warming? Nevertheless,
the evidence is palpable: Storms are more violent; islands are eroding; species are changing; droughts are happening where
they have not before, and, as in California, are more severe; temperatures are colder and hotter than usual. Plus, we
have some bad habits: pollutants kill coral reefs; fracking poisons water; residue from cars, trucks, trains, buses, and
power plants compromise the air we breathe. Earth appears
to be a dangerous place now, and earth is all we have.
The problem at COP 21 is how to deal with
the damage and stop it from getting worse.
Another reason why this conference will be different
is that someone thought to ask people -- ordinary people -- what their own experience is with climate change. On June 6,
2015, the UNFCCC created an unprecedented gathering of 10,000 “ordinary citizens” in 76 countries who met in
groups of 100 in their communities to spend an entire day giving their opinions about global climate change. ((http://climateandenergy.wwviews.org/)
Randomly selected to reflect demographic diversity in their communities (even those who could not read, who
had the issues read to them), they spent the day watching UN videos on climate change effects (https://vimeo.com/126059978), discussing possible solutions, then voting on what suggestions to send to the conference in Paris.
The UNFCCC has encouraged "bottom-up
initiatives" before, but was astonished by the passionate response of so many "ordinary and sacred" citizens
speaking in one voice, and their remarkable agreement that globally reducing carbon emissions is imperative. (http://climateandenergy.wwviews.org/results/)
this conference can be different because for the first time, religious leaders are speaking out about what they perceive
to be a shared crisis:
We know we can't reverse future events entirely, because it appears that we are in
the middle of a perfect storm with cosmic cycles, some of them 10,000 years apart, on a collision course with the results
of our own clever use of resources that got out of hand. But we can deal with the present reality
and help design a paradigm shift to use technologies without chemical residues, like wind, water, solar; to come
up with ingenious ways to make excess CO2 disappear; and to change our lifestyles by accepting the challenge to change.
Francis issued an encyclical imploring everyone to limit the use of fossil fuels.
- Islamic leaders from 60 countries signed a declaration
confirming their “moral obligation to protect the earth."
- Rabbis prompted Jews to shape reasonable ways for “shared sustainable
Dalai Lama reminded followers that climate change is everyone's concern because of our “oneness of humanity. "
Learn farming the hard way.
Kansas, 1934. A natural drought combined
with farmers' failure to let the soil
take a break and restore itself. The result: famine and an exodus to the West.
(Photo © NOAA)
It's all interconnected.
A recent study found that clouds generally are getting lower, which
will keep us cooler. Places
Sahara Desert are major players in climate. Winds generated from the
hot sands form tropical storms in the Caribbean; sands blow across the Atlantic Ocean
and dry the Amazon Rainforest. In this amazing satellite picture,
Sahara sands are lifted
off Libya and
carried across the Mediterranean into Greece and Turkey. (Photo©NASA)
NOAA's most recent (2015) graph on global temperature
Glacier National Park, Grinnell Glacier,
place, same glacier, July, 2010.
AMONG THE BEST REEFS in the world,
Palau and the Great Barrier Reef
are both suffering from changes in the Pacific Ocean.
Surgeon fish on Flynn Reef, in the Great Barrier
AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Twenty years ago, the buzzword
was ecotourism: leave no footprints. That's evolved into encouraging travelers to visit places that are threatened by rapidly
rising sea levels, severe drought, rainforests diminished by over-logging, or nearby overactive volcanoes. Bringing
dollars to weak economies by engaging in local hospitality enriches the area and helps travelers understand the specific problems.
Take Palau, for example, arguably the
poster child for an island that is disappearing as sea levels rise. It is one of the most vital and vigorous tourist destinations
around: the diving is spectacular, the beaches pristine. Managed by the Palau Conservation Society, it has a strict no-fishing policy, despite its 1,400 species
of fish, because its 460-mile reef depends on fish to maintain its ecological balance. Tourist dollars contribute to Palauans'
future homes, wherever they might be. Numerous companies run regular diving trips to and in Palau; some include land tours
of World War II sites. For 10-days snorkeling on Rock Island, Palau, try the Oceanic Society http://www.oceanicsociety.org/expeditions/palau-snorkeling-the-rock-islands--63
ON SOFT CORALS OF ROCK
On land the environmental challenges are different for tourism. Local people who live in rainforests
have created a subculture of hotel architects who design places to stay that are both comfortable for travelers and sources
of significant employment and training for locals.
Solar-powered hot water and electricity, sustainable waste systems, safe drinking water respect the environment and are maintained by local folk
who train to be hotel managers, chefs specializing in local foods, and good guides to point out the wonders of their locale.
In Ecuador, for example,
one way to experience the rainforest is to stay at a remote lodge resort for 4 or 5 days where you can experience all of the
above and join bird-watching tours, nocturnal trips to see animals, river tube floats, take a cooking class, and learn how
to make chocolate from locally grown beans. Try, for example, Yachana Lodge in a nature reserve above the Napo River. High
comfort, culturally vital; 4 or 5 days, $1,200 to $1,500.
View of the
Napo River from Yachana Lodge in Ecuador.
For ANIMAL ADVENTURES, click Tab above.