British Airways plans to operate transatlantic flights partially powered by sustainable fuels as early as next year in a move that would generate 70% less carbon emissions than conventional jet fuel. BA plans to invest in a new US plant to be built in Georgia by LanzaJet, which will produce sustainable aviation fuel from sustainably-sourced […]British Airways could partially power flights using sustainable fuel as early as 2022 — Life & Soul Magazine
An eco-village is defined by Global Ecovillage Network as, “An intentional or traditional community using local participatory processes to holistically integrate ecological, economic, social, and cultural dimensions of sustainability in order to regenerate social and natural environments.”
They are essentially designed communities which strive to produce the least possible negative impact on the natural environment through intentional physical design and resident behaviour choices. They are consciously planned through locally owned, participatory processes to regenerate and restore its social and natural environments. An eco-village mostly ranges from a population of 50 to 250 individuals, although some are smaller, and traditional eco villages are often much larger. Larger ecovillages often exist as networks of smaller sub-communities.
While The Global Ecovillage Network lists almost 500 self-identified eco-villages around the world, from a network of remote villages in Sri Lanka to the popular Cristiana in Copenhagen, an autonomous commune of 850 people; we have picked 7 of the best ones for you to see what goes around and what needs to be learnt from these communities. With a rise in climate crisis (no, I will not call it climate change anymore), there are also 300+ Transition Towns and a growing number of green-focused co-housing communities, but few self-identify as eco-villages.
As the community’s website says, the Findhorn Foundation is “a spiritual community, eco-village and an international centre for holistic learning, helping to unfold a new human consciousness and create a positive and sustainable future.” Widely perceived as “the mother of all eco-villages”, it began in 1962 as an experimental architectural community project based at The Park, in Moray, Scotland, near the village of Findhorn. Due to the village’s extraordinary results, now its members serve as consultants for the United Nations and multinational corporations. The village itself is a constantly evolving model used as a learning environment by a number of university and school groups as well as by professional organisations and municipalities worldwide.
Started in 1978 with a small group, Tamera is one of the largest and oldest eco-villages in Europe. It is located on 335 acres (1.36 km2) in the Alentejo region of southwestern Portugal, which is just 2 hours away from Lisbon. The community believes in a future without war, in love without fear, and work to build Terra Nova by creating Healing Biotopes as centres to research and model a new planetary culture, with strong ethical foundations. Tamera is a peace research village with the goal of becoming “a self-sufficient, sustainable and duplicable communitarian model for nonviolent cooperation and cohabitation between humans, animals, nature, and Creation for a future of peace for all.” The village today is a community of around 200 that attracts visitors from all over the world.
The Federation of Damanhur, or simply Damanhur, is a commune, eco-village, and spiritual community situated in the alpine foothills north of Piedmont, Italy. Founded in 1975 Oberto Airaudi with around 24 followers, the community today has roughly 600 residents live in 30 communities, called “nucleos,” spread across a spectacular subalpine valley in northern Italy. Each of these nucleos’ in the Federation is devoted to a specific field: solar energy, seed saving, organic meat production, education, healing, etc. The community is a centre for spiritual, artistic and social research known throughout the whole world. Damanhur may be the world’s most fast-paced, high-tech eco-village. Why? For starters: It has its own molecular biology lab that tests for genetically modified food, it has a smart-phone for every member and a highly successful complementary currency — the credito.
Sekem (named after the ancient Egyptian hieroglyph for “vitality”) is an eco-village with 4 long-term dimensions for sustainability: culture, ecology, social, and economic. This agricultural and social settlement was founded by Dr Ibrahim Abouleish in 1977 with the idea of sustainable development and giving back to the community. Located on the desert land in Belbes, 60 kilometres northeast of Cairo, Sekem today has grown strong and prosperous, both economically and socially. Almost 40 years after its inception, the 2,800 hectares of the village’s green crops supply successful textile, natural medicines and herbal tea businesses that employ 2,000 people. All of this has been possible because of Sekem’s holistic approach and its ethical code of conduct.
In 2003, Sekem was awarded the Alternative Nobel Prize, the Right Livelihood Award as “a business model for the twenty-first century,” combining social and cultural development with commercial success.
Auroville is an international township in the south of India near the former French colony Pondicherry which aims to embody the ideal of human unity — and its ecological work comes as a consequence. It is the largest existing eco-city attempt in the world, where “men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities.” Auroville (City of Dawn) was founded in 1968 by the Mother (Mira Alfassa) in accordance with her dream a place where humanity can live united, in peace and in harmony with nature, beyond of all beliefs, political opinions and nationalities. Today, Auroville is home to over 2,000 people from 43 different countries and is one of the few places on Earth where biodiversity is actually increasing. With 50 years of experience and the support of the Indian ministry and international institutions like UNESCO, Auroville has now managed to build a social and economic system that is approaching stability. This kind of social security and cooperative today allows residents to meet most of the food and material needs and even receive a pension. The residents also have free access to education, basic medical care, sports and the many cultural activities of Auroville.
Ecovillage in Ithaca, NY, USA
Eco Village at Ithaca is a community of people seeking to create positive solutions to the social, environmental and economic crises our planet faces. Envisioned in 1991 and brought to life in 1996, this suburban cohousing community today promotes experiential learning about ways of meeting human needs for shelter, food, energy, livelihood and social connectedness that are aligned with the long-term health and viability of Earth and all its inhabitants. Covering 175 acres, it is located in the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York and provides the setting for a healthy, socially rich lifestyle focused on minimizing the ecological impact of humans. It is an intentional community and non-profit educational organization that invites you to live, learn and grow. This vast sanctuary boasts two community-supported agriculture (CSA) farms and 160 residents, 60 of whom are children.
Eco truly Park, Peru
Eco Truly Park is a magical self-sustaining artistic community located right next to the sea on the Chacra y Mar beach, a district of Aucallama, in the province of Huaral, one hour by bus or car (63 km) north of the capital city, Lima. This beautiful Peruvian Pacific coast ecological, the artistic community has a group of cute mud houses that offer a return to natural, healthy living inspired by Vaisnava principles. In the last 18 years, the members of this community have developed unique organic awareness cultivation and ecological program. The community is built 2.5 m above sea level and consisted previously of completely sandy, unworkable land. Today their community is visited by residents and volunteers from around the world who would like to travel to this retreat to experience living together in harmony with their surroundings.
As climate change accelerates, we need communities like these are trying to create viable models of sustainable, human-scale communities. Have you been to any eco villages? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below!
Originally published at https://travel.earth
Life & Soul Magazine’s Travel Guide to Eco Spas will whet your appetite for a vacation that brings healing to holidaymakers in accommodations that work in harmony with the planet.
21. Banasura Hill Resort, Kerala, India
One of India’s greenest resort and spas, Banasura Hill Resort, is applauded for being the largest “earth” resort in the country.
Constructed entirely from natural materials – mainly mud known as rammed earth, recycled wood, and bamboo and coconut palm leaf roofs, Banasura Hill Resort sits some 3500 ft above sea level nestled on a 35-acre eco-friendly farm in Kerala’s Wayanad district.
The earthly, rustic charm of the resort, constructed using mud excavated from the very site that it stands on, blends harmoniously with its lush green surroundings which include gushing mountain streams, spectacular waterfalls, and coffee, tea, pepper and cashew plantations.
Using sustainable archictecture techniques, “earth” architecture was chosen in the building of Banasura Hill Resort as it would cause the least amount of ecological damage in this biodiversity hotspot, which is part of the Western Ghats UNESCO World Heritage Site. With its mountainous range sprawling with forests, the Western Ghats is believed to be older than the Himalayas, and indigenous tribes of the region have long been familiar with the rammed earth method of building.
An indigenous tribe from the nearby Kurichiya village played a significant role in contributing their skill and expertise in the construction of Banasura Hill Resort, including creating a bio-fence by planting thousands of bamboos of different varieties around the resort’s perimeter.
Since Banasura Hill Resort stands in the middle of a tropical forest, all views from the resort’s naturally cooled earth huts and cottages are awe-inspiring, including a view of Banasura Hill which looms majestically behind the resort. The natural terracotta-coloured walls of the accommodations are largely left bare so guests can marvel at the craftsmanship gone into Banasura Hill Resort, while bamboo furnishings enhance the natural look and feel.
The resort also has a rejuvenating Ayurvedic spa where guests can experience massages which make use of traditional herbal preparations and medicated oils. It also has an outdoor pool.
Banasura is committed to sustainable practices throughout its operations including harvesting rainwater, and a biogas plant which recycles organic waste into manure and kitchen fuel.
Banasura Hill Resort is likely to appeal to people of all ages, however it’s nature lovers that are to benefit the most from a stay at the Kerala-based resort given that stunning greenery such as cascading waterfalls, plantations, caves and a national park is “on your doorstep”.
Images source: Banasura Hill Resort Facebook page
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com
There’s few boutique hotels in the world that can lay claim to visitors rubbing shoulders with giraffes over the breakfast table other than Kenya’s Giraffe Manor.
Giraffe Manor, set in 12 acres of private land within 140 acres of indigenous forest in the Langata suburb of Nairobi, is a wonderful and delightful vacation for anyone who has an affinity with the graceful and elegant mammals that are giraffes, namely the Rothschild species.
The boutique hotel, which is situated at one end of land used as a sanctuary by the Africa Fund for Endangered Wildlife for this rare species of giraffe, is often visited by a herd of Rothschild giraffes morning and evening, who sometimes poke their long necks into the windows of the dining room in the hope of a treat, before retreating to their forest sanctuary.
The giraffes are nurtured within the 140 acres of the estate, until they are ready to be reintroduced into the wilds of safer National Parks and game reserves wherever possible.
The Rothschild giraffe is one of the most endangered species of giraffe with under 2000 estimated to be left in the wild in 2016. One of the tallest giraffes, the Rothschild giraffe can grow to 19 feet in height and weigh about 2,500 pounds, with the males weighing more than the females by several hundred pounds.
Giraffe Manor, an English-style country mansion, has been supporting the conservation of the Rothschild giraffe since the 1970s when the then owners Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville first adopted an orphaned Rothschild giraffe, Daisy.
Now owned by The Safari Collection, Giraffe Manor has become a world-renowned boutique hotel, with 12 rooms offering guests old country house charm. Managed like a family home, dinner is served at a long table in the dining room, and after drinks served by the fire on the terrace overlooking the rolling lawns.
The Safari Collection supports several initiatives that protect local wildlife, including the Mara Cheetah Project, and operate sustainable practices throughout its portfolio of hotels aimed at reduce its energy, water and materials and emissions.
A popular place to stay in Kenya, mainly because of its resident four-legged friends, Giraffe Manor recommends booking 1-2 years in advance prior to travel.
Images Credit: Giraffe Manor
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com
Hotel Taselotzin, located in the Sierra Norte mountain range of Puebla in Mexico, is a sustainable hotel run by indigenous Nahua women.
Taselotzin, which in Nahuatl means “small plant or shoot”, started life as a hotel “with an indigenous heart” in 1995 as a result of the collective effort of the female-led organisation Masehual Siunamej Mosenyolchiacuani (“Indigenous women who support one another”).
Masehual Siunamej Mosenyolchiacuani was originally set up in 1985 to empower women within the community whilst protecting their indigenous heritage and traditions. Created and managed by more than 100 Nahua women of the region, many of whom are crafts people, the aim of the collective was to help indigenous women sell their crafts at fair prices and to improve their quality of life by creating jobs so to limit the number of community members needing to emigrate.
By 1987, the women’s collective realised that it was not enough to obtain income, and so on the advice of a student from the Autonomous Metropolitan University (UAM), who told the indigenous women that their embroidery could turn profitable beyond their home community of Cuetzalan, the idea of a community-owned hotel arose.
Cuetzalan, nestled in the northern mountains of Puebla, is a small village rich in indigenous history and heritage that is known for its coffee plantations, greenery, cobblestone streets, waterfalls, and caves.
More than 80% of the town’s inhabitants are of Náhuatl origin and live under customs of ancestral community management. These customs are based on conservation and respect towards nature, which have helped prevent the arrival of mining businesses into the area. The remote village has also become popular with conscious travellers looking to experience indigenous customs and traditions.
Hotel Taselotzin – which came about to provide work, preserve culture and halt migrations to big cities and other countries – is preserving the region’s indigenous way of life. Located a 10-minute walk from the city centre of Cuetzalan, Hotel Taselotzin offers basic accomodation decorated simply with Nahua symbols in the 14 bedrooms, a restaurant serving native dishes, traditonal crafts and herbal remedies sold at the hotel, and spa services which include a temazcal sweat lodge and massages.
Rufina Edith Villa, the Nahuatl leader who manages Hotel Taselotzin, said: “In a council meeting we considered this dream [Hotel Taselotzin]. What we wanted was to have our own resources, and not depend on any institution.”
More than 100 indigenous families benefit from the profits of the hotel, which enables indigenous women to be empowered. All profits are distributed among the community members, depending on their participation, during the annual meetings. The crafts are sold under a fair-trade policy and these profits are invested into a fund established to encourage continual product development. In addition, the hotel has its own microcredit system, which is accessible to all members in case of need.
The women say that each room at Hotel Taselotzin and each space is embedded in the pacha mama, the mystical earth mother. The spirit of the pacha mama is said to sip into the rooms, blessing the mountains and Cuetzalan.
Sustainability is a natural part of everything the women’s collective do at Hotel Taselotzin. The hotel participates in composting, and the women also support and partcipate in the conservation of green spaces.
Rufina Edith Villa added: “This place is rooted in nature and our hotel is like a plant, if we do not take care of it, it can wither. It is up to us.”
Hotel Taselotzin does not currently have its own website but rooms can be booked via Booking.com and other online travel companies
True Detective actor Matthew McConaughey has joined forces with Australian tiny house startup Unyoked to design an off-grid, eco-cabin.
Known as The Reserve, the rustic-style eco-cabin with its dark wood-panelling, was built with sustainable materials and is solar-powered. Featuring large windows and a firepit and with no TV nor WiFi, The Reserve was designed to “help people disconnect and get back in touch with the benefits of the wild”. Basic amenities include a queen-sized bed, a gas stove, plates, linens and even a concealed bourbon bar.
The Hollywood actor was involved in the eco-cabin’s design from conception through to construction, and added his own personal touches to the interiors, including vintage books and a range of tapes that can be played in the cabin’s vintage cassette stereo system.
The eco-cabin, which is currently located in the Central Coast region in Australia, is available to rent from this month for up to two guests at a time.
The Reserve was launched as part of liquor brand Wild Turkey’s “With Thanks” initiative to get more people to “reconnect with the wild” while also protecting the environment. Matthew McConnaughey took on the role as Creative Director of the Kentucky-based liquor brand in 2014.
In a statement, Matthew McConnaughey said: “I’ve always been in awe of Australia’s natural beauty. My hope now is that The Reserve will inspire Australians to reconnect with nature as an antidote to the frenetic pace of life.”
Unyoked aims to make the Australian wildnerness accessible to those in need of respite and balance through state-of-the-art cabins designed to help connect guests with nature.
The eco-cabin, which can be booked via the Unyoked website, costs AUS$293 per night on weeknights and AUS$353 per night over weekends.
A percentage of proceeds from The Reserve eco-cabin will be donated to Unyoked’s charity partner, the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife, an NGO that aims to protect Australia’s wildlife and wilderness.
2020 is set to see sustainable travel continue to go mainstream with the rise of “slow travel” and conscious travellers, according to ABTA, the association for travel agents and tour operators.
The rise of “slow travel”, a shift towards electric aviation, and an increased focus by travellers on the environmental and social impacts of travel are among five key travel trends for 2020 highlighted in an ABTA research report.
Holidaymakers are choosing to slow down the tempo and make more genuine connections with local people and cultures on their travels, according to The Travel Trends 2020 report, based on market information and consumer insights collated by ABTA.
“Slow travel” is as much about enjoying the journey as it is the destination, and a less packed itinerary takes the pressure off having to visit all the usual tourist hotspots. With more time in one destination, it can potentially reduce the journey footprint and provide travellers with the chance to support more locally run businesses – resulting in a positive impact on the local economy and community.
Another trend for 2020 forecast by ABTA is a shift towards electric powered aircraft, as advancements in technology and increasing demands for more sustainable modes of travel have made the concept of commercial electric flights a very real prospect for short haul travel. With aviation under increasing pressure to improve its carbon footprint, “the future for electric aircraft looks bright, both for leisure and business travel” the ABTA report states.
With sustainability on the rise and climate change in the spotlight throughout 2019, industry experts are predicting 2020 will be the year of conscious travel.
Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said: “Sustainability issues are now firmly in the minds of holidaymakers and are a continued thread throughout the report – from cruise industry initiatives to influencing three of our five trends. The travel industry continues to develop plans and initiatives which support local communities, their economies and the environment, so that tourism is a benefit to everyone.”
Other key trends expected to shape holiday choices in 2020, identified by ABTA research, include adopting digital customer service methods and personalised touring.
ABTA also revealed its “12 destinations to watch” which include Basilicata, Chicago and Lake Michigan, Georgia, Grenada, Madrid and its surrounding cities, Morocco, Namibia, South Korea, Singapore, The Netherlands, Uruguay and Vienna.
A new floating hotel and spa in the Arctic that floats in warm weather and freezes into the ice when temperatures cool is set to open in the heart of Swedish Lapland in January 2020.
Built on the water, Arctic Bath is located on the Lule River near the small village of Harads in Swedish Lapland, around 31miles south of the Arctic Circle. Situated under the northern lights in winter, and the midnight sun during the summer months, Arctic Bath is a unique hotel and spa experience that welcomes guests to immerse themselves in the elements while leaving a minimal environmental footprint behind.
Constructed using sustainable materials – wood, stone, leather and luxurious textiles – and with very little impact on the environment, Arctic Bath hotel and spa is the latest environmentally-friendly venture from the team behind the nearby Treehotel.
AnnKathrin Lundqvist, partner at the Arctic Bath, said: “We have a strong environmental focus. We’ve chosen so many materials that are locally produced.”
The hotel itself is comprised of six detached floating “cabins” and six additional cabins on land which are connected via floating walkways. The flotilla of floating cabins offer Scandi-chic interiors with double bed, shower room, underfloor heating and an exterior wooden deck, ideal for spotting the Northern Lights during the winter months or reaping the sunshine of the midnight sun over the summer months.
There are also six more elevated cabins built on the tree-lined shore, which are positioned on stilts above the ground so the cabins don’t disturb the natural growth below.
Central to the Arctic Bath complex is the Arctic Bath itself, a spa area which is inspired by “the timber floating era which recalls how felled trees were transported downriver for processing”.
The circular-shaped timber framed Arctic Bath, which is centred around an open-air plunge pool, also houses one spa treatment room, four saunas, a hot bath, outdoor and indoor showers, and two dressing rooms. The open centre of the bath invites guests to sunbathe, ice bathe or sit back to view the Northern Lights or star-filled skies.
A dip in the bath itself is consistent with the Arctic tradition of a cold-water plunge with the water maintained at 39 degrees Fahrenheit and combines well with the warmth of a sauna and spa. A special technique has been developed to keep the centre of the bath open during wintertime, adding to the atmospheric setting.
The circular building, which is accessed by a walkway, is also home to the wellness centre offering treatments including hot stone massage and unique therapies such as bespoke crystal healing. Designed by architects Bertil Harström and Johan Kaupp, native birch trees were used to surround the lodge and a tool used to dislodge log jams as inspiration for the shape of the cabins.
An on-site restaurant will be run by a Belgian and an indigenous Sámi chef with a menu described as Sámi fusion, including foraged ingredients and reindeer.
The Arctic Bath will also host several activities for visitors including hikes and paddleboarding during the summer months, and in the winter, northern lights expeditions, and cross-country skiing.
A new eco-hotel in Finland is set to charge its guests based on the carbon footprint of their stay.
Arctic Blue Resort, which opens in the small city of Kontiolahti in 2022, will be the world’s first resort where the price is emission-based – meaning the smaller the guest’s environmental impact, the less they pay.
Visitors of the resort can influence the cost for example by consuming less energy, attending ecological activities and making sustainable dietary choices.
From the same people behind the Arctic Brands Group, who make high-quality artisan spirits from ingredients found in Finnish nature, the Group believe that companies are obligated to find new solutions to fight climate change.
Mikko Spoof, the Vice President and founder of Arctic Brands Group, said: “We want to offer people a world-class eco-vacation and encourage them to make sustainable choices by having emission-based pricing for their stay. We want the resort to be a place of true tranquility and thus encourage our guests to be more present in the moment and embrace digital detox.
“With Arctic Blue resort we want to lead an example by putting emphasis on environmental responsibility and by creating solutions to minimise the negative impact of tourism.”
Arctic Blue Resort is designed to be as sustainable as possible – built with natural materials, powered by renewable energy
sources, and with its own water treatment system, the eco-hotel will be self-sustaining. Keeping in line with the natural surroundings, guests will also be able to choose from rooms where they can sleep under a starry night sky or enjoy a 360-degree view of the forest.
In addition to a restaurant serving locally sourced food, Arctic Blue Resort will also offer guests nature-inspired activities and excursions – including ice-swimming and snowshoeing in winter, and berry-picking and rowing in the summer.
Sustainable cabins in secret locations, otherwise known as Slow Cabins, are popping up outside the city of Belgium in a bid to help people connect with nature.
Each cabin, built using eco-friendly materials with wooden interiors, is off-grid and self-sufficient through the use of solar panels, a filtered rainwater system and ecological dry-toilet. There are cabins of two kinds to suit individuals, couples and families.
The nature-based locations of the Slow Cabins are only revealed to guests after they’ve booked a cabin. Slow Cabins are mobile and frequently rotate locations, making for new sights and experiences for those looking to book a second trip.
The interiors of the Slow Cabins are natural and minimalist with its raw-look wooden floors and walls, and wooden furniture. Insulated glass windows frame views of surrounding fields and woodland, and there’s a wood-burning stove to cosy up in front of – and a small deck. The double beds consist of eco-textiles layered on a natural latex mattress, with large windows for gazing out into the surroundings.
The insulated cabins are kept toasty in the winter with wood-burning stoves, while the kitchen contains a pair of cooking plates alongside a sink, small fridge and a food preparation area. In the bathroom you’ll find a shower, wash basin and eco-friendly dry toilet. A fireplace and ceramic BBQ offer warmth and cooking options outside.
A stay also comes with a basket of locally-sourced produce and spring water.
The Slow Cabins experience is as much about making guests aware of their environmental impact. Slow Cabins say: “Each of our cabins comes equipped with a smart display that shares your energy and water use with you. By actively seeing your energy usage throughout your stay you become aware of your impact on the environment and what a positive and ecological footprint might look like.”
The Time For Two couple’s retreat costs from €175 per night, while the Time For Family cabin, which sleeps 3-5 people, costs from €185 per night.
Slow Cabins is expanding its off-the-grid concept across Europe and looking for partners.