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THAKADU RIVER CAMP, SOUTH AFRICA

curtis jagdev No Comments
  Eco Destination

Thakadu river

If you’re thinking of taking your children on safari in South Africa, the Madiwke game reserve by the border with Botswana is a great place to go.  Its home to many species of animals such as elephant, zebra, buffalo and giraffe, as well as more than 340 bird species, leopard, cheetah and rhino and is a real treat. All of the funds go back into the community who run the camps as well as the eco-tourism partnership between Northwest Parks, the Molatedi Community.

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KOSTER ISLANDS, SWEDEN

curtis jagdev No Comments
  Bikes

koster islands
The almost car-free Koster Islands with its unique seaside location, beaches, rocky islands and great views is a wonderful place to rent a bike, enjoy the weather and take a boat trip which allows you to see the vast amount of marine life the islands have to offer.

Bryn Elltyd Guest House

curtis jagdev No Comments
  Culture Spot Eco Area Eco Destination

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train

This eco-friendly, carbon-neutral B&B is a great location for a rural retreat. Powered by renewable energy and right next to a hydro lake at the foot of the Moelwyn mountains.  Its situated along the  cute little Ffestiniog Steam Railway.  You can take Mountaineering and kayaking lessons. Its a  perfect place to explore one of the worlds greatest outdoor destinations.

Solar Flares Said to Take World Back To Dark Ages

DanielleNepean7 No Comments
  Asia Eco Area

One of the biggest scare stories for years is about to be revealed. British Secretary of Defense Liam Fox warns that the electricity grid, financial networks and transport infrastructure could be paralyzed by a solar flare.

There is a growing threat of electromagnetic disruption to the underpinnings of modern life, the Defense Secretary will tell a meeting of scientists and security advisers this week.

Dr. Fox tells the conference that he wants to address the “vulnerabilities” in the nation’s hi-tech infrastructure.

“As the nature of our technology becomes more complex, the threat becomes more widespread as well,” he says.

Of course any one living off the grid would be largely immune to such a scenario, and there is evidence that the entire story is just a hoax – Australia’s leading body responsible for monitoring space weather has dismissed claims that a massive solar storm could wipe out the Earth’s entire power grid.

One report quotes an Australian astronomer saying that “the storm is likely to come sooner rather than later”.

But Dr. Phil Wilkinson, the assistant director of the Bureau of Meteorology’s Ionospheric Prediction Service, says claims that this coming solar maximum will be the most violent in 100 years are not factual.

“All this talk about gloom and doom has selling power, but I’m certain it’s overstated,” he said.

“[It’s] going far beyond what’s realistic and could be worrying or concerning for people who don’t really understand the underlying science behind it all.

“The real message should be that the coming solar maximum period could be equally as hazardous as any other solar maximum.”

The sun goes through an 11-year solar cycle moving from a period of low activity called solar minimum to a time of heightened activity called solar maximum.

During solar maximum there is an increase in sun spot activity, which are dark patches on the sun’s surface caused by magnetic field lines breaking through the sun’s surface.

Because the Sun is not a solid object like the Earth, different parts of it rotate at different speeds, which cause these magnetic field lines to twist and stretch, eventually snapping like elastic bands.

When they snap, they produce an eruption of electromagnetic energy called a solar flare and are sometimes accompanied by a coronal mass ejection (CME).

If directed at Earth, charged particles within the CME slam into the magnetosphere, resulting in the northern and southern auroral lights.

Previous CME events have damaged spacecraft, interfered with communications systems and overloaded ground-based power grids. But despite the potential threat, Dr. Wilkinson says authorities are aware of them and are taking precautions.

“We monitor solar activity and issue warnings if something is heading our way,” he said.

“That will be at least a few hours [in advance], enough time to prepare.”

He says while some satellites could be damaged by a future CME, others could be protected by being placed in “safe mode”.

Furthermore, Dr. Wilkinson adds that the impact on power grids would be minimal.

“At worst, it’s a regional thing, not a global thing as these reports imply,” he said.

He says high frequency communications may also be affected, but it would be temporary.

In addition, Dr. Wilkinson quipped that the sun has been through a long solar minimum and appears to be heading into a low solar maximum.

Previous observations have shown this could result in high spikes of CME activity.

“It means we could see auroral activity over all of Australia rather than just the higher latitudes,” Dr.Wilkinson said.

“It’s unusual, but not unprecedented. James Cook made mention of just such an event off Timor.”

“While we all benefit from the products of scientific advances so we also create vulnerabilities that can be exploited by our enemies.

“However advanced we become the chain of our security is only as strong as its weakest link.”

The Coalition’s defense review is considering potential weaknesses against hi-tech attack or disruption. While conventional military units will be cut back, cyberwarfare and other technology driven capabilities are likely to get more money when the review is concluded.

Much of the Ministry of Defense’s planning focuses on the risk of a hostile state exploding a nuclear weapon in space, creating a sudden, intense burst of electromagnetic energy called a high altitude electromagnetic pulse. It could shut down electrical equipment including computers vital to daily life and cripple satellites. One “nightmare scenario” being privately discussed by senior defense figures involves Iran detonating a device high over Europe. “They could reduce our civilization to the dark ages,” said one insider.

Some scientists believe that there is a similar danger from a once-in-a-century solar flare, a disturbance on the sun’s surface that could cause geomagnetic storms on earth.

One in the mid-19th century blocked the nascent telegraph system, and some scientists believe that another is overdue.

The Westminster meeting is being hosted by the Electric Infrastructure Security Council and the Henry Jackson Society, a think-tank, and it will be addressed by Avi Schnurr, a former US government adviser.

The electrical grids, computers, telephones, transportation, water supply and food production are all vulnerable to a major flare, said Mr. Schnurr, who also works for a lobby group called Israel Missile Defense Association.

“Our electrical infrastructures are so ubiquitous that an EMP or geomagnetic storm could shatter nations all over Earth, and we cannot wait for disaster to spur us to action,” he said.

Northern Lights, Iceland

DanielleNepean7 No Comments
  Asia

The Northern Lights in Iceland.

The Northern Lights can be one of the most unforgettable travel experiences.

In Nordic Europe, Iceland is one of our favorite Northern Lights destinations.

We’ve blogged about the new Northern Lights tour with solar eclipse tour company Explorers.

Icelandair is also offering a Northern Lights City Break.  The package will include flights, three nights accommodation and a Northern Lights tour.

The Northern Lights are at their peak until the end of March in Iceland.

In the rugged Icelandic wilderness, Reykjavik Excursions will lead three to five hour Northern Lights tours.

Every tour is unique because tour leaders take groups to the area where they are most likely to see the lights based on that day’s weather.

The Icelandair offer, available through March 31, 2011, must be booked by October 31, 2010.

For more info, visit the Icelandair site.

Image courtesy of Explorers and The Adventure Company

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SriLankan Airlines help regulate Whale and Dolphin watching

gjxhiosrj No Comments
  Asia Eco Area

Whale watching in Sri Lanka has gone from a tiny minority pursuit of just a few hundred visitors a year, to over 30,000 a year since 2010. The warm water, t-shirt weather and a fleet of local fishing boats have spurred the growing awareness of this pursuit.

It has been managed expertly. You can see why SriLankan Airlines want to protect whales and dolphins. They’re helping put measures in place to ensure these stunning wild mammals and their habitat remain unharmed by the impact of increased activity on their waters. With whale numbers dropping across the world it’s great to hear about whales and dolphins thriving in the Indian Ocean.

Sri Lanka’s seas are brimming with different species of wild mammals. Whale and dolphin watchers can see: blue whales, bryde´s whales, sperm whales, fin whales, common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, spinner dolphins, Risso’s dolphins and striped dolphins.

It’s not just the whales who are benefiting from improved regulation – local fisherman now work in a more sustainable and structured industry. SriLankan Airlines’ work could give a boost to the local economy, providing vital income for the community.

They launched Project Blueprint with a group of hotels to ensure that whales and dolphins and their environment remain unharmed by a recent boom in tourism.

The influx of visitors occurred after increased whale sightings on the south coast led to a large amount of locals with vessels offering tourists whale watching tours. SriLankan Airlines noticed this influx and soon realised that this blossoming industry was going unregulated. They worked with Keells Hotels and Jetwing Hotels to introduce safety regulations to ensure that vessels were safe for tourists and the whales and dolphins that they find so fascinating.

Watch our short film about SriLankan Airlines’ work in the field featuring an interview with Manoj Gunawardena, Chief Commercial Officer at SriLankan Airlines as well as some stunning shots of whales off the coast of Sri Lanka.

majorca-off-grid-restreat

21 Remote European Escapes this summer

MarkBrandenburg No Comments
  UK

No 21. Majorca off-grid near Deia[/caption]From a private island to a lakeside cabin, via a Majorcan mountaintop with a spring water fed hot shower. From Finland in the North to Corsica in the South – here are 21 options that will make a great break. We save the best to last.

1 Domaine de Murtoli Southwest Corsica

Set amid 5,000 acres (20 sq km) on a private estate in the southwest of Corsica, this is a collection of 16 restored shepherds’ dwellings. Each has 3ft-thick stone walls and its own garden and pool. There’s a two-mile (3km) stretch of private beach to cavort on, although a couple of the houses — sleeping between two and 13 people — have their own private bays and saunas. Breakfast is left on the doorstep in a wicker basket, and the guests are encouraged to help themselves to the fruit, vegetables and herbs from the kitchen garden to use in the well-appointed kitchens. Groceries are also delivered daily, but as back-up you can take advantage of the two restaurants on site.

Cabins_Cedar-Rapids

Cedar Rapids eco lodge

Woodruff Ashli No Comments
  N.America

Cabins_Cedar RapidsDown a somewhat private lane on the west side of Fontana Park in Buchanan County sit two solid new cabins — prime examples of sustainable resources, says Buchanan County Conservation Executive Director Dan Cohen.

Built and opened to the public in 2011, the cabins feature many sustainable-living elements, including triple-paned, energy-efficient windows, structural insulated panels and locally sourced materials and labor. All of the electrical needs are operated through off-grid solar panels.

Gap year do-Gooders can do Harm

gjxhiosrj No Comments
  UK

Helping out at an African nursery or digging trenches in rural India has become a fashionable – rite of passage for a generation of young Britons.

But many volunteers end up doing more harm than good – and the gap year trend is even being blamed for potentially fuelling child abuse in the host communities.

Mounting concern that the growing numbers of tourists keen to work in orphanages in countries such as Cambodia and Nepal could be leading to local children being abandoned or abducted to meet the demand has led to calls for a radical rethink on the ethics of so-called voluntourism.

Ethical Boat tour of Philippine Islands

AlexandraRibush No Comments
  Asia

Drifting with good intentions The endless ocean, broken occasionally by sand-fringed islands, stretched before me. A salty breeze caressed my face and two magnificent sails billowed bright in the sunlight as we headed into the unknown. I was on an oceanic adventure, sailing across the Palawan archipelago in a replica of a boat that first crossed these Philippine seas more than 1,000 years ago.

My trip was a taster of a new tour by local company Tao Philippines, which offers off-the-beaten-track sailing holidays between El Nido, in the north of long, thin Palawan island, and Coron, further north, off Busuanga island. Taking in areas few tourists visit, it directs some of its profits to funding community projects across the islands.

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