NATURE IS THRIVING DURING LOCKDOWN: 5 THINGS WE NEED TO DO TO KEEP PROTECTING IT


From plummeting carbon emissions to animals taking over cities, the lockdown has given us a tantalising glimpse of a more environmentally harmonious world. As scientists relish the opportunity to capture data in quieter oceans and traffic-reduced cities, the media is awash with talk of green shoots.

Unfortunately, this hiatus for the natural world has followed a devastating loss of livelihoods, and lives. As the tourism industry reels amid a grounded planet, those who rely on it the most are struggling to put food on the table. There’s an uneasiness in the conservation world, too. For every chunk of wilderness thriving with less human intrusion, numerous ecosystems are devastatingly at risk.

Green shoots thrive when nurtured, and so in travel as much as in any other walk of life, now’s the time to reset for a cleaner, greener future.

1. KICKING CARBON

Having spent the last few years coming around to Greta Thunberg’s dogma, some may see NASA’s satellite images of atmospheric pollution clearing over the world during lockdown as nothing short of miraculous. Energy-related carbon emissions are set to fall by eight per cent this year, to the lowest level in a decade.

For climate scientists, this interval has highlighted the enormity of the decarbonising task at hand. The UN predicts that we’ll need similar levels of decline each year if we want to stay below the 1.5-degree temperature-rise cap outlined in the Paris Agreement (which will prevent 60 million people being exposed to severe drought and save miles of coastline from flooding).

Thankfully, everyone from Greenpeace to the World Bank is working on green-minded recovery plans, and the travel sector is no exception. So far in 2020, 86 travel businesses, including Much Better Adventures, Wilderness Scotland and Steppes Travel, have signed up to the new Tourism Declares initiative to work collectively to reduce the hefty eight per cent of global carbon emissions travel is responsible for.

2. FUNDING CONSERVATION

Lockdown camera traps have revealed elusive leopards prowling South Africa’s Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy and pampas cats roaming close to organic vines at Condor Valley in Argentina. A generation of humpback whales are experiencing silent seas for the first time (as cargo and cruise ships fall still), and, from Costa Rica to Indonesia, green and hawksbill sea turtles are having a bumper laying season on deserted beaches.

While it’s reassuring to see nature thriving in the absence of humans, in reality, much conservation work is at risk; without tourism to fund the protection of ecosystems and wildlife, thousands of acres and species are vulnerable to exploitation.

In Botswana, one of the safest rhino habitats in the world, poaching increased so much in March that critically endangered black rhinos are being relocated. Wildlife protection in the 18,000-hectare Botum Sakor National Park is threatened by their inability to receive clients. ‘Cardamom Tented Camp is a not-for-profit operation, with profits funding the ranger station and patrol activities… everyone has been hard hit and so poaching is on the rise.’ The Wildlife Conservation Society believes that three critically endangered giant ibis were killed for meat in April as a result of the closure of tourism in Cambodia.

Illegal fishing is also on the up in some of Indonesia’s conservation hot spots. In April, rangers at the 120,000-hectare Misool Marine Reserve caught poachers taking advantage of the sudden vacuum created by the collapse of tourism in Raja Ampat. With the support of the marine police, rangers confiscated 150kg of fish, including ecologically sensitive species.

Besides offering a financial incentive to protect wildlife, tourists, rangers and guides provide much-needed eyes and ears on the ground. Without them, decades of conservation is in jeopardy, particularly in places where poaching for bushmeat will increase if people lose jobs due to the decline in tourism.

3. BOOSTING BIODIVERSITY

From primroses peppering mossy woodland glades to ragged-robin splashing hedgerows with pops of colourful brilliance, wildflowers have provided escapism like never before this spring. The UK is one of the world’s most nature-depleted changes, but experts are hopeful that lockdown may turn things around.

May is a lynchpin month for biodiversity, and so with lockdown restricting usual council activities, such as strimming and mowing, flora and fauna could get a much-needed boost. Rewilding advocacy and travel group Scotland: The Big Picture recommends taking photos (if it’s safe to do so) of blooming verges to campaign for permanent change. Meanwhile, Frans Schepers, managing director of Rewilding Europe, reminds us that, ‘The fact that we can see more wildlife is mostly because we are now seeing the benefits of longer-term efforts: better protection, less poaching, habitat improvements, safe havens, less hunting.’

Having drawn so much solace from natural wonders on their doorstep over the last couple of months, conservation-led places to stay in the UK hope this will boost future bookings. One example is Elmley national nature reserve in Essex, where guests can watch barn owls gliding over reeds or hares feeding just a couple of feet away.

4. BREATHING EASY

Thanks to plummeting car use, city dwellers are breathing the cleanest air in more than 50 years. In April, the concentration of nitrogen dioxide and other toxic particles was down by almost 50 per cent compared to the same period last year, and the knock-on health implications are staggering; in Europe alone, it’s prevented 11,000 deaths. In other parts of the world, smog has cleared to transform city views; the majestic Himalayas are visible from Punjab for the first time in 30 years.

As cities scramble to understand what the ‘new normal’ looks like, there’s hope that a reduction in air pollution will stick, with walking and cycling the safest ways to get about. It seems as if exploring Europe’s cities by bike will be more compelling, too. Milan was the first city to announce an ambitious new scheme to reduce car use post lockdown — since then, LondonNew York and Paris have followed suit.

Recognising that there may well be a link between the high number of coronavirus casualties and the city’s poor air quality, Milan officials plan to transform 35km of streets into cycling and walking spaces. Meanwhile, Paris has announced a €20-million (£17-million) scheme to get more people cycling, with France’s Minister for Ecological Transition, Elisabeth Borne, calling the bicycle ‘the little queen of deconfinement’.

5. MAKING EVERY TRIP COUNT

Lockdown has offered the chance to hit reset and realign priorities. Community, compassion and nature have helped to pull us through uncertain times and hopefully will remain top of mind for years to come. As travellers weaving our way around the new world order of hiked airfares and varying restrictions, we have the opportunity to make every trip count.

We should think more carefully about the purpose for our trip, rather than it just being the annual routine. I like the mantra “build back better”; that means I want more enriching travel, and to see it supporting local people and places.’

10 WAYS TO BE A BETTER TRAVELLER IN A POST-LOCKDOWN WORLD

It’s hard to imagine what travelling will look like as restrictions lift. But one thing is for sure – things are going to be different. And those differences are, in many ways, going to be good. We all know that the planet’s resources can’t support our fancy-free jet-setting dreams forever. And, post-corona, it’s likely that how we feel about our desire to travel will shift, too. After so long at home, this is an opportunity to rejoin the world with a gentler approach, to be more compassionate and holistic in our outlook and to align the way we travel with the efforts we make to live sustainably, healthily and thoughtfully at home. It’s time to make a practical and personal shift to travel better – better for communities in the places we visit, better for us to connect with destinations in positive and meaningful ways, and better for the natural world. And we’re here to help kickstart the journey. So when you do start preparing for your next holiday, here are 10 things to consider.

1. TAKE MORE STAYCATIONS

While we wait for flights to officially resume for the UK, any non-essential international travel should be avoided. Luckily for us in the UK, we have beautiful countryside to explore, coastlines to roam and cities to wander, so when restrictions ease, why not take time to really discover our green and pleasant land? Access is easy – by train, bike or on foot – and a staycation can be anything from a one-mile trip from your doorstep to a weekend break in an unexplored region. The many benefits include being able to pack and go spontaneously, spending less, and knowing that it’s the most environmentally-friendly way to travel. Check out low-key-lovely self check-in accommodation options at Kip Hideaways and Canopy and Stars.

2. BUY FEWER TOXIC TRAVEL PRODUCTS

There’s nothing like a global pandemic to remind us that the world around us is not immune to our behaviour. Detoxifying the products we take with us is not only healthier for humans but better for the destinations we visit, where water supplies and protected natural reserves can be adversely affected by products such as sun cream and shampoo, and where waste-disposal systems struggle to cope with plastic waste from cosmetics. Seek out natural brands (we like Neal’s Yard, Pai and The Soap Co), and refillable packaging, avoid additional plastic and never, never take the hotel minis.

Go green at home with these sustainable subscriptions

3. RETHINK FLYING

For many of us, the grounding of planes has led to instant relief from noise pollution as well as clearing some of the worst kinds of air pollution. It’s suggested that when aviation starts to pick up again, travellers will be met with long queues, health checks and higher prices, so minimising time at airports and on planes is something many of us will want to keep doing, regardless of when restrictions lift. All of which will force us to think hard about where we want to fly, and why. Airlines that survive must be the ones that prioritise their staff’s physical and economic wellbeing, as well as embracing the opportunity to use new technology to make flying greener and healthier – for those in the plane as well as on the ground. Etihad, for example, has been quick off the mark on these fronts – it’s been at the forefront of developing more fuel-efficient planes and reducing waste on flights and has been trialling new airport technology designed to help identify medically at-risk travellers.

Read this piece on 5 things everyone should consider when we can fly again

4. CONSIDER SLOW TRAVEL

Now we know that aviation will never be the same, we can and should embrace other methods of transport. Think travel with the aching, unhurried intensity of Normal People, and you’ll start to understand the inimitable joy of taking a train or boat, or even setting out on two wheels. The delayed gratification and anticipation of travelling in this way creates new opportunities for seeing the world, and proves all the clichés about the journey being as important as the destination.

5. CONSIDER LOCALS

Too often, relationships between tourists and locals are transactional and imbalanced. But the simple fact is that we need each other. This new world order provides an opportunity to develop more mutually beneficial relationships and a more symbiotic sharing of money, skills, local knowledge and experiences, which will leave us all enriched rather than depleted by tourism. Many companies, such as Village Ways in the Himalayas and Wild Philanthropy in East Africa, have these values embedded in their operations – they should become the benchmarks for the future.

6. STAY AT HOTELS ROOTED IN COMMUNITY

When our travel is focused on forging new connections, it makes sense that the best places to stay are smaller, locally owned and community based. Properties that form a vital part of a local ecosystem of course tend to operate more thoughtfully when it comes to the environment too. Authenticity is easy to spot – hotels that speak warmly about their staff (Castara Retreats in Tobago) or their community activity (Jakes in Jamaica) have something to offer that the luxury chains struggle to recreate.

7. NO MORE ANIMALS

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of wet markets, a greater consciousness that animals don’t exist simply to meet our whims is an important part of travelling more consciously. Wild animals get incredibly stressed by human presence (that picture of the elephant with his ears out is the elephant saying ‘Go away, I feel threatened’) and it’s easy for us to disrupt their natural breeding or feeding activity simply by our presence. Not touching, not photographing and, ideally, not eating, animals is a huge step in helping rebalance delicate systems as well as minimising our footprint. We can still enjoy watching animals from afar and should support innovative conservation projects genuinely working to protect their existence.

Take a look at these beautiful portraits of endangered animals

8. IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE CARBON FOOTPRINT

Travelling better is not just about what we do to lower our carbon footprints on an individual trip in terms of emissions or plastic reduction, but in the thought we put into the legacy we leave behind – worker’s rights, staff experiences, inclusivity for visitors and the economic impact of our trip. Conscious luxury will now embrace all of these things, not just pay token gestures to ‘supporting’ local education projects, but genuinely operating holistically.

9. TRAVEL TO THE RIGHT DESTINATIONS

With wellbeing and care as motivations, destinations at the forefront of reducing their carbon footprints will likely be the ones best placed to adapt to a new kind of travel and to offer real opportunities for holidays without harm. Working out how to straddle the needs of nature, local business and travellers is not without challenges, so supporting destinations such as Copenhagen (which has already developed huge outdoor opportunities that allow for individual space and exercise as well as innovative eco management) or Belize (which has some of the world’s most authentic eco hotels) is a good way to to begin your travel-better planning.

10. AIM FOR LOW-VOLUME TOURISM

As people move around the planet less and become more selective, the silver lining of post-pandemic travel is that overtourism will become less of an issue. Places such as Palau and Finland, which have always followed a lower-impact model and invested in their natural habitats (73 per cent of Finland is covered by forest and development is restricted) are pros when it comes to low-volume tourism, so they’re good choices if you’re looking to escape the crowds. Seek out these more rural places to find solitude and a sense of calm.

by EMILY MATHIESON for Conde Nast Traveller

Présentation personnelle (exemple d’article)

Voici un exemple d’article, publié initialement dans le cadre de la Blogging University. Inscrivez-vous à l’un de nos dix programmes et lancez votre blog.

Vous allez publier un article aujourd’hui. Ne vous inquiétez pas pour l’apparence de votre blog. Ne vous inquiétez pas si vous ne lui avez pas encore donné de nom ou si vous vous sentez dépassé. Cliquez simplement sur le bouton « Nouvel article » et dites-nous pourquoi vous êtes ici.

Quel est votre objectif ?

  • Vos nouveaux lecteurs ont besoin de contexte. De quoi parlerez-vous ? Pourquoi devraient-ils lire votre blog ?
  • Cela vous aidera à vous concentrer sur vos idées à propos de votre blog et sur la façon dont vous souhaitez le développer.

L’article peut être court ou long, contenir une introduction personnelle sur votre vie, décrire la mission de votre blog, présenter un manifeste pour l’avenir ou énoncer simplement vos sujets de publication.

Pour vous aider à commencer, voici quelques questions :

  • Pourquoi créez-vous un blog public au lieu de tenir un journal personnel ?
  • Quels seront les thèmes que vous aborderez ?
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Répondre à ces questions ne vous enferme pas définitivement dans une voie. Ce qui est magnifique avec les blogs, c’est qu’ils sont en constante évolution au fur et à mesure de vos apprentissages, de votre développement et des interactions avec autrui. Il est toutefois opportun de savoir où et pourquoi vous vous lancez. L’articulation de vos objectifs peut simplement contribuer à apporter de nouvelles idées d’articles.

Vous ne savez pas trop comment commencer ? Écrivez simplement la première chose qui vous passe par la tête. Anne Lamott, auteur d’un excellent livre sur le processus d’écriture, affirme qu’il est nécessaire de s’autoriser un « premier jet bordélique ». C’est un enseignement essentiel : commencez par écrire, vous vous occuperez de retoucher votre texte plus tard.

Une fois que vous êtes prêt à publier, attribuez à votre article trois à cinq étiquettes qui décrivent son sujet : littérature, photographie, fiction, parentalité, alimentation, voitures, films, sports, etc. Ces étiquettes aideront les internautes intéressés par ces sujets à vous trouver dans le Lecteur. Veillez à ce que l’une de ces étiquettes soit « zerotohero », afin que les nouveaux blogueurs puissent vous trouver également.

Présentation personnelle (exemple d’article)

Voici un exemple d’article, publié initialement dans le cadre de la Blogging University. Inscrivez-vous à l’un de nos dix programmes et lancez votre blog.

Vous allez publier un article aujourd’hui. Ne vous inquiétez pas pour l’apparence de votre blog. Ne vous inquiétez pas si vous ne lui avez pas encore donné de nom ou si vous vous sentez dépassé. Cliquez simplement sur le bouton « Nouvel article » et dites-nous pourquoi vous êtes ici.

Quel est votre objectif ?

  • Vos nouveaux lecteurs ont besoin de contexte. De quoi parlerez-vous ? Pourquoi devraient-ils lire votre blog ?
  • Cela vous aidera à vous concentrer sur vos idées à propos de votre blog et sur la façon dont vous souhaitez le développer.

L’article peut être court ou long, contenir une introduction personnelle sur votre vie, décrire la mission de votre blog, présenter un manifeste pour l’avenir ou énoncer simplement vos sujets de publication.

Pour vous aider à commencer, voici quelques questions :

  • Pourquoi créez-vous un blog public au lieu de tenir un journal personnel ?
  • Quels seront les thèmes que vous aborderez ?
  • Quelle est la cible privilégiée de votre blog ?
  • Si votre blog passe la première année avec succès, qu’espérez-vous avoir accompli ?

Répondre à ces questions ne vous enferme pas définitivement dans une voie. Ce qui est magnifique avec les blogs, c’est qu’ils sont en constante évolution au fur et à mesure de vos apprentissages, de votre développement et des interactions avec autrui. Il est toutefois opportun de savoir où et pourquoi vous vous lancez. L’articulation de vos objectifs peut simplement contribuer à apporter de nouvelles idées d’articles.

Vous ne savez pas trop comment commencer ? Écrivez simplement la première chose qui vous passe par la tête. Anne Lamott, auteur d’un excellent livre sur le processus d’écriture, affirme qu’il est nécessaire de s’autoriser un « premier jet bordélique ». C’est un enseignement essentiel : commencez par écrire, vous vous occuperez de retoucher votre texte plus tard.

Une fois que vous êtes prêt à publier, attribuez à votre article trois à cinq étiquettes qui décrivent son sujet : littérature, photographie, fiction, parentalité, alimentation, voitures, films, sports, etc. Ces étiquettes aideront les internautes intéressés par ces sujets à vous trouver dans le Lecteur. Veillez à ce que l’une de ces étiquettes soit « zerotohero », afin que les nouveaux blogueurs puissent vous trouver également.

Présentation personnelle (exemple d’article)

Voici un exemple d’article, publié initialement dans le cadre de la Blogging University. Inscrivez-vous à l’un de nos dix programmes et lancez votre blog.

Vous allez publier un article aujourd’hui. Ne vous inquiétez pas pour l’apparence de votre blog. Ne vous inquiétez pas si vous ne lui avez pas encore donné de nom ou si vous vous sentez dépassé. Cliquez simplement sur le bouton « Nouvel article » et dites-nous pourquoi vous êtes ici.

Quel est votre objectif ?

  • Vos nouveaux lecteurs ont besoin de contexte. De quoi parlerez-vous ? Pourquoi devraient-ils lire votre blog ?
  • Cela vous aidera à vous concentrer sur vos idées à propos de votre blog et sur la façon dont vous souhaitez le développer.

L’article peut être court ou long, contenir une introduction personnelle sur votre vie, décrire la mission de votre blog, présenter un manifeste pour l’avenir ou énoncer simplement vos sujets de publication.

Pour vous aider à commencer, voici quelques questions :

  • Pourquoi créez-vous un blog public au lieu de tenir un journal personnel ?
  • Quels seront les thèmes que vous aborderez ?
  • Quelle est la cible privilégiée de votre blog ?
  • Si votre blog passe la première année avec succès, qu’espérez-vous avoir accompli ?

Répondre à ces questions ne vous enferme pas définitivement dans une voie. Ce qui est magnifique avec les blogs, c’est qu’ils sont en constante évolution au fur et à mesure de vos apprentissages, de votre développement et des interactions avec autrui. Il est toutefois opportun de savoir où et pourquoi vous vous lancez. L’articulation de vos objectifs peut simplement contribuer à apporter de nouvelles idées d’articles.

Vous ne savez pas trop comment commencer ? Écrivez simplement la première chose qui vous passe par la tête. Anne Lamott, auteur d’un excellent livre sur le processus d’écriture, affirme qu’il est nécessaire de s’autoriser un « premier jet bordélique ». C’est un enseignement essentiel : commencez par écrire, vous vous occuperez de retoucher votre texte plus tard.

Une fois que vous êtes prêt à publier, attribuez à votre article trois à cinq étiquettes qui décrivent son sujet : littérature, photographie, fiction, parentalité, alimentation, voitures, films, sports, etc. Ces étiquettes aideront les internautes intéressés par ces sujets à vous trouver dans le Lecteur. Veillez à ce que l’une de ces étiquettes soit « zerotohero », afin que les nouveaux blogueurs puissent vous trouver également.