We Need More Than Sustainable Tourism We Need Regenerative Tourism.
Updated: May 24, 2019
As a species humans have made more of an impact on the planet than any other species in history. We play a powerful role in shaping the future of the planet. Industries create emissions that are fundamentally altering the planet's ecosystems; rivers and oceans are being polluted and overfished; while animals’ habitats are being destroyed and degraded.
Tourism, one of the planets largest industries, has a huge impact on global greenhouse gas emissions. A recent large-scale scientific study showing that it accounts for nearly 10% of the yearly emissions worldwide. In Nicaragua, as in many parts of the world, tourism provides important employment and prosperity. This economic growth does not always support the environment and local communities positively....
Water. Most of Nicaragua's water comes from underground aquifers. Swimming pools, golf courses, etc. tourism can be a major drain on the groundwater. Economically, the effects of tourism can be hugely unbalanced. On average, up to 80% of the money travellers pay for holidays goes to airlines, online booking agencies and other international companies, rather than to local businesses and their workers. How much money actually gets to people who make your vacation great.....
Cultural and social implications. Local cultures can become diluted and disappear, big problems in Nicaragua are a loss of native culture and abandoning of the agricultural way of life. As consumption becomes a part of the culture, plastic waste is a consequence.
At Costa Dulce we want to do things differently, affecting our surrounding communities and wildlife positively, while informing and engaging our guests in our efforts.
We have several projects to become a carbon-negative, positively contributing business, transforming more Carbon-dioxide into Oxygen than we -our staff and visitors combined!- produce. In the end Regenerative Tourism.
1. Collado RESERVE and REFORESTING Project
This project touches on many areas of sustainability. The obvious are land preservation and restoration. Along with those come other beneficial side effects.
Planting and maintaining trees is hard work and will employ many people through the years. Even from it's initiation we needed a tree nursery. Job number 1. Now that we have 7000 trees nearly ready to go in the ground we've got some work ahead of us and many people to employ in a sustainable economic model.
As the forest matures there will be many other benefits. The more reforestation that happens the more water is going to end back up in the underground aquifer, hopefully making Rio Escameca, the local river, flow again year round. The more trees we plant the more we safeguard against drought and mudslides, while helping provide clean drinking water for the community of Collado.
When the reserve grows in size we adding habitat for many endangered and threatened species. The tropical dry forest in Nicaragua has become quite rare and fragmented we know it is necessary to preserve, protect and grow this rare ecosystem. We are already bringing low impact ecotours into the area creating more jobs and sorely needed environmental awareness into the area.
Next to the community / environment contribution, Costa Dulce is planting trees - with the help of our guests- to be Carbon Neutral/negative. A portion of the proceeds from every guest's stay contributes to planting trees preserving more land and offsetting the damage done by travel to this beautiful country.
We aim to provide Carbon Negative vacations. And forty years from now -when the trees are fully grown- your carbon neutral vacation will become carbon negative (DONATE HERE).
2. Playa Escameca TURTLE HATCHERY
El Vivero Escameca would not have been possible without Vital Actions our partners in many environmental projects. This turtle hatchery uses a conflict free method of protecting turtle nest, creating a bond with the local community who have had turtle eggs as part of their economy for centuries.
In most of Central America there is an active illegal food trade. While illegal there is little to no enforcement of the laws. The model used by Vital Actions creates a reward system to motivate would be poachers to help protect the sea turtle eggs instead of sell them into the food trade. Creating economic opportunity and avoiding conflict. Win win for everyone involved.
The sea turtle hatchery was established in 2016 and operates 12 months a year. It supports 4 different species of turtles, Olive Ridley, Green, Hawksbill and the highly endangered Leatherbacks. They have a protection rate of over 98.5%. Protecting nearly every nest since the campaign started.
As one of the oldest types animals on the planet, there are 7 different species of sea turtles and they play important roles in the ocean and coastal ecosystems. 6 of the species are listed as highly endangered and 1 is listed as threatened. They are extremely vulnerable to impacts such as rising temperatures, pollution, fishing, habitat encroachment and commercial use and will be extinct in no time, without projects like these.
Costa Dulce supports this project and so can you. Please visit their page if you would like to contribute to their worthy cause, or do it while you are here at Costa Dulce /get in touch to set up an environmental conservation project yourself.
3. Barrio Planta Escamequita EDUCATION PROJECT
Children -and their ideas and actions will define the future of a country, civilization and our planet.
We have been working with the Barrio Planta running an english after school project for local elementary school kids in the nearby town of Escamequita (the classic Nicaragua school model provides only half days of education). Here, many students lack access to basic education, especially secondary school, and begin work in agriculture to help support their families at a very young age. Costa Dulce, working with BPP want to implement a new educational model in the rural areas by incorporating english as a second language and engaging the children in topics such as different types of agriculture, climate change and growing their awareness through yoga & meditation. Guests at our ecolodge get a chance to visit, meet the kids and make a contribution to this great project with guest lectures.
4. DRINKABLE WATER Projects and Sports Fields
Clean drinking water is clearly an issue for everyone especially in a country that is subject to droughts from time to time. We have witnessed this as a growing resort and development it came as a wake up call, for the future needs of a growing population. We have established a water line that has given the people in Ojo de Agua drinking water that can come from a tap. As well as partnering in another project that has done the same for the people of Playa Coco. This serves both the local people, as it reduces the plastic waste, since people can just consume the tap water without getting sick (Kidney problems are a big health problem, urging the need for filters as well).
5. LOCAL FOOD Chain and Awareness Program
At Costa Dulce we strive for a plastic - free food chain, consuming as local and farm-to-table as possible now, to be self-sustaining in the future. This way, we cook only fresh, local foods and we have a mainly plant based diet for our guests. We have our own water filter system that provides our guests with purified drinking water and use reused glass bottles for soda and beer. Our Spa / wellness area as well just uses natural, local home-made products for beauty treatments.
Yoga and connection to the natural surroundings is an integral part of our community, providing classes for all our staff and our guests. The focus of the program is presence and connection in the moment to reduce stress-levels boost creativity and allround awareness and connection to the self and the nature.
That's eventually what it is all about, becoming aware of ourselves and our connection with our surroundings, while recognizing that each action -both positive and negative- has an impact !
Recent numbers from the Living Planet Report (LPF) show that the global populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptilians and amphibians have declined, on average, 60 percent between 1970 and 2014. The top threats stated in the report are all linked to human activities, including habitat loss and degradation and overexploitation of wildlife.
Besides, the mass consumption - and waste- produces a lot of plastic waste too, which is a big treat to wildlife, especially in our oceans. Where both fish and sea birds consume bits of plastic thinking it is food, ending up in our food chain as well. Besides, many animals get stuck in fishing nets or choke in plastic waste, results showing over 700 marine species that have been reported to have eaten or become entangled in plastic.
Another great treat is the warming up of the atmosphere due to climate change. Although the Oxygen - CarbonOxide absorption / exchange is natural, human's past century activities brought the natural exchange out of balance.
About 40% of the additional 'human made' CO2 is absorbed. The rest remains in the atmosphere, and as a consequence, atmospheric CO2 is at its highest level in 15 to 20 million years.
Although both forests and the ocean take up a great amount of CO2, accounting both for about 6 billion ton of CO2 yearly, massive logging -of rainforests - for cattle, palm oil,... impacts these numbers negatively.
The WWF's Living Planet Report 2018 presents a sobering picture of the impact of human activity on the world's wildlife, forests, oceans, rivers and climate, underlining the rapidly closing window for action and the urgent need for the global community to collectively rethink and redefine how we value, protect and restore nature.
Luckily, there are ways to turn things around if we act fast and collectively. Look at the damage that done over the years and imagine what could be possible if we made a collective positive change. Read how Costa Dulce makes a change by creating a network of people and positive action and get inspired !
HOW YOU CAN TRAVEL RESPONSIBLY
It's time to balance our consumption with the needs of nature, and to protect the only planet that is our home.
1. Become aware of your footprint by calculating it here and take action by ofsetting your footprint for transpor. Note that one grown tree can take up to 20 kg of CO2 in a year and a total human footprint (on a yearly basis, with all food and activities included) should not exceed 1,2 ton in order to stop climate change.
DONATE HERE TO OFFSET YOUR FOOTPRINT, the time is right to plant them trees!
2. Try to travel bus, train or carpool over plane, you'll be able to see a country more in detail and you get some resting time to read, meet new people and observe your surroundings in peace.
3. Eat local and fresh, avoiding single-use plastic and -as much as possible- vegetarian / vegan. The food industry accounts for a great deal of unnecessary transport and deforestation, that could be avoided with diet. Besides, your gut will be happy too!
4. Be happy with what you have, consume less: wear your confidence and smile instead of looking for new consumer goods and souvenirs all the time. Your friends and family will appreciate your presence and stories way more and you can spend an extra dollar to donate for a good cause, like Vital Actions.
Do you have any other tips or advice? Please share! We look forward to build a better world together !
WWF. "Staggering extent of human impact on planet revealed in new report: Populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians have, on average, declined in size by 60 percent in just over 40 years." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 October 2018.