21 April 2017

Celebrating Earth Day - April 22nd

April 22nd is Earth Day. That's great. What is it? 

Earth Day began in 1970 as a day to celebrate the planet and encourage people to be more environmentally friendly. It is widely regarded as being the start of the modern environmental movement.  

There are various activities associated with the day with people worldwide getting involved.  On the list includes raising awareness about the environment - recycling or energy use as an example, planting trees and volunteering for green projects. 

OK. So why are you writing about it Jess?  

Mongolia. For centuries, the traditional nomadic way of life helped to sustain the natural environment. By nature of their lifestyle, herders have an in-depth knowledge of conservation practises which was key to limiting any ecological impact.  That knowledge has been a fundamental ingredient of the herding way of in Mongolia, even into the 21st century. 

But, more and more challenges face the country. Mongolia’s rich oil and mineral deposits have caught  the interest of developers.  Environmental problems include desertification due to excessive grazing, inadequate water supply, and air and water pollution

So in honour of Earth Day, I thought I would highlight four ways you can make a positive contribution to the philosophy of Earth Day during your time in Mongolia. And highlight what we're doing as well. 

* I can hear murmurings from the back.  What's the point? Is one day of the year enough to make an impact. Well. I'm an optimist. And I don't carry out statistical studies so can't be put off by facts. So yes. I do believe it can -if it helps to get some sort of message across, to draw attention to the issues raised by Earth Day. Yes, you've heard them before. Yes, you'll hear them again. Is is worth repeating them? Yes. 

Get Outside

Leave your tablet, your SmartPhone and any other modern life technological must haves behind and go unplugged.  It will mean you see things from a different more refreshing perspective. Take a deep breath and exhale. 

Don't treat any walk as an exercise regime - that's best left for the gym when you get home.  Instead slow your thoughts down and just observe the world around you.

What are we doing? 

My EL trip assistants will be heading to Khustain Nuruu National Park for conservation and ecology training with the Association Goviin Khulan NGO. As part of that training they'll be reminded that part of any outdoor experience is 'just being'.

Use Public Transport 

You're not going to get there quickly. But, It allows you to be part of the local community for a brief while and you'll see the area from a more local perspective.  

What are we doing?

We provide a free city nomads folding bike in each vehicle . As a completely free service. Why? It gives the opportunity for those that want to to go and explore the smaller details independently and to help break the reliance on the tour vehicle. 

Ditch The Plastic 

Whether it be a bag or bottle. Yes, it is frequently written and it almost sounds like a 'nag'. Well it is. Use that tote bag or bag for life. And a re-usable water bottle. 

What are we doing? 

The Mongolian Quilting Centre  is known more formally as the New Way Life NGO - established in 2005 to make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged and unemployed women.  They are trained in the art of quilting, textiles and embroidery and  use their skills to generate income for their families by crafting products to sell. We provide a tote bag made by the NWL NGO to each of our guests as part of their welcome pack.

Go Local

Choose to explore the local markets and shops. Choose eating options that are appropriate to the area where you are. Support that local independent rather than the chain. 

What are we doing?

The key focus here is local produce. We provide most meals on an EL experience. Pineapple? Brie? Oranges. Sure, they taste delicious but but one thing is for sure, they're not native to Mongolia. I encourage my EL trip assistants to  think about what they're buying and its country of origin. We look out the locally produced sweet tasting tomatoes and cucumber. There's also great local salami, freshly made bread and smoked fish. And later in the year, delicious watermelons (yes, really).  

If I've inspired you to do your part for Earth Day during your visit to Mongolia then please get in touch.  2017 is the UN Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development so let's make this year count. Let's make a positive impact through tourism. Visit our Eternal Landscapes Mongolia Who We Are page to find out more about the philosophy behind EL and why I set it up. 

Thanks for listening, Jess