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Ten Reasons Not to Feed the Monkeys

You might find feeding the monkeys (and other wild animals) to be a thrilling experience, but you are not doing the monkeys a favor. In fact, you are actually harming them. Here’s why:

1.Monkeys are highly susceptible to diseases from human hands. They can die from bacteria transferred off your hand that has no ill effect on you.
2.Migration to human-populated areas to be fed increases the risk of dog attacks and road accidents.
3.Irregular feeding leads to an aggressive behavior towards humans and other species.
4.Contrary to the stereotype, bananas are not the preferred food of monkeys in the wild. Bananas, especially those containing pesticides, can be upsetting to the monkeys’ delicate digestive system and cause serious dental problems that can lead to eventual death.
5.Feeding creates a dangerous dependency on humans that diminishes the monkeys’ survival abilities.
6.Feeding interferes with the monkeys’ natural habits and upsets the balance of their lifestyle centered on eating wild fruits, seeds, small animals, and insects.
7.Contact with humans facilitates poaching and the trade in illegal wildlife.
8.Pregnant females who are fed nothing but bananas during their pregnancy will not give birth to healthy infants. The babies will be malnourished, or never develop to term, and die before birth.
9.Monkeys need to travel an average of 17 kilometers each day to be in good physical condition. If they know that food is available in a particular location, they will not leave that area.
10.Not only do we pass on diseases to animals when we feed them by hand, but they can pass diseases to us as well.

The monkeys do not realize any of this. Now YOU do. Don’t facilitate the extinction of one of Nature’s most amazing creatures for your own pleasure or financial gain. Please help save the monkeys by reporting anyone feeding the monkeys: 777-2592. If you are feeding the monkeys, you now know why you should stop. If you don’t stop we owe it to the monkeys to publish your name with the local media.

Text Courtesy of Jennifer Rice PhD
President
Kids Saving The Rainforest
Tel. 506.777.2592 Fax 506.777.1954
contact@kidssavingtherainforest.org
http://www.kidssavingtherainforest.org

Filed under: Family Eco Travel, Wildlife Conservation, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Scrutiny Rises Over Carbon-Offset Sales Process

The government is scrutinizing the market for global-warming-emission offsets, part of a backlash against the market that could increase industry’s costs in complying with any new environmental rules. Offsets are pieces of paper said to represent global-warming emissions avoided somewhere else on the planet. The offsets are being bought by the likes of corporations that want to project an environmentally friendly image and consumers who want to make their airplane flights “carbon neutral.”Even though the U.S. hasn’t imposed a limit on global-warming emissions, purchases of these voluntary offsets have soared over the past two years. So have questions about whether the money is funding real emission cuts or not.The offsets are said to represent emissions avoided through projects such as installing wind turbines or planting trees, often in the developing world. Consumers are buying the offsets from a bevy of online sellers to counteract the emissions produced by daily activities.But Federal Trade Commission officials said at a workshop on the issue that they are concerned that consumers who buy carbon offsets aren’t able to verify whether they are environmentally legitimate.

The FTC watches for deceptive trade practices and can bring suits against those who violate commission rules. The commission long has issued guidelines about what environmental claims companies may make, such as for recycling. Those Green Guides were due to be updated next year, but the commission moved up the review because of the recent surge in green marketing. As part of the review, the FTC is focusing on emission offsets, which essentially didn’t exist when it last updated the guidelines, in 1998.Voluntary carbon offsets typically sell for as little as $5. Each offset represents one ton of carbon dioxide said to be kept out of the atmosphere. The businesses are betting that the relatively cheap voluntary offsets they buy up now will count toward their cleanup obligation under any eventual rule. That is far cheaper for most companies than retooling their operations to curb their own emissions.The voluntary carbon offsets at issue in the U.S. differ from the pollution permits traded under the Kyoto Protocol, the international global-warming treaty. The legitimacy of those permits is regulated by a panel of United Nations-sanctioned officials. The market for voluntary credits has no mandatory oversight.The market for regulated-emission permits tripled in 2006, to about $30 billion, according to the World Bank. The voluntary market is a fraction of that size. Yet it, too, is growing fast. It shot up to $91 million in 2006, estimated a recent report from research firms Ecosystem Marketplace and New Energy Finance.

The FTC is only beginning to look at the issue. But it’s the latest government entity to raise questions about the market for a commodity that essentially didn’t exist until a few years ago.

In Europe, which began capping carbon emissions in 2005 and now is toughening those rules, regulators are considering tighter limits on companies’ ability to use cheap carbon offsets generated in other countries to minimize their compliance costs. In Congress, where proposals are being debated to limit global-warming emissions from the U.S., several lawmakers have proposed similar moves.

Robert Maddox, director of the utility program at Sterling Planet, a large retailer of carbon offsets, said he believes existing market standards are sufficient. “If it becomes too regimented or cost-prohibitive, it could stunt this evolving market.”


By JEFFREY BALL and IAN TALLEY

The Wall Street Journal

January 0, 2008; Page A13


Filed under: Carbon Offsets

A Brief History of African Palm Production in Costa Rica

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The African palm (elaeis guineensis) was introduced to this area by The United Fruit Company (Chiquita) as an experimental response to the Panama banana plight which was decimating crops during the 1940’s. In the two decades prior to the outbreak of the disease, the town of Quepos had firmly established itself as a significant banana port. Railways for the transport of fruit from more than 14,000 hectares of plantation (mostly in the Parrita valley) crisscrossed the land and eventually merged into tracks that paralleled the Quepos waterfront and came to an end at the dock. The United Fruit Company was heavily invested in local banana production/exportation and stood to lose a substantial amount if they didn’t come up with an alternative plan to counter the banana plight. To make a long success story short: United Fruit Company was able to make the transition from banana production to palm oil processing in so many brilliantly cost effective ways (example: they used disassembled rail tracks to make the bridges over the now necessary irrigation ditches) that by the time the Panama banana disease was fully eradicated some twenty years later, the African Palm fields were successfully entrenched and profitable.

By the 1970’s the African Palm oil industry was prospering in Quepos, Costa Rica. Consequently, because palm oil is easily transported overland by tanker truck, Quepos declined as a major shipping port. In 1995, the local African Palm business was sold to private investors (Palma Tica) and thus a very influential period in the history of modern day Quepos, United Fruit Company era, came to an end.

The African Palm

African Palms produce pods of palm oil kernels (also known as oil dates) that contain rich oil. Processed palm oil is used in a variety of products. Every day items such as lipstick, cosmetics, candies, margarines, industrial lubricants, and soaps are just a few of the many commercial goods that contain African Palm oil. The pods are harvested when the fruits are bright orange-red. A new African Palm will produce its first pods after about three years, and then regularly thereafter if properly maintained. The African Palm can live to be over 200 years old. After a couple of decades, non-hybrid African Palms grow to tall to be properly maintained by workers and therefore become much less productive. For this reason, non- hybrid trees are being systematically killed off and almost all of the African Palms being planted today are hybrid clones that produce shorter trees that are more easily maintained.

The Pods

Plantation fieldwork is specialized. One class of worker uses machetes and poison to keep the base of each tree clear so that snakes don’t interfere with the next group of workers who are responsible for keeping the leaves trimmed so that the following group of fruit cutters have easy access to the mature fruit. When a mature pod is cut it crashes to the ground and several individual “dates” may break loose and scatter. A different group of workers (usually women and children) are responsible to collect these individual dates in bushel bags. The strongest workers load the large pods onto oxcarts or tractor driven trailers that then ultimately transport them to a processing plant.

Palm oil

The pods are harvested when the fruits are a bright orange-red. A new African Palm will produce its first pods after about three years, and then regularly thereafter if properly maintained. African Palms can live to be over 200 years old. After a couple of decades, non- hybrid African Palms grow too tall to be properly maintained and therefore become much less productive. For this reason, non-hybrid African Palms being planted today are hybrid clones that produce shorter trees that are more easily maintained.

Eco Preservation Society thanks for permission to reprint this article.

Also see:
Costa Rica Rain Forest and Carbon Offsets
Saving Mono Titi – The Documentary

Filed under: Carbon Offsets, Reforestation, Wildlife Conservation, , , , , , , ,

Tree Planting and Carbon Offsets

Carbon emissions play an ever-increasing role in environmental issues such as global warming. Carbon neutral programs (also called “carbon offset”) attempt to “neutralize” the carbon emissions we create with our cars, airplanes, industry, and energy use through urban forestry and reforestation efforts. Individuals and industries can “offset” some of their carbon dioxide emissions by planting enough trees to sequester an amount of carbon equivalent to their emissions.

How Does Carbon Neutral Work?

Carbon Dioxide is a compound produced from the combustion of carbon-based fuels: the colorless, odorless, tasteless gas formed when carbon, a solid, is burned in the open air. Carbon dioxide has long been recognized as a major agent of global warming since it is known to block solar energy that would otherwise radiate back into space.

Once carbon is released into the atmosphere, one of the easiest ways to mitigate that gas is to plant trees to absorb it, since carbon is a gas that trees use to grow and reproduce during photosynthesis! Trees are so effective that an average tree is believed to absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its normal lifetime.

Trees Sequester CO2

The average person in the U.S. generates approximately 2.3 tons of CO2 every year. An average healthy tree stores about 13 pounds of carbon annually – or 2.6 tons per acre each year.

A single mature tree can absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 lbs per year and release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support two human beings.

If every American family planted just one tree, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would be reduced by one billion lbs annually. That is almost five percent of the amount that human activity pumps into the atmosphere each year. 300 trees can counter balance the amount of air pollution one person produces in a lifetime.

How To Reduce CO2

  • Replace a regular incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb
  • Use energy efficient household appliances like Energy Star products
  • Insulate and weatherize your home, and switch to greener sources of power like wind or solar energy
  • Plant trees! Plant LOTS of trees. Tree planting remains one of the cheapest, most effective means of drawing excess CO2 from the atmosphere.

Also See:

What is carbon sequestration?
Costa Rican Old Growth Forest and Carbon Offsets
Does Reforestation Lead to Global Warming?

Filed under: Carbon Offsets, Climate Change, Reforestation, , , ,

Saving Mono Titi Documentary

The Story of the Mono Titi

Manuel Antonio Park is the crown jewel of the Costa Rican National Park system. Some would say that it is the birthplace of Eco Tourism. Manuel Antonio Park is also one of the two restricted habitats of the highly endangered Mono Titi squirrel monkey.

CLICK HERE TO HELP SAVE THE MONO TITI

Among the smallest of all primates, weighing in at around one and half pounds, the Mono Titi is as endearing as any creature in nature. Known as the “peaceful primates”, their social structure is unique in the egalitarian nature of their interactions. Both male and female nurture their young and they enjoy equal status within their troops. They live, they play and they love with the youthful exuberance of a band of mischievous teenagers on a holiday bash.

Prior to the middle of the twenty-century, the Pacific Coast of Central America was a sparsely inhabited frontier of wild coastal jungle. The Mono Titi had a range that extended hundreds of miles along the Pacific Coasts of Panama and Costa Rica. During the 1950’s Costa Rica emerged from third-world impoverishment through a nation wide effort to develop large-scale agricultural capacity across the country. The Pacific Coast region experienced widespread deforestation with the introduction of banana and cattle. This trend has played itself out to a degree where the habitat of the Mono Titi has now become so fragmented that their long-term survivability is in jeopardy.

Today Mono Titi’s habitat has been reduced to two restricted areas. There is a population in and around the Manuel Antonio National Park and there is another population in Corcovado National Park to the south. The Manuel Antonio habitat is an area that is less than 3000 acres in total. It is estimated that only around 1,700 of the animals are left in existence.

Over the last two decades the economy of Coast Rica has seen a gradual shift away from an agricultural based economy to a tourism based economy. Enlightened governmental policies have set aside more than 25% of the country as National Parks and Protected Areas. Costa Rica has some of the most stringent environmental laws in the world. Unfortunately a lack of funding has made enforcement difficult.

Over the last two decades the economy of Coast Rica has seen a gradual shift away from an agricultural based economy to a tourism based economy. Enlightened governmental policies have set aside more than 25% of the country as National Parks and Protected Areas. Costa Rica has some of the most stringent environmental laws in the world. Unfortunately a lack of funding has made enforcement difficult.

After nearly 20 years of development as one of the world’s premier eco tourism destinations, the Manuel Antonio community is struggling with its identity. There is no better symbol of this identity crisis than the Mono Titi itself. Thousand of visitors flock here each year for a communal experience with nature. Yet the march forward into a world-class tourist destination threatens the area’s star attraction, the wonderful, peaceful and playful Mono Titi. As this community struggles to enforce its environmental laws and keep rampant development in check, the fate of the Mono Titi hangs in the balance. Today the future of the Mono Titi is uncertain.

After nearly 20 years of development as one of the world’s premier eco tourism destinations, the Manuel Antonio community is struggling with its identity. There is no better symbol of this identity crisis than the Mono Titi itself. Thousand of visitors flock here each year for a communal experience with nature. Yet the march forward into a world-class tourist destination threatens the area’s star attraction, the wonderful, peaceful and playful Mono Titi. As this community struggles to enforce its environmental laws and keep rampant development in check, the fate of the Mono Titi hangs in the balance. Today the future of the Mono Titi is uncertain.

After nearly 20 years of development as one of the world’s premier eco tourism destinations, the Manuel Antonio community is struggling with its identity. There is no better symbol of this identity crisis than the Mono Titi itself. Thousand of visitors flock here each year for a communal experience with nature. Yet the march forward into a world-class tourist destination threatens the area’s star attraction, the wonderful, peaceful and playful Mono Titi. As this community struggles to enforce its environmental laws and keep rampant development in check, the fate of the Mono Titi hangs in the balance. Today the future of the Mono Titi is uncertain.

In some respects Manuel Antonio can be seen as ground zero in our fight to protect our planet. The plight of the Mono Titi begs the question: if we can’t get this right in a place like Manuel Antonio, then where can we get it right? Manuel Antonio is a community where the economy depends on protecting its natural treasures. If we cannot save an endangered species like the Mono Titi in the very cradle of eco tourism industry, if we cannot reverse the trend here, then where can we reverse the trend?

Our film examines these issues within a historical context to bring the plight of the Mono Titi to life. With Cooperation from Eco Preservation Society, The Phoenix Zoo, Kids Saving the Rainforest, The Association for the Preservation of the Mono Titi and the Rainmaker Conservation Project, we have over 30 hours of filming completed with interviews with over 20 individuals. We examine corruption and illegal deforestation that takes place to this day. We look at the effects of the tourism industry and the effects of people interacting with the animals. We have interviews with Costa Rican and American School children and their perspectives. We have historical interviews with the former manager of the United Fruit Company (Chiquita Banana) and people instrumental with establishing the park. We also feature a one of a kind interactive squirrel monkey exhibit at the Phoenix Zoo.

We want to thank you for your interest in the Saving Mono Titi project and we encourage you to support our efforts to save this wonderful creature. For more information on how you can help, visit the Saving Mono Titi web site

Related Stories:
A brief history of African Palm
Support the Eco Preservation Society
Take an Eco Interactive Tour to visit Mono Titi

Filed under: Reforestation, Wildlife Conservation, , , ,

Costa Rican Old Growth Forests and Carbon Neutral Offsets

Conservation Report: Carbon Neutrality

This is an article about carbon credits and carbon neutrality written
by Michael Kaye, president of Costa Rica Expeditions. We have
borrowed the document to bring interested readers up to speed on this
relatively new and growing concept.
(from the Rancho Mastatal September Newsletter)

In October 1980, a couple of years after I started Costa Rica
Expeditions, a reporter from the Tico Times, Costa Rica’s English
language newspaper wrote an article about my fledgling enterprise.
Almost 20 years later, researching her book on eco-tourism,
Ecotourism and Sustainable Development, Martha Honey found my long
forgotten answer to a question about what made my vision of tourism
different, “Tourism should contribute to, rather than exploit (the
land)…It should be active rather than passive, emphasizing cultural
exchange rather than mere sightseeing. ” Honey called them “pioneering
words.” Almost 30 years later, having watched eco-tourism fads come
and go, I can’t decide whether to be proud, or wish I had kept my big
mouth shut. The new hot fad in sustainable travel these days is
paying offsets for our carbon footprint. That is, to compensate for
the amount our lifestyles contribute to the catastrophic largely man
made changes that are taking place in the earth’s climate we pay
money that is supposedly used to change things back.

As far as I can figure out, the way it is supposed to work is that we add up all the
carbon our vacation spews into the atmosphere. Then using math way
beyond the power of mere mortals to understand, experts calculate the
amount of money that it would take to remove the carbon that we have
put in. We then fork over this money to carbon offset brokers, and,
after covering their overhead and administrative expenses, they spend
the money on sequestering carbon by natural means, or on developing
renewable energy technologies that will, they claim, result in a
smaller carbon footprint from the same activities in the future.

A Seductive Strategy

It is a brilliantly seductive strategy. With a small manageable
financial sacrifice we “offset” (or should it be buy off) our life
styles. Any scheme that allows sustainability gurus to guiltlessly
fly around in private jets and contaminate the atmosphere much more
than the ordinary citizen has got to be worthy of our respect.
Irrational symbolic fixes for potential catastrophes are nothing new.
When I was a teenager, it was nuclear holocaust. The Russians had
just gotten the hydrogen bomb. Since the US had just snuffed 250,000
Jap(anese people) in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, everyone assumed that we were next.
In school the response that we were given were air raid drills in
which we were made to get down beneath our desks and put our heads
between our legs. After a while they must have figured that we needed
to do more to protect ourselves against a bomb that was capable of
making whole islands disappear in the South Pacific, so they told us
to turn away from the windows. That was when I must have made some
typically wise-ass remark. I can’t remember what I said, but I can
remember being sent to the principal’s office and accused of being a
communist. I feel now exactly the way I feel then. As much as I
would love to be able to pay for offsets and continue merrily on with
my highly privileged and satisfying life, I can’t help but think that
paying carbon offsets as an answer to climate change is something
like taking aspirin for cancer that has very possibly metastasized.
It might be comforting to look at it as a good start. It does
temporarily ease the pain and you do feel like you are doing
something about it, but, if it distracts you from getting the chemo
or the radiation that might really help in the long run, it is, to be
charitable, a short sighted strategy. When I asked a scientist
friend of mine who is one of the pioneers in climate change research
what he thought of offsets, he put it very succinctly, “The science
is doubtful and the social policy is worse.”

Social Policy

Let’s start with the social policy. No matter how hard you spin it,
you don’t get around the fact that essentially offsets are rich
people paying so that they can maintain their unsustainable
lifestyles. I find it particularly unfortunate that in the Travel
Industry we have been especially self-deprecating by singling out the
carbon footprint of travel to be offset.

Conferences brag about being carbon neutral by paying offsets by all
the carbon generated by the event. Travelers are encouraged to pay to
offset carbon generated by their vacations. It is as if we believed
that carbon produced by travel melts more glaciers than the carbon
that we all generate in the rest of our lives.

If our lifestyles are as unsustainable as the practice of offsets
suggests, it seems to me that we need to change our lifestyles rather
than paying to get ourselves off the hook. But if we are going to buy
offsets, we should at least buy them for our entire carbon footprint,
not just pick on travel. Finally even a cursory look at the
literature makes it pretty clear that either offsets do not have the
slightest potential to make a dent in the problem, or the threat of
climate change is highly exaggerated. Hope for this second
possibility is getting slimmer every day. When pressed offset
supporters admit that offsets per se are not effective. Then they go
on to defend offsets as the solution of last resort. After you have
done everything possible to reduce your greenhouse gas admissions,
they suggest, if you absolutely have to engage in polluting
activities, it is better than nothing to pay some money that will
used to alleviate the theory. A quick perusal at the ecommerce sites
dedicated to selling offsets shows that in almost all of them the
idea of reducing emissions is dwarfed by the aggressive promoting of
the sale of offsets. “You can balance it out. Undoing your
contribution to global warming is easier than you think. Gaia
Absolution (I made up this name) is simple, affordable and verified.
Be part of the solution.” Goes the pitch on one of the more
prominent and splashy sites. This same site also offered a volume
discount of as much as 28% on the cost for mile car offsets. The more
you drive the less you pay per mile. When I pointed this out, the CEO
of the company that owns the site said it was due to a “rounding
error,” and promised that it would be corrected immediately.

All the sites claim that the offsets are verified. I have yet to figure out
who verifies the verifiers. No place could I find an offset ecommerce
site that promotes the idea of a high enough carbon tax to actually
reduce emissions enough to make a difference, and, hopefully, but the
offset brokers out of business. Nor do I find any evidence that
offsets does anything other than help people justify high levels of
consumption. A friend of mine who works for a prominent magazine
dedicated to travel, adventure and sustainability admitted in a
conversation in which she was defending offsets that when she first
became aware of the implications of climate crisis she stopped heli-
skiing. “If I was going to ski I was going to walk to the top of the
mountain.” Than she found out about offsets and started heli-skiing
again. The other defense of offsets is that even though their effect
is minimal they sound good, because they “raise consciousness” and/or
are a “good start.” Sounds good, but the argument does not stand up
to even minimal scrutiny. Is there any reason to believe that when Al
Gore pays offsets for the carbon footprint of his 3 houses and his
private jet travel that it is a start towards him raising his
consciousness to make some real sacrifices to tighten his carbon
belt? Is their historical evidence that offsets work as an
educational tool or a good start? Did the Catholic Church selling
indulgences for sinful behavior in the middle ages serve as start for
people to learn to sin less or did it just encourage them to keep
sinning, while buying them less time in purgatory? I am not saying
here that selling indulgences for rape and pillage is the moral
equivalent to selling offsets for a quick getaway to Cancun. But it
is in the same spirit. I am also not saying that our lifestyles are
sinful. My view is that rather than being sinful, we are human. And
being human we are not saints. Al Gore does not fly around private
jets because he is bad; he flies around in private jets because he
can afford to—as would I.

It seems to me hypocritical to criticize Al Gore for using private jets unless you have enough money to be able to do so and do not. But it also seems to me that a regime that
allows the most prominent spokesman in the US for doing something
about climate change to have an extraordinarily large carbon
footprint in the long run is bound to breed more cynicism about
sustainability than converts, no matter how effective it is in the
short run. What I am saying is that the cause of sustainability and
dealing with the impacts of climate crisis would be much better
served if we stopped trying to hoodwink ourselves and others into
thinking we can offset our carbon footprints. If we feel guilty about
our carbon footprints we should reduce them or get over our guilt. We
can’t fool the glaciers into melting less. What’s more, all of the
above assumes that the money that received from the offset buyers is
spent honestly. That is a hopelessly optimistic assumption.

While there must be instances in which the money is being honestly spent on
projects that promise to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,
there also must be many other instances in which to put it bluntly
the money is being ripped off.

Costa Rica

In a way even more pernicious than the out and out rip offs is offset
money going to good causes dishonestly represented. An example of
this is that the majority of the money spent for offsets in Costa
Rica is used to protect old growth forest in parks and reserves. It
is logical that it should be this way. Costa Rica is famous for
protecting old growth tropical forests and an impressive percentage
of the national territory is under protection.

Furthermore maintaining old growth forest is a very worthy cause.
There is one small problem. Old growth tropical forests are carbon
neutral; they do not offset any carbon. Reforestation of pastures
sequesters carbon, but in Costa Rica very little of the carbon offset
money goes into reforestation, because the owners of the pastures are
dispersed and not connected to the international networks that dole
out the offset money. Also, in many cases the money for offsets is
not enough to reforest a pasture. It is only enough to protect a
forest that you are going to protect anyway. Gotta pay those
administrative and marketing costs. What you do get with offsets is
a whole industry with a vested interest against carbon taxes that
would be high enough to actually reduce the amount of carbon we
generate. As I pointed out above, with a high carbon tax, the offset
brokers are going to have to find other work. While carbon offsets
do not get you a whole lot of sustainability, what they do get you is
hype. Google Carbon Neutral and you get 1,930,000 results.
Costa Rica’s Nature Air, Silverjet and Netjets
all claim to be the world’s first carbon neutral aviation company. I
lost count at 25 “first” carbon neutral conferences. All through the
magic of offsets. By and large the media reports all this with a
straight face.

Media Darlings

Right now carbon neutrality through offsets is a media darling. Years
ago a week did not go by when some journalist did not ask me up about
what we were doing to support local communities. Now the media
wouldn’t notice if we were running a white slavery operation in a
local community as long as it was carbon neutral. Media darlings
have a way of becoming media goats. Almost certainly in my view the
press is going to start to investigate the most ridiculous claims and
how the money is spent. They will concentrate on the worse abuses and
tar good and bad with the same brush. As somebody said, “The new
yellow journalism is green.”

Science

Which brings me to the science: Every responsible scientist that I
can find believes that the climate is changing, and that on balance
the impacts will be more or less catastrophic. As time goes on, the
direr the predictions of responsible mainstream scientists. The most
pessimistic, people like James Lovelock, go so far as to contemplate
the possibility that eventually climate change will threaten
civilization, as we know it. There is slightly less agreement about
the relative roles of man-made factors and natural cycles, but the
great preponderance of evidence is that human kind has played a
decisive and negative role especially by the production and releasing
of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Up until this point the
picture is pretty clear, but as soon as we get to where in the cycle
we are now, and what we should be doing about it, the clarity
dissolves. My friend Robert Aglow won an Emmy for producing a
documentary on climate change for ABC news some12 years ago. He has
been avidly following the topic ever since. In a recent email he gave
me his “dispassionate” take in on where the science stands
now, “There is no way to determine if we are at a tipping point, or
tipping points because the best scientists in the world can’t predict
exactly how or when the various positive feedback scenarios (they
call them positive feedback which is misleading, of course, since
they have very negative effects) they are beginning to concentrate on
will play out.”

So if this is the case what do we do? Here’s Aglow again. “So to
your question of whether we build dykes and floating cities and the
rest or come up with real alternative fuel sources and sustainable
living models, the answer is that both are necessary simultaneously. ”

Looking at the Problem

In my view it is not so much a matter of what to do about the problem
as how to look at the problem. When we dedicate time and treasure to
sustainability we are not buying sustainability in the sense that
when we buy a car we get a car. Way before the carbon neutrality
bandwagon, money and time spent on sustainability was an investment,
not a purchase. And investment intrinsically means risk. Invest in
eliminating DDT maybe we get non-toxic produce and mother’s milk;
maybe we get 800,000 deaths from malaria. In this case we got both.
Since we are talking about investing, the golden rules about
investing apply: Above all, diversify among high risk/high return and
tried and true initiatives. Beware of bubbles and bandwagons. If
everybody bets on the same thing you get a bubble. The great offset
fever that we are witnessing at the moment with everybody racing to
be the first or the biggest carbon neutral this or carbon neutral
that is the sustainability equivalent of the .com bubble of the
nineties and the housing bubble that is in the process of bursting at
the moment. Bubbles always burst. Above all diversify. The most
aggressive sustainability investors will want to make massive
investments in carbon neutrality. At the same time it is still
worthwhile and vital to continue to protect wildlife and wildlands —
biodiversity will always be important whatever happens with the
climate. For some investing to protect an important work of art or
architecture will still be the right answer. We can’t be expected to
do a good job with nature if we neglect the great works of man.
Finally by all means helping local communities support themselves and
become self-sufficient is still the lynch pin of sustainability in
the developing world — and often the weak link. If the dire
predictions of climate change play out as many of us fear, local
communities will be more vulnerable than ever. In short (and in my
personal opinion) anything but offsets. Of course if you would have
bought indulgences in the middle ages, buy offsets now. The offset
brokers gotta live too—and it just might get you some good
press … for a while.

Addendum

Since I first wrote this a few weeks ago, I have become increasingly
aware of something more troubling then the dubious science and social
policy. That is a concerted effort to stifle dissent with zeal worthy
of the Bush administration. Responsible critics of offsets like Bjorn
Lomborg the Danish environmentalist are vilified. I am not sure
whether this intolerance of dissent is due the amount of money there
is to be made with offsets of political correctness. I suspect both.
Several people have told me in private that they agree with my views
on offsets, but would not say so in public. I asked one of them why
not and he told me that he lived in Berkeley.

Filed under: Carbon Offsets, Reforestation, , , ,

Brunka People New Years Festival

This is a multi-day festival that celebrates the fact that the Brunka
people were never beaten by the Spanish conquistadores. Many of the
men dress up as diablitos (representing ancestral spirits) and fight
against a bull (representing the Spaniards). At the beginning it seems
like the bull might win, but in the end the diablitos prevail! There are
sometimes hundreds of spectators of both foreigners and locals to
this festival, but only local men who have carved their own masks are
allowed to participate.

We are now seeking adventurous people to join us on this amazing
journey. Our guided tour is not an ordinary tour. We want you to
discover an extraordinary and personal adventure and allow you to get
an intimate understanding of the community.

During the Baile in 2006, Boyero Tours was commended by the Boruca
Development Commission as an example of what ethno-tourism in Boruca
should be. We (Sarah Joy & Julio) act as translators, coordinators and
cultural guides, helping the local guides to share their culture and
traditions with you.

Please note that this is a flexible itinerary and will be adjusted to
accommodate the interests and needs of the group as a whole and the
timing will be adjusted for Boruca’s special brand of “Tico Time”.
See www.boruca.boyerotours.com for the itinerary and please email us if
you think that this is something that you might want to join us for!

Filed under: Family Eco Travel, Rural Eco Travel, , , ,

Costa Rica Family Eco Vacations

Call Eco Interactive Toll Free: 888-693-7209

Costa Rica Vacation

For your next Family Vacation consider an Eco Vacation in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is the most biodiverse place on earth with an unsurpassed variety of wildlife. Costa Rica offers an unparalleled array of safe activities for the entire family. Along with its incredible variety of unique experiences, Costa Rica offers an assortment of family oriented resorts to fit any family budget. (Click here for Itinerary Information)

Costa Rica VacationEco Interactive Vacations (EcoInteractiveTours.com) specializes in family oriented travel to Costa Rica. Eco Interactive Vacations supports the Eco Preservation Society as well as wildlife and conservation projects in Costa Rica, including the Saving Mono Titi documentary.

Another unique feature of the Eco Interactive program is its relationship with Kids Saving the Rainforest.

Costa Rica Vacation

Through KSTR children develop pen pal relationships with Costa Rican school children and learn about how to create their own conservation programs within their own communities. During your vacation there are educational opportunities through the KSTR program.

Costa Rica VacationIn addition, Eco Interactive offers families opportunities for Carbon Neutral Vacation with a personalized family reforestation project at the Rainmaker Conservation Project.

Leave a lasting family legacy during your vacation experience by planting trees that will not only offset your carbon foot print for your vacation, but will help to restore critical habitat in the Costa Rican Rainforest. (Click here for Itinerary Information)

Wonderful Costa Rica

Costa Rica is an ideal location for your next Family Vacation.

Costa Rica is the first country to set the goal of becoming carbon neutral, with the goal of accomplishing this by the year 2021. The government has declared peace with the environment.

Costa Rica Vacation

There is no other place on earth like Costa Rica. Costa Rica is the most bio-diverse place on the planet. Nearly 6% of the entire world’s species reside in this tiny little country. It is a place with more species of birds than in all of North America, it has more species of butterflies than the entire continent of Africa.

25% of all the lands in Costa Rica are natural parks and protected areas. The variety and the complexity of the habitats provide your family endless opportunities for discovery and adventure. (Click here for Itinerary Information)

Costa Rica Vacation

Safe, Stable & Peaceful

Costa Rica is a peaceful and stable nation. Known as the Switzerland of the America’s, in 1948 Costa Rica became one of the first countries in the world to abolish their military, Those resources were redirected into education and healthcare.

Costa Rica Vacation

Costa Rica has an outstanding education system, as the country boosts a higher literacy rate than Canada (94%). In addition, Costa Rica has a healthcare system that the World Health Organization rates ahead of the United States. Contrary to what you might read elsewhere, Costa Rica is not a Third World Country. Costa Rica is a Second World Developing Nation with a vibrant and growing economy. In just fifty years, Costa Rica has gone for being one of the poorest countries in the region to having one of the highest standards of living in all of Latin America.

The Birthplace of Eco Tourism

Eco Tourism was invented in Costa Rica; with more than 15 years as an eco-destination it has an unsurpassed variety of services, facilities and activities. With the diversity of its ecology, the uniqueness of its varied activities and the development of its tourism infrastructure, Cost Rica is a world-class destination ideal for an unparalleled family vacation experience.

Costa Rica VacationCosta Rica truly has something for every family. For the younger children it provides encounters with the natural world that you just won’t find anywhere else. For families with active teens, the array of adventure activities is unsurpassed. (Click here for Itinerary Information)

For more information call:
Call Eco Interactive Toll Free: 888-693-7209
EcoPreservationSociety.org
EcoInteractiveTours.com
Eco Interactive Vacation Itineraries

Costa Rica Vacation
Information About Health Care for Travelers to Costa Rica

Filed under: Carbon Offsets, Family Eco Travel, Reforestation, Wildlife Conservation, , , , , , , , ,

Costa Rica Family Vacation

Eco Interactive offers Costa Rica Family Vacations that are second to none.  If you want to go on a Costa Rica Family Vacation, choose Eco Interactive Tours for you Costa Rica Family Vacation.  Eco Interactive offers Costa Rica Family Eco Vacations that are second to none.  If you want to go on a Costa Rica Family Eco Vacation, choose Eco Interactive Tours for you Costa Rica Family Eco Vacation.  Eco Interactive offers Costa Rica Family Eco Trips that are second to none.  If you want to go on a Costa Rica Family Eco Trip, choose Eco Interactive Tours for you Costa Rica Family Eco Trip. Eco Interactive offers Costa Rica Family Travel that are second to none.  If you want to go on a Costa Rica Family Travel, choose Eco Interactive Tours for you Costa Rica Family Travel.

Eco Interactive offers Costa Rica Family Vacations that are second to none.  If you want to go on a Costa Rica Family Vacation, choose Eco Interactive Tours for you Costa Rica Family Vacation.  Eco Interactive offers Costa Rica Family Eco Vacations that are second to none.  If you want to go on a Costa Rica Family Eco Vacation, choose Eco Interactive Tours for you Costa Rica Family Eco Vacation.  Eco Interactive offers Costa Rica Family Eco Trips that are second to none.  If you want to go on a Costa Rica Family Eco Trip, choose Eco Interactive Tours for you Costa Rica Family Eco Trip. Eco Interactive offers Costa Rica Family Travel that are second to none.  If you want to go on a Costa Rica Family Travel, choose Eco Interactive Tours for you Costa Rica Family Travel.

Eco Interactive offers Costa Rica Family Vacations that are second to none.  If you want to go on a Costa Rica Family Vacation, choose Eco Interactive Tours for you Costa Rica Family Vacation.  Eco Interactive offers Costa Rica Family Eco Vacations that are second to none.  If you want to go on a Costa Rica Family Eco Vacation, choose Eco Interactive Tours for you Costa Rica Family Eco Vacation.  Eco Interactive offers Costa Rica Family Eco Trips that are second to none.  If you want to go on a Costa Rica Family Eco Trip, choose Eco Interactive Tours for you Costa Rica Family Eco Trip. Eco Interactive offers Costa Rica Family Travel that are second to none.  If you want to go on a Costa Rica Family Travel, choose Eco Interactive Tours for you Costa Rica Family Travel.

Eco Interactive offers Costa Rica Family Vacations that are second to none.  If you want to go on a Costa Rica Family Vacation, choose Eco Interactive Tours for you Costa Rica Family Vacation.  Eco Interactive offers Costa Rica Family Eco Vacations that are second to none.  If you want to go on a Costa Rica Family Eco Vacation, choose Eco Interactive Tours for you Costa Rica Family Eco Vacation.  Eco Interactive offers Costa Rica Family Eco Trips that are second to none.  If you want to go on a Costa Rica Family Eco Trip, choose Eco Interactive Tours for you Costa Rica Family Eco Trip. Eco Interactive offers Costa Rica Family Travel that are second to none.  If you want to go on a Costa Rica Family Travel, choose Eco Interactive Tours for you Costa Rica Family Travel.

Filed under: Family Eco Travel

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