Recently we have struggled with Siim to book a sustainable holiday for us. That would have beautiful palm beach, possibility to support local community, to work out, make our own vegan food, enjoy each other's company, read books and being close to Europe as we don't want to stretch our carbon footprint with this trip, as it's only for 2 weeks. It doesn't seem to be asked too much, but we haven't found any suitable yet.
Palm Island image of paradise from advertisements has caught my eye during this search of holiday. Vacation in Crete isn't exactly this palm island, even though it is beautiful place it´s weird that it is being sold by the palm island images that look more like from Caribbean. I wonder where do we still have these kinds of islands left. I have visited many, but in all of them, I have sensed this threat of bad tourism and climate change. As these two together can ruin forever these paradise islands that our kids like to draw so much and travel agencies sell to us with high price tags.
Surin Islands, Thailand
For me, Polynesian islands, Caribbean islands, Hawaii, Madagascar, Maldives etc. are total palm island paradises, especially because of their flora and fauna. But more than that I wish that I could go diving there for the next 50 years, I wish that local communities and their offspring can continue to live there. How sad would be Polynesian climate change refugees in Estonia or Finland in November. And how much sadder, while communities reject them like Syrians now, would they be without a place called home on this planet. The dry places, like Syria, and islands are the most threatened places by climate change. Mostly these are the communities who have the least impact on creating it.
There are many science-, social-, environmental movements, from western world to protect and help these vulnerable communities, but very few western communities are changing themselves. And those who are trying to change, like German chancellor Merkel (I don't support all her causes), get all the anger on them from others who don't. Compassion and sustainability are the things we are missing in western world, these are not considered feature of powerful men. And that is exactly why it is so hard to change who we are in our own communities.
"Conservation success depends largely on building compassionate, sustainable relationships and an attitude of mutual respect between organisations and communities" - Alasdair Harris (Blue Ventures) in Save Our Seas Magazine
I read very interesting book recently by previous Finnish zoo, Korkeasaari, manager Seppo Turunen, in his book "Lemmikkielämää" ("Petlife") there was great insight to the history of human and animal relationship. It changed my perspective about pets, even though I wanted to disagree I really couldn't, as I know he is right. It also showed me clear difference between being animal right activist and nature activist. To put it very (too) simply, because of humans pets and domestic animals destroy biodiversity on this planet and people use mega big areas of land to feed them. I mean like, the size of the areas is hard to understand, because I can't even say the numbers aloud, there are so many zeros after the first numbers. And as mr. Turunen also brings out, all this area could be used to feed the poor of this planet instead of these bred to be sick domestic and pet animals. Breeding animals is the sickest cruelty there is behind the animal lover curtain. The best way to have a pet is by giving second home to one mix breed pet and sharing it with few families. These kinds of pets are healthiest and that is why, the happiest.
Similan Islands, Thailand
Islands have always been the most vulnerable places on this planet. Other than climate change threats that they face are invasive species and diseases that we as travelers bring on them. Hawaii has the most invasive species on the planet and they are all there because people have brought them with, for different reasons. Australia isn't exactly an island, but did you know that there are huge amounts of wild camels in Australian deserts as invasive species? Palm islands that we love are also destroyed by people just taking few sea shells from the shore as a souvenir. Or taking picture with piece of live coral that is taken out of the water to the beach. You wouldn't take a monkey underwater to have a great Instagram shot, or would you? Best you can do while traveling is to take nothing but memories and leaving nothing, but footprints. Have great vacation season!