Monthly Archives:April 2005

Ayhuasca and Alistair

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Daytime TV heart-throb Alistair Appleton has been sharing the secrets of his time at a top eco-resort near Ilheus in Brazil.

Appleton tells readers of his web site (www.alistairappleton.com/ ) that he has come out as a gay guy after taking the mind-bending Amazonian herbal potion, Ayahuasca(aye-yah-wah-skah), while he was there with a pal.

Those who take the drug refer to its mystical properties, uniting them with nature:

Camping across Europe

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Camp site in SloveniaHere is a quick guide to some good camp sites across Europe.

Slovenia

For a new destination with dramatic scenery, before everybody knowns about it, head for Camping Sobec in a beautiful spruce wood in the Julian Alps. Activities include tennis, in-line hockey and a rock-climbing wall, while the region is ideal for hiking and cycling. The nearby Sava river offers kayaking, canoeing, rafting and fishing.

>>> Vacansoleil (08700 778779, vacansoleil.co.uk). From 284 for seven nights for a family of up to six including ferry/Eurotunnel for car and passengers. 90 off if no ferry required.

Turkey

Jamie Oliver’s Camper Van Adventure

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So it IS true.

We broke the story TV chef Jamie Oliver ‘s production company denied — and today it was confirmed.

On 24 Feb we announced that Jamie was going to live in a camper van in Italy for his next series. Today he set off on his trip. We wish him well.

Jamie Oliver and wife Jools make a meal of their tearful farewell – as he set off on the six-week cooking tour. The gossip in London’s Primrose Hill is that Jamie is not a happy man. Whether his marriage is truly on the rocks or it is being done for the benefit of the cameras remains to be seen.

Jamie has become a national hero since he reinvented school food, and a knighthood cannot be far off.

Now he will reinvent off-grid cooking. A new TV show will follow Oliver on a trip round Italy in a converted camper van carrying all his kitchen kit.

It is no coincidence at all that Sainsbury’s is overhauling its Italian food range under the single banner of Simply Italian.

Plant your own trees – don’t pay others to do it for you

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Marketing firms are cashing in on public concern about the environment to sell PR services rather than solutions.

They claim to be able to create “offset” projects such as woodlands to absorb “all the harmful carbon dioxide” emitted by individuals, firms, or meetings. One example of this worrying trend is the UK-based Future Forests, which sells a so-called patented “carbon-neutral” label to clients. Unlike companies such as EcoSecurities, Future Forests concentrates less on helping its customers cope with new climate-related legislation than on helping them advertise themselves to the public as climatically responsible.

Planting tress is no substitute for using renewable energy. The answer, if you want to plant trees is to plant your own , in a window box, a back yard, or your best friend’s garden. You do NOT need others to do it for you. Future Forests appears to be planting less trees than it promises and takes a large cut from payments made by individuals who can scarcely afford the sky high prices they charge.

Remote Scottish eco-project

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Wildlife millionaire Paul Lister bought the Alladale Highland Wilderness Reserve after a 10 year search. He was looking for somewhere isolated, private and with vast, uninterrupted views to fulfill his dream of reintroducing indigenous predators to the Scottish Highlands. He is now offering students an ecology holiday, but at a price.

Set within 11,000 hectares of truly dramatic and stunning Highland landscape, the reserve covers 5 glens, 10 hill lochs and 2 river systems. Alladale is the site of one of Europe’s most prominent ecological restoration programmes, conserving native wildlife whilst reintroducing once native Highland flora and fauna in a controlled environment.

Cheap London from A-Z

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This is the first in a series about how to get around cheap or free in major cities.

Contributors from around the world – welcome. Please send us your ideas or whole articles on how we can resist the forces of consumerism and still have a good time.

Wind-diesel power from Russia

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If you want a high-quality, low-cost household wind turbine, go to St Petersburg. Toomas Pungas, Project Manager, ElektroSfera, explains.

Russia is the world’s biggest country. Almost 70% of it is sparsely populated. That means 70% of the country is off the grid, including European North, Siberia and the Russian Far East. Power in these regions is usually by diesel generator. Thousands of small and big diesel power plants consume 6 to 8 millions tons of fuel annually. Some of the regions are very inaccessible, and the fuel is ferried by planes and helicopters, which is wasteful and expensive. There are villages where electricity is available only a few hours a day – for morning and evening milkings.
The total population of these regions is about 10 million. Annually Russian state and local budgets spend more than $3 billion to provide distant territories with fuel.

Now they have started paying more attention to wind resources.

Off-Grid Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

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The Rich are meaner than you and me.

Solar power for homes is so subsidised, some high-end home owners, never afraid to take whatever handouts are going, are shifting to innovative energy practices–and not for environmental reasons.

The wealthiest American families are using geothermal heating and cooling systems; efficient wind turbines make it a breeze to generate electricity.

“Some of our high-end clients literally never see their energy bills,” says Steven J. Strong, president of Solar Design Associates in Harvard, Mass. “They are putting a higher value on having more control over their energy destiny. This is a hedge against uncertainty.”

Buy this book

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Save Cash and Save the Planet: Published in Association with Friends of the EarthSave Cash and Save the Planet – buy this book

Printed on 100% recycled paper, of course, this book is a refreshingly commercial attempt to guide readers along a greener path.