Kenya opens first fully solar-powered Lodge

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Serena Hotels and Mettle Solar OFGEN have officially opened “Kenya’s First Fully Solar Powered Lodge.”

Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge, located in Tsavo West National Park, implemented a fully-fledged solar power plant to provide for its entire power requirements and enhance environmental sustainability.

The solar power plant was installed under a lease arrangement and produces 307kWp utilizing SMA Solar off-grid technology with the capacity to supply Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge’s total energy requirements during normal weather conditions.

During adverse weather, additional energy needs are met using synchronized diesel generators, which were previously the main source of energy before the commissioning of the solar plant in July 2017.

Mr. Thorsten Ronge, Managing Director, SMA Solar Technology South Africa said: “The projects focus on secure and environmentally friendly energy supply is testament to SMA’s vision of ‘generating energy where it is needed’. We are proud that our Sunny Island battery inverters, which have been shipped to the world for nearly twenty years to generate clean and reliable electricity in remote locations, form the heart and brain of Kilaguni’s off-grid solar installation.”

According to the solar power plant data records, 467 tons of carbon dioxide has been avoided since the last 15 months of installation. To extract this carbon dioxide from the environment naturally within 10 years 37,399 trees need to be planted. The solar power plants complement the Serena East Africa tree planting initiative that has taken place for over two decades.




Chauffeured Tesla’s across America

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Texas startup, Elec trip founded in 2018 aims to add luxury and convenience to regional commutes between major Texas cities by providing transportation in Teslas.

Mandeep Patel, a University of Texas at Austin student, had the idea for the company just about a year ago while completing an internship. Patel had the company up and running just a few months later.

ElecTrip’s no-compromise solution is cost effective, comfortable, and carbon neutral.

“One thing we really pride ourselves on is being sustainable, energy-efficient, and having no emissions,” Lee says.

ElecTrip offers door-to-door service for their customers, who can customize pickup and drop-off locations in any major Texas city. The company has eight routes between Houston, Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio. Prices range from $249.99 to $429.99, but customers can opt to share rides to cut down on cost, with cars seating three to five riders.

Less than a year old it has already coordinated hundreds of rides, according to the website. While starting the company while still juggling classes — Lee expects to graduate from UT in 2020, while Patel is graduating this year — Lee says being a student-run startup has its perks.

Best Travel Apps

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TripAdvisor (free, iTunes)

THE great allrounder, TripAdvisor takes its dynamic world of reviews, accommodation options, things to do, flights and forums and packages in a pocket rocket app that delivers more often than not, no matter where you are in the world. Virtual tours, a cool “near me” geo-tagging feature, and millions of reviews and photos from our world of fellow travellers.

Flight Track ($5.49, iTunes)

Calculate your travel carbon

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Ultimately the only way to reduce your carbon is to consume less, travel less and do everything less – other than have sex and take other forms of exercise.

But you are not going to do that are you?

So Carbon calculators do have a useful role to play in working out what impact you are having on the planet, and incidentally, on your own bank balance if individual carbon allowances ever come into force. Here is a guide to the best ones.

Green travel guides

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There are more and more responsible and ethical travel guides, including Lonely Planet’s recent “Lonely Planet Code Green: Experiences of a Lifetime ” and the upcoming “Green Travel: The World’s Best Eco-Lodges & Earth-Friendly Hotels” from Fodor’s Travel, aim to give readers a way to judge the sustainability of operations from lodges to wildlife treks. In a world where commercial enterprises are increasingly eager to tout their eco-tourist credentials, these specialty books help travelers distinguish environmental ventures from orchestrated PR. (In fact, “Code Green” has a short section on “How to Tell if Your Holiday Is Green or Just Greenwash,” and Rough Guides has a similar feature in its recently released “25 Ultimate Experiences: Ethical Travel.”)

Some publishers, such as the U.K.’s Rough Guides and Australia’s Lonely Planet, have integrated the concept into all their books and Web sites. They urge readers to reduce their global warming emissions and compensate for those they generate over the course of a vacation. Both companies’ Web sites have a feature allowing visitors to calculate the global warming impact of any given trip and then donate money to Climate Care, a British group that compensates for carbon emissions by funding initiatives that cut greenhouse gases. Every Rough Guide, moreover, contains a section urging travelers to stay longer in a given location to minimize their climate impact.

Pamela Stephenson joins Boomer rush to sea

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Actress Pamela Stephenson achieved her dream of sailing the world for a year, and now she doesn’t want to stop.

Stephenson, 56-year-old psychologist and former comedienne, who has three children with the Big Yin, Billy Connolly, said she was sick of being the “responsible one” and was desperate to escape her humdrum existence.

So she embarked on a mid-life adventure which saw her sail 19,000 nautical miles in ten months, visit uncharted islands and resist a hunky fisherman. But this was no primitive idyll. She travelled in a 112ft super-yacht with a crew of seven.

She has written a book on her travels, Treasure Islands, which she says has helped put her life in order: “I’ve survived. And I’ve never been so terrified.” You can buy the book on the next page.

Intro to Eco-tourism

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For the conscientious traveller, certain countries are better choices than others. The world’s most ethical travel destinations, selected for their support for ecotourism, environmental protection and social development are, in alphabetical order, Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, Kenya, Peru, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Uruguay.

At first glance, ecological concerns and tourism appear unlikely bedfellows. But according to the World Wildlife Fund, the concept of ecotourism combines “the pleasures of discovering and understanding spectacular flora and fauna and peoples of traditional cultures with an opportunity to contribute to their protection.” (Please click “more” for rest of story).

Ethical Travel Guide: Your Passport to Exciting Alternative Holidays – buy it from Amazon US

Eco-Touring: The Ultimate GuideEco-Touring: The Ultimate Guide – buy it from Amazon UK – £14.99

Send us your favourite eco-resort

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Welcome to the Beta version of a new kind of travel web site, specialising in eco-destinations, and ethical ways of getting there.

We want to hear from YOU, dear readers, with any eco-friendly havens you can recommend to the rest of the Web. Of course we recognise that the system is imperfect. We will always cause some damage just by gettinginto a plane or a car. So we will be featuring companies that at least offset their carbon.

Anyway, that’s an ongoing debate. Most times, when people want to travel to clear their head and get a bit of peace of mind, the last thing you want to worry about is damaging the environment. We are here to give you the tools to holiday with a clear conscience.

Today, Suenos Tulum on Tulum Beach Mexico, 90 miles south of Cancun at the end of a stretch of shoreline on the Caribbean Sea known as the Maya Riviera.

Give your mind a vacation

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Lydia Polzer
spent last Christmas on an intense 10-day retreat – Once you have heard her experiences, there’s still time to book yourself in for this year.

Ever since I lost my childlike excitement about everything sparkling, Christmas lost its, well, sparkle. So my relief was great when I found a low-impact, alternative to Christmas crackers and stockings last year on a hill near Sheringham in rural East Anglia. A 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat does add a new dimension to “Silent Night”. The Christmas period in noble silence sounded like music to my carol-worn ears. I added up the hours of meditation on the daily schedule of the retreat and felt a little intimidated when I got to eleven.

That’s a lot of silence.

LOST – an eco-travel metaphor

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“Lost” is “Baywatch” for the new millennium.

And just as Baywatch embodied the values of the 80s, so Lost incorporates our current set of values – all our secret hopes and fears. It must do – that’s why its successful.

So what does the success of Lost tell us about ourselves? Fans talk about the suspenseful story lines and the sexy actors (see the unofficial LOST site).

The great modern fear – death by aircraft, is too obvious to be mentioned. More subtly, the idea of being somewhere primitive but idyllic and making the most of it, is of course, close to the ethical travel life we espouse on this site, and which the success of Lost suggests must be a great hidden theme in our technologically driven advertising- saturated lives. “Lost on paradise isle and never wanting to be rescued” shouts the London Daily Express in one article about the series.