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Vision Council calls to dreamers and doers from near and far November 1, 2015

Posted by Tracy in : Adventure, Eco-Nomads, ecotourism, Ecovillages, Latin America, Mexico, Nature tourism, Permaculture, Sustainability , add a comment

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By Tracy L. Barnett
For El Daily Post

The Call of the Sage, which will culminate on the week of Nov. 21-28 in the intentional community of Teopantli Kalpulli south of Guadalajara, is the newest manifestation of the 25-year-old Vision Council-Guardians of the Earth. This loose-knit network of visionaries, artists and activists have traveled the globe for decades, with their workshops and performances planting seeds for a culture of peace, one that draws on movements from permaculture to bioregionalism to the Rainbow Gathering and the human potential movement.

The Call of the Sage began as a whisper in the winds of a tiny village on the edge of the Primavera Forest. For two years it has gathered force and volume, and now the call is being heard in lands as far away as New Zealand, Germany, Australia and Slovakia. It has different sounds at different moments and for different people; it’s the early morning trumpet of the caracol, calling us to yoga, to the temazcal, to breakfast. It’s the strumming of the Celtic harp in the women’s teepee, it’s the insistent beat of the Navajo water drum from the temazcal, and the rattle of the Aztec concheras as they gather around the fire for their offering of danza.
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Común Tierra: A journey through sustainable communities of the Americas July 27, 2014

Posted by Tracy in : Adventure, Consumer travel, Eco-Nomads, ecotourism, Ecovillages, Latin America, Nature tourism, Permaculture , add a comment

Minhoca Ecuador
(All photos courtesy of Común Tierra)

Editor’s note: In November of 2010, as I was winding down my journey through the Americas, documenting sustainability initiatives in the 10 countries I visited, my path crossed with that of Ryan Luckey and Leticia Rigatti, the couple who make up Común Tierra. They were doing exactly what I had wanted to do but ran out of time, funds and energy. They have spent the past four years creating a body of work that is unparalleled in this area, planting seeds of sustainability as they go with their workshops and seed bank and presentations. Their journey carried them throughout the Americas aboard the Minhoca, a motor home outfitted with a wide range of “ecotecnias” or ecological technologies that help the travelers live in a way that’s consistent with their values, while making their home a rolling demonstration project for sustainability.
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The Rolling Cameras of Guadalajara January 29, 2014

Posted by Tracy in : Adventure, Biking, ecotourism, Guadalajara, Mexico, Nature tourism, Sustainability , add a comment

Camara Rodante
Last week I had the chance to visit with Carlos Ibarra, news photographer for El Mural and one of the founders of Camara Rodante (literally, “rolling camera”.)

Carlos with his collection of miniature bicycles and a photo of his father, an avid bicyclist.

This intrepid group of biking photographers is dedicated to promoting biking in a variety of ways. Besides their weekly outings, which traverse a variety of rural terrains around Guadalajara and further afield, they’ve organized get-out-the-vote campaigns, children’s outings, first aid workshops, bicycle repair workshops, and a fundraiser for Haiti – all aboard the seat of a bicycle.
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Coasting along the Costalegre: Cuixmala, the Soul’s Resting Place December 26, 2013

Posted by Tracy in : ecotourism, Healing retreats, Latin America, Mexico, Nature tourism, Sustainability, Uncategorized , add a comment

La Loma

Part 4 of a series

This fairyland of Moorish-style villas scattered about on a 25,000-acre nature preserve was once the private hideaway of British multimillionaire-turned-conservationist Sir James Goldsmith. The late Goldsmith’s family decided to open the estate to guests and the low-profile, exclusive resort has been visited by the likes of Madonna and Tom Cruise.

I’d received an invitation to visit this off-the-map retreat center, or I’d never have known about it. Had we seen nothing else on our journey along the Costalegre, our escape to Cuixmala would have been well worth the trip.
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Coasting along the Costalegre: Manzanilla and Tenacatita December 20, 2013

Posted by Tracy in : Adventure, ecotourism, Mexico, Nature tourism , add a comment

laguna

Part 3 of a series

We awoke early this morning and went to the wildlife refuge at the backside of Barra de Navidad, a place seldom frequented by tourists but a hotspot for migratory waterfowl. A beautiful place to watch the sunrise and the sometimes extraordinary birds that appear there; once I saw several very large waterfowl that I didn’t recognize, over a meter in height. Today there were a pair of graceful blue herons fishing for breakfast; we observed them quietly before hitting the road north.

Today was the day we’d arrive in Cuixmala, the mysterious coastal refuge that was the high point of our trip. But first, we had a bit more coast to explore.

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Coasting along the Costalegre: Barra/Melaque December 17, 2013

Posted by Tracy in : Adventure, ecotourism, Mexico, Nature tourism , add a comment
Sunset from the deck of Lydia's on Isla de Navidad

Sunset from the deck of Lydia's on Isla de Navidad

Part 1 of a series

CUIXMALA, Costalegre, Mexico – A precious undeveloped remnant of coastline along the Pacific Ocean revealed a few of her secrets to me over a few days this autumn, secrets I will never forget.

The sight of a protective mother brown booby protecting her downy white baby from raiding iguanas on an island off the coast; a sea turtle laying her glistening round eggs on the beach by the light of the moon; the soft feel of a baby in my hand as I place it on the sand and watch it make its way toward the waves; the crashing sound of a crocodile in the darkness of the mangrove, and the lurking form of another alongside our small boat; the forms of two white sharks far below me as I peer out from an airplane soaring over the coastline.
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Three perfect days for Dad on the Riviera Maya December 27, 2011

Posted by Tracy in : Adventure, ecotourism, Mexico, Nature tourism, Sustainability , 6comments

IMG_5277PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Quintana Roo – A light breeze moves in the jungle beyond our patio at the Grand Velas resort; birds call to each other with liquid notes, and my mother reads her Bible beside me as my father sleeps.
We’re winding to the close of our action-packed itinerary – maybe too action-packed, I reflect, but as Dad would say, “We had ‘er to do.”

Unforgettable moments flip through the slideshow of my memory: my father’s boyish grin lighting up in spite of himself as he stood, lifejacket up around his ears, the dolphin leaning in and kissing his cheek. Shaking his head in disbelief as our two waiters explained the special six-course meal that the famous French chef at Piaf, Michele Mustiere, had prepared for him, taking into account all of the complicated restrictions of his diet. Seeing him lying back on a canopied lounge on the beach, soaking up the sun and the attentions of an efficient and watchful staff.

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My factory-worker dad, father of nine and grandfather of a houseful of rambunctious little ones, had never come close to such luxury. He hadn’t even known that it existed. A shadetree mechanic and consummate fixer of broken things, I found him examining the cooling system in our suite and chatting up the shuttle drivers and motorcycle salesmen we would meet along the way.
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Tourists and Turtles May 10, 2011

Posted by Tracy in : Adventure, ecotourism, voluntourism , 2comments

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Story and photos by Melissa Gaskill

This blog frequently covers travel that makes a difference – trips that incorporate volunteering, are culturally sensitive, support local businesses, and respect the human and natural environment – or all of the above. I wrote a guest post about such a trip about a year ago, Turtle Rescue on the Eco Side of Baja. More and more places, particularly in developing countries, see this kind of tourism as a sustainable way to protect sea turtles. At the 31st Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation, held in San Diego April 12-16, several presentations reported on programs that have seen success, so I thought I’d share them here.

SEE Turtles, a US based non-profit, promotes travel that supports conservation, organizing its own trips to Baja California, Costa Rica and Trinidad.

“We know tourism can be bad for people and animals, especially when done in an unplanned and uncontrolled way,” director Brad Nahill told symposium attendees. “Or it can have positive impacts, including direct financing of conservation and research, reduced dependency on direct use of resources (such as eating sea turtle eggs), increased monitoring, and an increased local constituency. We use local businesses, share commissions, and do additional fundraising, education, volunteer recruiting, and advocacy.”
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El Hatico cattle ranch: The problem is the solution October 30, 2010

Posted by Tracy in : Colombia, ecotourism, Latin America, Nature tourism , add a comment

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VALLE DE CAUCA, Colombia – When Alicia Calle, an environmental scientist with Yale’s Environmental Leadership and Training Initiative, first told me of El Hatico Nature Reserve, her face lit up for the first time since I’d met her an hour ago. We’d been talking about the state of the environment in Colombia, a subject with much to lament, given the spread of mining operations, cattle ranching, vast monocultures of sugarcane and African palm and coca, deforestation, water contamination, the same story throughout the Americas.

What is it that gives you hope, I asked her, as I do in every interview. It was then that she pulled out a booklet and started showing me photos of El Hatico.

“Let me be clear: I don’t like cattle farming; I think it’s created terrible environmental problems and social inequalities throughout its development in Latin America. But this is a place I’d really like you to see, a place that’s turned a major problem into a part of the solution.”
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Peruvian penguins and a touch of luxury August 8, 2010

Posted by Tracy in : ecotourism, Peru , 2comments

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PARACAS, Peru – The pungent scent of the sea washes over the landscape like the rhythmic waves, and I contemplate the pleasure of lingering here in the peaceful beauty of the Paracas Hotel and enjoying a sumptuous breakfast buffet. But I’m scheduled for the first boat to the Ballestas Isles, and the penguins await.
I gather sweater and sunglasses and hat and head for the pier, where 22 people are buckling up with lifejackets and taking their seat aboard our skiff.

As if to see us off, a line of four Peruvian pelicans sails by just over the sparkling surface of the water in search of prey.
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