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Outdoor Economy

Conventional Economics and Nature: Related or a Form of Brain Damage?

David Suzuki is a scientist, author, and lecturer that has become one of the most recognizable voices for conservation. He makes the argument in this video that conventional economics is a form of brain damage He goes on to argue that economist are fundamentally disconnected with the real world. Whether you agree or disagree, it is worth understanding his point of view.

Natural Science: Herbs and Spices Anticancer Potential

 

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 On the Scientific Discovery resource page, you can find some of the top websites with some fascinating scientific breakthroughs using the nature method.

The International Journal of Science and Nature has found that Herbs and Spices have anticancer potential.

The study of plants and herbs to find treatments for various illnesses and ailments has been a common practice of many cultures for generations. When European settlers in the New World would fall ill, they often would seek out Native American medicine man with his satchel of herbs to find a quick cure.  The Chinese have been doing this for years.

Although much of the herbal knowledge of ancient civilizations has been lost, many of the medicinal qualities of plants are now being proven by modern science.

As our bodies age and are increasingly exposed to carcinogens from the environment that attack our immune systems, our bodies become more susceptible to cancer cells.

The biotech industry has been conducting a great deal of research to find medicines with cancer fighting properties.

Research has shown that a diet rich in antioxidants can help to remove damaging agents known as  “free radicals” from the bloodstream and reduce the risk of cancer.

In a study from 2004-2012 published in the Journal of the Society of Science and Nature, several herbs and spices were tested for anticancer potential including: Leeks, Lemon, Lemongrass, canopy, pepper, indian borage, ginger, and onions,

The conclusion found that the samples ginger, oregano, and tabon tabon showed a high value of phytochemicals and antioxidants and high anticancer potential.

There is so much that we could learn from the study of plants.

 What other treatments are waiting to be discovered out in nature?

 

 

Can Natural Resources Combat Poverty in Rural Areas?

The Fatu Hiva RainforestWhat will be the results of this unprecedented, recent decision by the the United Nations?

It is hard to care that much about the environment when you are hungry and struggling to survive.

Poverty continues to plague many parts of the world.

Indigenous populations face many challenges such as lack of food, clean water, education and opportunity.

They look for what ever means necessary to add to their circumstances and help feed themselves.

There may be solutions within the beautiful landscapes and among the flora and fauna that don’t include burning or poaching.

Efforts that are made to understand the natural and cultural stories and share them with the world could attract a growing demographic of travelers.

Many local populations do not realize the value of the stories that they have learned growing up in their area.  The time they have spent observing the wildlife and listening to the stories of their ancestors may hold more benefit than they are aware of.

Few people in rural communities that are surrounded by natural areas understand that their adventures off into the wilderness may have given them specialized knowledge that can be turned into revenue for themselves and their families.

Trends show that a growing number of travelers are more interested in learning about the history and culture of the places they visit and interacting with the local populations.

Places that have unique flora and fauna are of particular interest to certain travelers and nature enthusiasts.

Policy makers are beginning to realize the power of tourism to bring much needed economic development to impoverished areas.

In December 21, 2012, The United Nations General Assembly recently adopted a landmark resolution entitled “Promotion of ecotourism for poverty eradication and environment protection”, “positive impact on income generation, job creation and education, and thus on the fight against poverty and hunger”. It further recognizes that “ecotourism creates significant opportunities for the conservation, protection and sustainable use of biodiversity and of natural areas by encouraging local and indigenous communities in host countries and tourists alike to preserve and respect the natural and cultural heritage”.

There is genuine concern when developing a tourism industry that it may have negative implications.

Sometimes tourism can be destructive and developments can block access for local populations from enjoying their own land as well as threaten their culture, environment and heritage sites.

Several municipalities have created regulations that prevent the destruction of natural areas and promote an atmosphere that will attract conscientious visitors that are drawn to the flora and fauna rather than the high-rises and night clubs.

Studies have shown that these travelers tend to spend more money, stay longer, and have more positive impact on the places they visit.  More of their money tends to find it’s way into the local economy.

It takes time and investment to develop sustainable tourism. Building capacity needs to be done systematically with a well thought out plan and process.

Policy makers and stakeholders need to be sensitive when dealing with local populations that have a history of being marginalized.

The UN resolution draws on information in a report by The World Tourism Organization, UNWTO, which encourages a number of initiatives that include creating cooperation among stake holders and creating financial mechanisms such as microcredit for the poor and in local and indigenous communities, in rural areas that have ecotourism potential.

Examples of potential of constructive and destructive tourism development can be found all over the world and used as a reference when moving forward.

What has been your experience?


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How to Tap into the Genius of Nature and Science to Create a Sustainable Future

This was one of the most inspirational TED talks that I have watched on nature and innovation.

Michael Pawlyn starts off by pointing out that a spider can make a material stronger than Kevlar using dead flies and water at ambient temperature and a wood beetle can detect fire 10 times farther away than any device designed by man without having to be attached to any power grid burning fossil fuels.

The talk goes on to show some amazing architectural design used for the Eden Project in England that was inspired by pollen grains. When finished, the structure was lighter than the air inside of it.

A visit to the Eden project is on my bucket list.

The main points of his talk are that we can approach the journey to a more sustainable future by learning from the genius of nature that exists all around us.

We can dramatically improve our use of resources by examining ancient systems that nature has developed over eons. Nature reuses and recycles every resource with incredibly efficient use of energy.

He goes on to illustrate some examples of groups that are mimicking nature’s methods to create closed loop systems from caviar, to worms, to horse manure, to sturgeons, and back to caviar.

He touches on reversing desertification by taking notes from the Nambian fog-basking beetle. There is also a segment that shows how to use sea water for irrigation and the leftover minerals as building materials.

There is a great point made that shows the sun gives us 10,000 times more energy than is used by all forms, so our energy solutions are just a challenge of engineering .

There were no pauses, “Ums”, “hems” or “haws” in his entire talk, and unlike many talks about sustainability which tend to be all gloom and doom, this was uplifting, positive and inspiring.

I first watched it a couple of years ago. Now the number of views has several more commas.

Michael Pawlyn Genius Design


How Learning About The Natural Environment Can Boost Tourism

Tour Hydrangeasoperators that have learned to provide quality outdoor education opportunities are creating a win-win-win situation.

They are providing a positive learning environment for their guests and are attracting families.

They are creating family bonding experiences where both adults and children are having fun learning together and spending time being active outdoors.

They are creating more satisfied customers who will help to spread the news about the operation and the influence that it has had on them.

They are increasing their occupancy and creating a competitive advantage over other similar operations.

They are creating more responsible citizens that will have a ripple effect on the long-term outcomes of the area.

They can attract school, church and other student groups who enjoy the who are looking for the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while they learn about the environment.

Creating the right programs that will attract these families takes some research and talented staff.

Successful strategies for developing environmental education program can be learned by others who have spent years developing and refining their programs and are now reaping the benefits.

There are several keys to developing an environmental education program for your guests:

Do Your Research

Get a good understanding of the most successful programs that others in your field have offered to get an idea of what people are looking for and responding to.

Take inventory of your environment and assets

Think about what you can realisticly offer your guests. Sometimes it is just about adding an education component to what you already have.

Analyze from your client’s perspective

Consider the logistics of how your guests will participate taking into account transportation, space and sitting room.

Think about what you will need to purchase in order to run the program.

It may be a good idea to consider building a dedicated interpretive center and central place for promoting and booking.

Hire the right people

Your staff will be critical to the success of your program. Make sure you do a thorough vetting process to make sure your staff  has both the knowledge and personal skills to educate and entertain while being patient and professional. Personal skills and professionalism are most important.

Knowledge can be gained through training. The right staff will increase their knowledge for themselves overtime.

Leave a comment with your questions if you are interested in providing environmental education opportunities for your guests.

If you already run or are involved in successful environmental education, please add your expertise so as to help others who are creating their own.

If you are interested in providing environmental education programs for your guests. Please leave a comment or contact me.

 


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