In the past few months, Hong Kong’s pollution has dropped considerably, Venice’s canals are clearer than ever due to less waterway traffic, and around the world, the recent working from home policies have significantly reduced carbon emissions. At a time when coronavirus has so negatively impacted our world, we at Hawkins International are choosing to see the silver lining found in these positive environmental changes.
In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we celebrate the leading hotels, hospitality brands, and destinations across the globe that are bettering their communities and ecosystems through sustainable initiatives. While we can only travel with our imagination (for the time being), we look forward to the day when we can experience sustainable and conservation programming for ourselves!
Built to Last
Off the coast of Ecuador in the Galapagos Islands, eco luxurious Pikaia Lodge is completely carbon neutral and built from recycled materials such as bathroom tiles made from lava stone collected from local sites approved by the National Park Service, and furniture, doors, and décor fashioned from teak and bamboo that was agro-cultivated on the mainland.
The newly opened Eclipse at Half Moon in Montego Bay on the north coast of Jamaica supported the restoration of its 400 acres during the building process by planting more than 70 trees, including fig trees, sea grapes, palms and more. The property also restored a stretch of sand that had been damaged in the early 2000s to bring back natural ocean currents.
EDSA, a Ft. Lauderdale, Florida-based, internationally renowned planning, landscape architecture and urban design firm has created a Performance-Based Design Approach that recognizes the interdependence of human activities, natural systems, and environmentally healthy outcomes for all projects. The company incorporated the “Approach” into the renovation of 1 Hotel South Beach, which used organic materials, natural elements, indigenous flora, and contemporary textures for a naturalistic scheme that effectively blends indoor and outdoor spaces.
A small collection of luxury camps in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, The Bushcamp Company is located in one of the last unspoiled regions of Africa. In recent years, the company has made their operation as ‘green’ as possible, introducing solar technology throughout all the six Bushcamps and also where possible at the award-winning, Mfuwe Lodge. Each chalet and tent has its own solar water heating system and uses solar panels for power, lighting, charging, fridge-freezers and to pump water. Additionally, for all recent renovations, the company uses sustainably sourced timber and cement (rather than wood-fired) bricks.
Sustenance that Sustains
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is the first luxury hotel brand to develop onsite bee programming through its Bee Sustainable initiative. Fairmont’s first apiaries were built in 2008 at Fairmont Royal York (Toronto) and Fairmont Waterfront (Vancouver), providing pollination services to nearby gardens and parks, and chefs with delicious sustainable honey for onsite bars and restaurants.
PalmaÏa – The House of AÏA in Playa del Carmen is taking a plant-based approach to sustainability by offering guests vegan suites, parallel plant-based menus, and one-of-a-kind immersive jungle and beach experiences through its Architects of Life and Rituals of Sound programs.
Grande Lakes Orlando, home to The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grand Lakes and JW Marriott Orlando, Grand Lakes, is among the first resorts in Florida to partner with Harvest Power’s Central Florida Energy Garden, which converts organic waste into renewable biogases and natural fertilizers, with over 1,000 tons of food waste and water recycled and not a single load contaminated to date. Organic compost, recycled water, and natural fertilizer produced from the waste is then used at Grande Lakes Orlando’s Whisper Creek Farm, a 7,000-square-foot fruit and vegetable garden that grows fresh produce for on-property restaurants.
To Protect & Conserve
Big Five Tours & Expeditions recently launched a new initiative in support of the African Wildlife Foundation’s Classroom Africa program, which will see the Spirit of Big Five Foundation supporting AWF’s new education initiative near Kidepo Valley National Park in remote Northeastern Uganda, home to rare and endangered species including elephant, leopard and rhino, plus another 75 species mammals and 470 species of birds.
Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa understands the importance of keeping lionfish in check to limit destruction to local reefs and vegetation, supporting local culling efforts by serving lionfish on the menus at Beach House, Ferdinand’s and Tortuga Beach Grill and Bar.
Montage Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, South Carolina, is dedicated to increasing understanding of the natural and cultural environment of Lowcountry, with a Conservancy team inviting guest participation in research initiatives including monitoring bald eagle nests. The Palmetto Bluff Conservancy offers over 300 programs throughout the year including weekly tours, workshops & field trips.
Wilderness Safaris owns and operates over 40 camps in six countries throughout Africa and since the company’s founding over 35 years ago, Wilderness Safaris has remained dedicated to pioneering authentic and sustainable ecotourism in the countries which Wilderness Safaris operates (Rwanda, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Kenya) whilst empowering local communities and at the same time playing a meaningful role in the biodiversity protection of its pristine wilderness areas. In Botswana, Wilderness Safaris owns, manages and runs 26 world-renowned safari camps in the Okavango Delta, Linyanti and Central Kalahari Game Reserve, making a sustainable difference to the ongoing biodiversity protection of these remarkable wildlife regions.
Wilderness Safaris Botswana directly supports the following communities through high-end ecotourism:
- Okavango Community Trust (OCT): Seronga, Gunotsoga, Eretsha, Beetsha and Gudigwa; Sankoyo; Habu, Tubu, Chobe enclave villages (Chobe Dry and Fresh Fish Association);
- Wilderness indirectly supports another three communities: Mabele Village, Sexaxa Ward (Maun), Shashe Ward (Maun)
- Wilderness Safaris also runs six Adult Empowerment Clubs in the villages of Habu, Shashe, Sankoyo, Kareng, Beetsha and Gunotsoga. The members are involved in various income-generating projects, including beekeeping, beadwork and weaving, knitting and wood carving, etc.