Sustainability for a greener future by Ships & Champagne
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With the likes of David Attenborough's Our Planet and the Extinction Rebellion that overtook many capital cities in May, it is obvious that people's attitudes to the planets' general health and wellbeing are changing.
People, governments, and countries are doubling efforts to encourage a more sustainable environment; and Barbados is at the forefront of the movement.
This April the country enforced a ban on single-use plastics, meaning that there will be no more importation, retail, sale and use of petrol-based, single-use plastic on the island. Barbados attracts 623,293 visitors every year, which inevitably incurs environmental challenges.
"Banning single-use plastics goes some way to ensuring the protection of our pristine beaches and crystal clear waters that we are famous for. As a destination however, we realise that our sustainability efforts cannot stop there and we are proud to say we are embracing many conservation projects and methods across the island, from driving electric cars to biodynamic farming, we are excited for a more sustainable future"
- Cheryl Carter, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc
Barbados is already hailed as one of the world's top users of electric cars. As the island receives over 3,000 hours of sunshine a year, the destination saw fit to harness the sun's energy in 2013 and has been doing so ever since. The island now boasts over 350 solar powered cars, dramatically reducing the islands' emissions.
2019 also marks the Year of Wellness and Soft Adventure; a theme that ultimately embraces the idea of its locals and visitors exploring the islands' natural offerings and truly immersing themselves in the healing powers of Barbados' paradise vibe. Many view the Caribbean islands as solely sun, sand, and sea destinations but Barbados' offering is so much richer. With a wealth of activities to choose from, including hiking, horse riding and running, to road tennis, island safari and car racing.
The island offers a diverse landscape; from hidden caves, to lush forests, and rolling sugar cane fields; to winding valleys, rugged coastlines, glittering beaches, and peaceful bays. There is a vast amount to explore be it on foot, bicycle or on all fours (in the case of Harrison's Cave).
Visitors to the environmentally conscious island can enjoy a number of eco-focused attractions and accommodations such as:
Welchman Gully: contributes to the islands' cultural and natural history, by providing an ecological research space for conservationists. The gully itself is home to many monkeys, birds, butterflies and majestic rainforest trees as well as delicate native plants.
PEG Farm: encourages visitors to embrace their surroundings and the concept of sustainable living. The biodynamic farm brings new agricultural and holistic lifestyle practices to the island through permaculture and free range animal husbandry. The farm also boasts wonderful medicinal gardens onsite that nurture a large variety of plants sourced from across the island. The sole focus of biodynamics is to restore the Earth's capacity to heal and regenerate, which are achieved through the farms sustainability initiatives.
As Barbados has become more environmentally conscious so have many of the resorts, leading to establishments such as the Eco Lifestyle Lodge and Naniki offering guests retreats and holidays with an eco-conscious focus. Many of the menus feature delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes, with activities centering on the guests' health and wellbeing, such as sunrise yoga and sunset hikes. Forest bathing is also very popular in the 53-acre rainforest at Coco Hill Forest.
The Barbados Sea Turtle project is another initiative close to the island's heart. The project has been involved in the conservation of the endangered marine turtle species for more than 25 years. Its long term vision is to restore the local marine turtle population through research, education and public outreach. Barbados is currently home to the second-largest hawksbill turtle nesting population in the Caribbean, with up to 500 nesting females per year.
Carlisle Bay in the south west of Barbados has recently become a designated marine-protected area, popular with divers, swimmers and snorkelers. Preserving Barbados' coastline, the marine environment, the health of its reefs and habitats of the marine plants and animals is a continuous focus. It will ensure sustainable use and development of the fisheries, marine assets, resources, minerals and species for sustainable recreation and the livelihoods of those that make a living from the sea.