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Entries in Eco-tourism (8)


Photo of the Day ~ Root Caverns ~ Balifornian Tours and Travel Blog


This increadible huge tree with its unique root system was seen on our Balifornian eco-tourism adventure tour of Indonesia.  It was photographed while we were on the island of Java outside of Jakarta.  The caverns created by its massive roots created mini-eco-systems. 


Copyright © 2010 Mikaku ~ Michael Doliveck

Are you a photographer or just like to take pictures?  Contact us to find out about our special tours for photographers.  Take a look at the images in the gallery as they are good examples of the types of images you will be able to create on our tours.  The tours are led by Michael, a professor of art and photography as well as some very special guest teachers and pro photographers.  Contact us at today for more information.

Have great images from your Indonesian travels you would like to share? Want to submit your photo for the Balifornian Tour and Travel Blog Photo of the Day?  Please send your JPEG, location and description to  Files must be under 500 kb.

Happy travels!

Michael and Maryam


Staying safe in Bali ~ Asbestos

Balifornian Tours and Travel Blog is an eco-tourist business and as such we go out of our way to make sure you and your family is not only safe but travel in an eco-friendly manner.  The hotels, meals and activites are choosen specifically for thier safety and eco-friendly reputation.  Please ask us how we can make your vacation the very best it can be.

Here is an article from a guest blogger, Matt Phillips

We thank Matt for his informative and important blog post.


Asbestos in Bali and Indonesia


Most people are at least marginally aware of the dangers of asbestos, a naturally-occurring mineral often used in insulation and fireproofing materials.  Though the substance was banned in the United States in 1977 and in many other countries soon after, some less industrialized nations may still be using it in common construction materials.  Asbestos is naturally heat resistant, strong, and durable, and thus is used in areas where extreme temperatures are present – such as pipes, ducts, or boilers – as well as in insulation and roofing materials.

Asbestos is so dangerous because its fibers may become lodged in the lining of the lungs, causing a number of health problems including mesothelioma.  Symptoms of mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung, may take between 20 and 50 years to manifest, and are often confused with other, more common lung conditions.  Because of this, the cancer is rarely diagnosed until its later stages, making it especially deadly.

Sadly, asbestos use has not been outlawed through much of Asia, and Indonesia still imports the raw mineral from Canada, Brazil, and Russia.  While groups like the Indonesian Ban Asbestos Network, or Ina-Ban, are hard at work trying to bar the use of asbestos in construction and other materials, the cheapness and effectiveness of the mineral mean that it is still being used.

While a casual traveler may never encounter asbestos at all in Bali, it pays to be aware of the possible danger.  Fortunately, asbestos is generally harmless when intact, but when the material containing it is cut, broken, or damaged, the asbestos fibers can become airborne, and this is when they become dangerous.  Travelers should steer clear of any construction sites, as these asbestos-containing materials may be sawed, sanded, or otherwise manipulated in a way that will release the fibers.

Call ahead to ask if your hotel or hostel is undergoing any renovation.  If this is the case, you may want to choose another place to stay.  If possible, stay in newer, recently constructed buildings.  If your room appears to have any damaged or fraying insulation materials, ask to be moved.  Though short periods of exposure to low levels of asbestos generally do not have long-term consequences, you can never be too careful when it comes to your health.  Mesothelioma symptoms are tragic and painful, but nearly always linked to asbestos exposure, and as such are largely avoidable.


Tips for responsible Eco-tourism Travel 

10 Tips to Responsible Travel

 by Kathy Gerhardt 

When simple actions – such as recycling, conserving water, and turning off the lights when you leave a room – help in making a difference for our environment, there is no reason one’s eco-friendly ways need to “take a vacation” when an individual or family goes on vacation.

As more Americans seek to incorporate environmentally-conscious practices into their travels the phrase ‘Take only pictures. Leave only footprints,’ certainly applies to eco-tourism and environmentally aware travel.  The following are a few tips from fellow travelers and travel agents that will help you incorporate eco-tourism into your future trip.

5 Eco-Tourism Tips:

  1. “Pack bio-degradable toiletries. The ground water you may be contaminating is not your own.”  (L. Mobley, Florence, OR)
  2. “Reuse your water bottles while on vacation – wash them out and refill them.  Also, ask hotels not to change towels and sheets while you are there.  Let’s be honest, people do not use a new towel or change their sheets daily while at home.” (K. Beaudoin, Woonsocket, RI) 
  3. “Remove all excess packaging on items you are packing as disposing of waste is difficult in remote places and developing countries. Do not buy products made from endangered species, hard woods or ancient artifacts. Also, use water sparingly – it’s very precious in many countries and tourists tend to use far more than local people.” (D. Michael, High Point, NC) 
  4. “The easiest way to be sure that your hotel has ‘gone green’ is to check for LEED certification or Green Seal Certification. Participation in these programs is no longer limited to smaller boutique hotels. Some examples of hotel chains making the commitment to provide greener lodging include Starwood’s Element hotels, which have made a brand-wide commitment, and Marriott, which has promised to have 300 of their 3,300 properties LEED certified within five years. Your travel professional should be able to help you locate a ‘hotel with a conscience.’” (C. DiSaia, Woonsocket, RI) 
  5. “Understand that a ‘green’ travel experience may not be a less expensive trip.  Many ‘ecology aware’ experiences are also a bit of an adventure.  In fact, you may pay more to sleep in a pup tent in the snow in Antarctica and carry your waste out with you.  The eco lodge in Australia may not have pretty, individually packaged soaps and the towels and sheets may not be changed every day, but it offers incredible views.  The eco lodge in Tikal had running water two hours a day and I leapt out of the pool when a jaguar came up to drink from that same pool.  You are paying for a memorable and, at times, exclusive experience.  You are not paying for room service and high priced amenities, though on occasion you may find they have that and more.”  (M. West, Marysville, WA) 

A complement to the concept of eco-tourism is the growing acknowledgement of environmentally aware travel or responsible travel as it is better known.   Environmentally aware travel is about more authentic vacation experiences that enable you to get more out of your travels, and it gives more back to the destinations and local people you encounter. This can and often should go hand-in-hand with eco-tourism.

5 Tips for “Environmentally Aware Travel”:

  1. Ask your travel professional whether there are local conservation or social projects that you could visit on your trip, and if/how you could help support them.
  2. Hire a local guide – you’ll discover more about local culture and lives, and they will earn an income.
  3. To support the local economy, buy local products rather than imported goods; for example ask if there is a local cooperative that makes traditional gifts and mementos.
  4. Always avoid exploitation. A simple example is to ask permission when taking photographs of local people. Also, as travelers, we are perceived as rich.  Be generous in a constructive way by promoting the local economy.  Avoid and denounce exploitation of local people.
  5. Leave a good impression. A positive experience with locals will pave the way for those coming after you. 


Editor’s Note: Do you have a responsible travel tip?  Share it with your fellow travelers in the comment section below.


Kathy Gerhardt is a Sr. Public Relations Specialist at Travel Leaders, one of America’s top ten-ranked travel companies.

Topics: Responsible / Sustainable Travel, Travel Tips

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