Entries in travel (277)

Friday
Oct212011

AFRICA FOCUS: MADAGASCAR

Located hundreds of kilometres from the coast of Africa and separated from the continent by 165 million years of evolution, Madagascar is unique in its culture and biodiversity.

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Thursday
Oct202011

FRONTIER FOCUS: AFRICAN CUISINE

Continuing our African theme, today Frontier will be looking at African food. As the majority of African ingredients are grown in subsistence farms close to home, African recipes are not only easy to create, but incredibly healthy: over 90% of African food is organic. Check out some of our favourite taste-tingling recipes.

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Monday
Oct172011

AFRICA FOCUS: KENYA

In a week focusing on Africa, today we take you on a whistle-stop tour of beautiful Kenya and all it has to offer the curious traveller.

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Wednesday
Oct122011

National Park Profile: Crater Lake National Park

In the latest instalment of our National Park Profile feature, today we speak to William Brock from Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, U.S.A.

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Thursday
Oct062011

South America: Top 3’s

Three is the magic number today on the Frontier blog. In a week dedicated to the fascinating continent of South America, today we look at some of the most important aspects to consider whilst travelling in this wonderful place.

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Tuesday
Oct042011

Job Jealousy: Mauricio Ugarte-Lewis - Field Biologist in Peru

As a new feature on the Frontier blog, we will be speaking to people around the world working in areas that might induce a little employment envy. So if you’re stuck in an office, or ready for a change, these profiles could be just the inspiration you need to pursue that perfect job you’ve always dreamt of. Today we speak to Mauricio Ugarte-Lewis, a field biologist specializing in ornithology in Peru.

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Monday
Oct032011

Frontier Focus: South America - Peru

Inspired by Jonathan Dimbleby’s recently televised journey throughout this incredible continent, this week Frontier gives you the low down on some of our best-loved South American countries. Today it is the turn of Peru.

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Tuesday
Sep272011

Wildlife Photography – Day 2

Continuing this week’s wonderful theme of wildlife photography, today we profile the work of another Frontier favourite: Roger Hooper.

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Monday
Sep262011

A Week of Wildlife Photography

This week’s blog theme is wildlife photography. For many, including several of us here at Frontier HQ, becoming a wildlife photographer would be a dream job. Anything that incorporates travel and wildlife is right up our street. So we thought we’d dedicate a week to this beautiful and inspirational art-form.

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Friday
Sep232011

Interview with Survival International – Fighting for the Rights of Tribal Peoples

As you may know, this week the Frontier blog is all about indigenous tribes around the world.Today’s final chapter is extra special; we have been lucky enough to speak to our friends at Survival International. Editorial Consultant, Joanna Eede, told us about the organisation and the important work they do to defend the rights of tribal peoples all over the planet.

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Monday
Sep192011

Indigenous Tribes

This week, Frontier will be looking at the fascinating issue of tribal groups. With approximately 150 million tribal individuals around the world, this is a hugely important and often contentious subject that both deserves and requires careful consideration.

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Thursday
Sep152011

Back to School with Frontier: Lesson Four

In the penultimate lesson of our ‘Back to School’ week, we will be looking at languages, specifically Spanish. So if you’re off on a project with us to Latin America, have a read below - You might just learn something useful.

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Tuesday
Sep132011

Back to school with Frontier: Lesson Two

Yesterday, Frontier explored the cenotes of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. Today we are heading south to Guatemala to explore the infamous Mayan ruins of Tikal in our second lesson of the week: History

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Thursday
Sep082011

Volunteer interview – Daniel Nutting – China Panda Breeding Centre

Today we speak to another future Frontier volunteer, Daniel Nutting, to find out what he’s all about and exactly what he’s looking forward to on his upcoming trip to China.

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Thursday
Sep012011

Yasuní and the True Value of the Environment

Attaching a financial value to the environment has long been talked of as a potential solution to our destructive exploitation of the Earth’s natural resources. The outcome of the Yasuní situation will be an excellent indicator as to the ability of this economic approach to make a significant difference to conservation.

Image @Geoff Gallice

Many will claim that it is impossible to attach a monetary value to the natural world. But the Ecuadorian government has done just that. When an enormous oil field worth approximately $7-10bn was discovered beneath the Yasuní National Park, an area considered by many scientists to be the most bio-diverse region on the planet, the country faced a dilemma; cash in on the oil reserve and let an area of unparalleled environmental significance be destroyed, or resist the cash incentives offered by the oil companies and conserve the area.

Ecuador is a country facing poverty on a large scale, with approximately 33% of the population below the national poverty line; an issue that could potentially be addressed with the correct usage of profits from the Yasuní oil extraction. With this issue to consider, at no point has this been a simple choice between money and morals for the government to make. However, the tough decision was made, with neither of these options being taken. Former oil minister Alberto Acosta, a European-trained economist heavily involved in government policy at the time, was placed in charge of the future of Yasuní. His well-documented decision was to challenge the rest of the world to donate half of the value of the oil ($3.6bn) over 13 years, or they would give the go-ahead for oil companies to begin extraction. Acosta said: "We will leave the oil in the ground and save the forest and the people if you, the world, make a financial contribution.”

This remarkable ultimatum has been backed by 78% of Ecuador’s population, an amazing percentage considering the fact that a significant number of them are suffering the effects of poverty. As well as the support of the public, the plan has been declared a ‘safe environmental investment’ by the UN, which has also agreed to administer the Ishpingo Tambococha Tiputini (ITT) Fund, established in August 2010. The plan is intended to avoid what has been dubbed the “oil curse”, a phenomenon that has seen oil rich, developing countries remain poor after having proceeded with the extraction of their oil reserves. The global community has until December 2011 to come up with $100m as a downpayment on the deal. On 14 August, The Observer claimed that $40m had been raised so far, with Chile, Peru, Spain, and Italy having made significant contributions.

The financial valuation of the environment is clearly a difficult thing to do. A recent attempt in the UK by The National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA) aimed to put a price on Britain’s natural environment. Professor Ian Bateman, of the University of East Anglia, and one of the study's lead authors, said: "Why would we want to put economic values on environmental goods and services? It's very simple – it's to ensure their incorporation on equal footing with the market-priced goods which currently dominate decision-making." Clearly this is very different from the situation in Ecuador. But the principle is similar; Oil has a clearly defined value on the world market, whereas a value has never been attached to the land ruined by the extraction of this valuable commodity. Therefore, like in the case of the British countryside, this land has never been on equal footing with the market-priced oil, and has therefore never stood a chance of competing with it.

The situation in Ecuador has forced the government to put a price tag on this land. It is interesting that the price they chose is half that of the oil beneath it: a good illustration of what we consider most important and valuable. However, this price need not necessarily be an accurate valuation of the land (how do you value unique and pristine rainforest with more species per hectare than in any other place?) Rather, the important thing is that the Ecuadorian government receives adequate compensation, and more important still, that the area is protected.

You can donate and follow the latest news regarding the Yasuní situation online.

By Alex Prior