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ecotouRING news, issue 8, December 1999 the monthly Bulletin of the Ecotourism Ring


  In this 1st Anniversary Issue 

1. One Year Ecotourism Ring

The 21st Century might not start until 1 January 2001 according to some, but one thing is definite:

the Ecotourism Ring is 1 year old !

With 44 Member sites from 20 countries we are already making a little noise in the jungle that is the Internet. Put "ecotourism" or "ecotourism ring" to a major search engine like Excite or Infoseek, and you will see the light: your ring is there, your site can be found. On top of that Ecotourism Ring is being advertised through the Microsoft Link Exchange Banner network, and recently, ecotourism.cc the Ring Homepage, where the Ring receives centre stage, has started a click-based affiliate program, so that the Ring can be promoted through non-ecotourism related sites that can not become members. Because one should never ignore the real market, the Ecotourism Ring will be also promoted in the new century, through our company's new Ecotourism Society Supporting Membership, an extensive listing in that prestigious organisation's 2000 Annual Directory and a mention in the Ecotourism Society's Newsletters. This is the Ecotourism Society's highest level of Membership, rather expensive, but it is worth it because it goes to support a worthwhile organisation. The Ecotourism Ring also received one to one promotion at the World Travel Market in London in November. We hope we convinced some and "alerted" others.

And remember, Ring Membership is and will be kept Free for all genuine Ecotourism sites. And a Free webpage awaits the Ring Members that wish one. On top of all these, we have many developments in store for the new year. Watch this space!

I only ask from our Members one thing. Please, send us your news and views on a regular basis. Be active Members. We will certainly learn something and you never know, you might learn something from the feedback.

The Motto of the Ecotourism Ring in the 21st Century is still "Unity is Strength". Because, in my humble view, Genuine Ecotourism Operators are not competing, they are co-operating against indifference, destruction, poverty, ignorance and exploitation. Ecotourism, I hope you will agree, is Tourism which BENEFITS the LOCAL ENVIRONMENT, SOCIETY and ECONOMY.

With these thoughts I would like to wish you all a Happy, Prosperous and, above all, Successfull new Year 2000!


ecotourism ringmaster.

2. Ecotourism Ring Overview:  

2. (a) Ring Statistics.

Three new members joined during the past month. We now number 44 sites from 20 countries. There has been an increase in  recorded traffic and this month our ranking floated between the 55th and 52nd position in the top 100 travel related Webrings.

2. (b) Debate: Ecotourism = Internationalist

The final results of the poll at the Ecotourism Ring Homepage stand as follows:

Votes: 33

Nationalistic: 2 - (6%) , Internationalist 26 (79%) , Neither: 5 (15%).

The new debate: Zoos: Are they For or Against Nature? 

3. Our new Members:    

Warmest welcome to:

AmazonAid.Org  - PERU
Promotes volunteerism and ecotourism to Peru's upper Amazon region. Comprehensive listing of trips, tours, volunteer programs provided free of charge to organizations. Information on ethnobotany, Peru's history and culture.

Ujamaa Travel  - TANZANIA
Ujamaa was created to introduce native guides with people interested in discovering and learning about East Africa through educational and cultural programs. Ujamaa guides range from nature adventurist to university lecturers. We also have a camp located on Lake Victoria.

The Farmhouse - INDIA
Himalayan eco lodge in remote tribal habitat, providing deluxe accomodation with home cooked meals, nature & culture hikes, contact with ethnic people, great sunrise snow views, river vallies and forests, bird and butterfly watching, and eco farming.

4. "World Travel Market '99" Report

The world was there. Indeed the earth was there too, as everyone was promoting rivers, mountains, lakes, seas, natural monuments. An environmental gloss, lots of brochures, lots of plastic trees, plastic waterfalls and smiles. Still, business is business. However, a few genuine eco-friendly operators and NGOs were there too. The three best that I met were:

Ecotourism And Adventure Specialists of Guatemala 

Thanks to Carla Molina's enthusiasm and vision, supported by an excellent team of scientists / specialists, Ecotourism &  Adventure Specialists have become the leading eco-operator in Guatemala, an emerging ecotourism region.  Do visit their excellent site at http://www.ecotourism-adventure.com

INBioParque of Costa Rica

A very worthwhile project by an NGO: in 20 acres close to the capital, you will find interactive exhibitions and interpreted trails in this biodiversity paradise organised by scientists. Ring Contact: the kind Ms. Rocio Lopez. For you Virtual Visit go to http://www.inbio.ac.cr/inbioparque

tourindia of Kerala, South India and Vythiri Rainforest Ecolodge

An already famous and award-winning project by the mercurial and pioneering Babu Varghese. A Nature Resort with Tree Houses  carefully and ingeniously designed by local craftsmen and materials. To see for yourself http://www.richsoft.com/tourindia

I do not need to mention that all three have been invited to join the Ring...but I will mention it.

And what about next year? I wonder if any fellow Ring Members wish to exhibit at the WTM 2000. Maybe we could organise something together. Let me have your ideas (and news, and views).   

5. Selection of news headlines from around the world  - (with our Comments in Brackets)

15/11/99 "CHINA UPDATING ANIMAL RIGHTS RULES - AP - Chinese wildlife parks would no longer feature shows in which domestic animals are eaten alive by tigers under regulations officials say were drafted to end the gruesome spectacles, animal rights groups reported Monday." (I wonder if the development will eat on the number of visitors)

16/11/99 MOZAMBIQUE SCRAPS GAME PARK PROJECT  AP - "Mozambique has cancelled plans for a huge game park and resort complex dreamed up by an American businessman who said he intended to raise $800 million for the project. The Cabinet withdrew without comment Tuesday its 1996 approval for the eco-tourism (?) project in the country's southern Matatuine district. James Blanchard III's grandiose scheme called for a five-star hotel, floating casinos and bush lodges with access to the tropical coast and interior".  (Blanchard III comes 3rd)   17/11/99 "PANDA FOR RENT ENN - A collaboration between China and the U.S., nicknamed "Rent-a-Panda", is providing U.S. zoos with rare giant pandas in exchange for a large fee, which funds scientific research. Scientists hope the studies will help rescue the species from extinction." (But it will not rescue them from zoos. "Imprison-a-Panda")    18/11/99  EVERGREENS TOUTED AS A PESTICIDE BUFFER - ENN - "Farmers should plant evergreen trees, such as pines and cedars, around their crops in order to reduce the spread of pesticide sprays beyond their fields, according to an Ohio State University study. This is the first such study that compares the efficiency with which different windbreak plants capture pesticide sprays. Evergreen trees catch two to four times more pesticides than broadleaf plants such as maple trees, which produce wide, flat leaves, according to the study". (In fact, if they re-plant up their whole fields, there won't be any problem whatsoever.)

19/11/99 "MEXICO SALTWORKS COULD HARM ENVIRONMENT, U.N. REPORTS - RTR - A U.N. report made public Thursday warned of the potential environmental impact from a saltworks that Mexico and Japan's Mitsubishi Corp. have proposed near Latin America's biggest wildlife sanctuary" (Apparently, in Mitsubishi's view the best salt is to be found next to wildlife sanctuaries.)

23/11/99 PARK  PETRIFIED - AP - "Piece by fossilised piece, the Arizona Petrified Forest National Park is shrinking. So many tourists want the natural mementoes that one study suggested as much as 12 tons of the petrified wood - enough to fill four full-size pickup truck beds - vanish each year. " (This happens when you turn Nature into a Theme Park. You get the wrong type of customer)

23/11/99 "FOREST EDGES CRITICAL TO EVOLUTION OF SPECIES - ENN - Natural selection in forest peripheries may play as equally an important role in species diversity as geographic isolation, according to research published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research builds on a study published in the journal Science two years ago that showed West African ecotones (forest peripheries) are hotbeds of evolution, functioning as engines of biodiversity in the region's tropical rain forests."

24/11/99 "SCIENTISTS TALLY 1 BILLION PAIRS IN HUMAN GENOME - RTR - Scientists said Tuesday they have determined the exact order of 1 billion of the basic chemical building blocks of life, putting them one-third of the way in the massive push to sequence the whole human genome." (Is that two-thirds too short or one-third too far?)

25/11/99 "CANADA BEAR KILLINGS RAISE ENVIRONMENTAL ALARM - RTR - Canadian environmentalists raised the alarm Wednesday about the killing of nine grizzly bears that were forced to forage
for food in a Pacific Coast village because there were no salmon in the rivers for them to eat." (The ecosystem unravelled)

29/11/99 CUT-YOUR-OWN BOOM - AP - "Despite a summertime drought, Virginia's cut-your-own Christmas tree industry is expecting a multi-million dollar boom this season. Growers around the state are already reporting brisk sales since tree farms opened over the weekend".  (cut-your-own tree, shoot-your-own deer, dig-your-own hole)

29/11/99 "U.S. IMPORTS FIRE ANT ENEMIES - ENN - Natural enemies of the fire ant are being imported from
South America to combat the invasive pests in the United States, report scientists focused on eradicating the critters.
Fire ants reside on more than 300 million acres across 12 states and Puerto Rico."

29/11/99 "BHOPAL STILL CONTAMINATED, GROUP SAYS - AP - "Toxic chemicals continue to poison soil and water near the
site of the world's worst industrial disaster in central India, 15 years after it claimed at least 7,000 lives, the environmental
group Greenpeace said today."

29/11/99 "SOUTH AFRICA TO PROMOTE ECO-TOURISM - RTR - South Africa plans to promote itself as an eco-tourism destination and hopes that poor rural communities at home as well as neighboring  countries will reap the benefits." (Why do some journalists insist on putting the hyphen between eco and tourism.? Do they think these words are so separate?)

30/11/99 "TRIBE GETS SAY ON WATER RESOURCES - AP - The U.S. government for the first time has given an American
Indian tribe control over one of the West's most precious commodities  --  water  --  outside a reservation's boundaries." (!!! Did that happen in 1999 or in 1899?)

1/12/99 "WORLDS tallest HOTEL OPENS IN UAE - AP - With its 201 duplex suites starting at $1,095 and reaching $18,000 per night, the world's tallest hotel, which opened here Wednesday, is not for everyone. But the billowing, sail-shaped Burj al-Arab hotel - 1,060-feet tall - is already one-quarter occupied, said manager Phillippe Charraudeau, mainly with clients from England, Germany and the neighbouring Gulf countries. What do you get for all that money? (We wonder too) "Pure, sheer luxury," said Charraudeau, referring to the 2,700-square-foot Royal Suite, which has its own elevator. Charraudeau said the hotel, which is owned by a consortium of local businessmen, will be included in the 2001 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records." (Amazing, it should also be included in the Guinness Book of Waste)

2/12/99 TROJAN GENE SPURS EXTINCTION WARNING - ENN - Researchers looking at genetically modified organisms -
in this case fish - warn that modifications that increase an organism's sex appeal could lead to the extinction of
the species' wild population, the journal New Scientist reports today.(Why should anyone wish to MODIFY fish in the first place?)

3/12/99 "POWER LINES NOT LINKED TO CANCER, RESEARCHERS SAY - RTR - Radiation from power lines and household appliances does not increase a child's risk of developing leukaemia or other cancers, British researchers said today in London." In fact with a little effort we all stand to benefit from leukaemia. (Ed. shhurely you mean power lines)

3/12/99 "CRUISE SHIP DUMPING SPARKS I N T E R E S T - AP - The booming cruise ship industry dumps millions of gallons of waste into Alaska's waters each year, and state and federal regulators want a better idea of what's going over the side to mingle with whales, salmon and shellfish." (Let me guess, ...rubbish perhaps?)

3/12/99 "HUNTERS SHOOT EXOTIC GAME LEGALLY AT ONTARIO RANCH - RTR - Hunters can legally shoot exotic game, including endangered species, at a ranch in Ontario, Canada  --  if they're willing to pay top dollar to do it. (To make it a bit more challenging old sport, I propose they put you with the lions and give you blanks)

7/12/99 "CRUDE OIL SPILLS AT LITHUANIAN TERMINAL - AP - Four tons of crude oil have spilled into the Baltic Sea
from the Butinge offshore oil terminal, the first major environmental accident at the facility since it opened this year, Lithuania
civil defence officials said today in Vilnius." (A splendid start for the terminal)

9/12/99 "CAT SURVIVES 80 DAYS TRAPPED - AP - A cat, dehydrated and barely breathing, was found trapped in a house nearly 80 days after Taiwan's earthquake, a veterinarian said Thursday. The animal apparently kept itself alive by eating another cat, veterinarian Chen Tao-chieh said."

9/12/99 "BRAZIL GREENS CHEER FOREST BILL POSTPONEMENT - RTR - Brazilian environmentalists applauded Wednesday the shelving of a legislative proposal they said threatened the Amazon rain forest by expanding the areas open to logging and the
types of trees available for harvesting." (Why do I have the strange feeling that the applause will not last for long?)

10/12/99 "EARTH'S TEMPERATURE REMAINS COOL IN NOVEMBER - RTR -North America experienced warmer-than-normal temperatures in November, but the Earth as a whole continued to cool slightly, mainly as a result of the La Niña  cooling event,
scientists said Thursday. (Cool!)

10/12/99 "WOMAN MARKS SECOND YEAR IN TREE - AP - Two years ago today, a 23-year-old preacher's daughter climbed
180 feet into the branches of an old growth redwood, determined to save it from a woodsman's chain saw."

13/12/99 "BORNEO RAIN FOREST ON VERGE OF TOTAL DESTRUCTION - ENN - A rare tropical rain forest, where reproduction of the trees is intricately linked to the arrival of the El Niño weather phenomenon, faces imminent death due to increased logging
and human-intensified climate change. The loss of the forest, located on the island of Borneo and regarded as a unique
ecosystem, would put a huge dent in the global economy. Timber exports contribute $8 billion annually to the Indonesian
economy and provide 80 percent of the plywood used in the United States home building industry." (If it affects the US home building industry, then the forest has a chance, or does it?)

15/12/99 "AUSTRALIANS AIM TO TRACK DOWN TICK SPECIES - RTR - Two Australian scientists are leading a A$12 million  worldwide search to record every known tick species, in a bid to help prevent disease spread by the sometimes deadly blood-sucking parasite. (How flattering to us humans that on the brink of the human millennium, the species that manage to thrive are the ones that have long been thought to share character traits with us, such as rats and ticks.)

6. Conferences:

Online program and registration materials are now available for the 5th International Wildlife Law Conference on March 25, 2000, in Washington, D.C.

The URL is:

Early registration is encouraged.

7. Practical info:

8. Guess!   A new column where we ask the question in relation to an environmental disaster and the readers guess. The winners' name and the answer appear in the next issue.  

Guess: the number of sea-birds drowned each year by Norway's fishing fleet in the North Atlantic.      

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