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May 2009 Newsletter

The G20 London Conference at the beginning of April appears to have ended with more general agreement among the delegates than was predicted. There seemed to be general acceptance that global solutions have to be found for the failure of the financial system, and that, In the process, ways to regulate banking (and bankers) must be put in place to prevent a recurrence.

Is it too much to hope that the world will be able to agree with the only general formula that can save the planet - "Maintaining the sustainability of the environment must take precedence over profit"?

There's another massively important issue that must be addressed in our century:- "The eradication of poverty and starvation in the so-called Third World." It can be done. It needs the global will to do it.

At GGW we're trying to make a small contribution. We hope you're on our side. And if you are, and the owner of a hospitality establishment, JOIN US! And if you're thinking of travelling for pleasure or business, stay at our Members' earth-friendly hotels, BandBs, hostels and campsites! They're wonderful and their owners' hearts are in the right place!

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Oboma's Trillion-dollar Eco-budget

Meanwhile, the Environmental Leader reports that President Obama has proposed putting some of his money where his mouth is: his economic team February 26 released details of his nearly trillion-dollar budget - to be funded in part by cap-and-trade limits on carbon emissions - revealing how the energy and environment sectors are likely to be impacted.

The 2010 budget commits $150 billion over 10 years toward seeking more energy independence, including research and funding for attempts to boost auto fuel efficiency, according to The Detroit News.

The effort includes doubling the production of renewable energy in three years, via tax breaks and loan guarantees for the industry, according to CNN/

Obama hopes to raise some portion of the money for alternative energy development from cap-and-trade limits on carbon emissions.

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Our Founder Richard Johnson Living His Dream

I've recently fulfilled a long-held ambition: to be a Travel Writer. I have become a contributor to the UK newspaper, The Mail on Sunday. So far I have written 5 articles for their excellent Travel section, 3 of which have already been published, on Morocco, Costa Rica and Cambodia. These can be found by searching the archives of TravelMail, part of the paper's Website . We can make it easy for you, however: just click on the links below . . .

Tomb raiding, fried tarantula and sunrise over the world's greatest wonders in Cambodia

Costa Rica's old man river

See Morocco save the world

Articles ready for publication in the next few weeks include a piece on the wonderful Andes mountains Lakes District, which lies across the borders of Chile and Argentina, and an article on a press trip I went on recently to Turkey. Here is a small extract from each of them to whet your appetite:

From: 'The Lake District of Argentina and Chile'

". . . Our guide's boat is tethered to a tree, waiting. We putt-putt for 20 minutes, round a corner of the lake, and there it is: tiny, a hint of a house peeking through the trees, Isla Las Bandurrias!

As we get nearer we see the elegant figure of our hostess, Francoise Dutheil, waving to us from the landing stage. Soon we're inside her house, where lunch is laid out on the refectory table in the living room. The house is constructed almost entirely from local 'found' wood, from the forest, flotsam from the lake, and renewable timber from Francoise's mainland farm . . . Francoise tells us that persuading her builder to use "crookedy wood" in the construction was the hardest part of getting the building finished . . .

A five minute walk from the main house is the cottage, where there are sleeping quarters for six (or eight at a pinch), two bathrooms and a living room with a wood-burning stove in the kitchen area. It also has a delightful veranda, with stunning views of the lake and mountains, and a stairway leading down to a little bathing 'beach'.

Both houses are entirely 'off-grid'. Not just because there isn't a grid to be on in a place as remote as this, but because Francoise is a committed conservationist, fiercely determined to sustain the beauty and resources of her little realm. Lighting and power come by way of solar-powered batteries; hot water, heating and cooking from wood stoves, using found branches and logs from fallen forest trees . . ."

From 'Gulet Sailing in Turkey'

"*Hosh geldiniz!* says our smiling Captain Nedim as we cross the gangplank to his beautiful 'Grandi 1' in Bodrum harbour, "Welcome!".

Our party of seven family and friends have boarded the traditional wooden sailing vessel after flying from London to Bodrum, on Turkey's Aegean Riviera.

As soon as it's settled who's going to have which cabin, the crew casts off from the pier, and the Captain steers the big yacht out of port. Once he's cleared the harbour, the Grandi's 330 square meters of sail are hoisted to catch the late afternoon breeze, and we slip gently through the crystal waters, the only sound the wind singing in the rigging. Chef Omer is already at work in the kitchen preparing the first of the excellent meals we are to enjoy.

We drop anchor in a small and secluded bay and dispose ourselves about the spacious upper deck saloon as the crew offer drinks and Captain Nedim spreads his charts on the dining table for a briefing on where we might go during our week aboard . . .

. . . Why is sailing so satisfying? So calming, yet so invigorating? I lie on the cushioned stern looking up at the white canvas straining against the blue of the sky, hearing the soft plash as the bow dips into the water, and I think this must be perfect happiness. But why is it so much more enjoyable than just letting the boat's perfectly capable diesel motor propel us to our destination? It can't just be because the wind is free and, in this part of the world, completely unpolluted. Perhaps it's the quietness of this great power now harnessed to our ship, the feeling that we are being welcomed by the natural world, and that we are part of it."

Publication dates for these two articles will be announced in our next Newsletter

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Babcock Ranch Florida's Solar Powered City

The Philippine Department of Tourism strives to install processes and procedures that are economically beneficial, socially responsible, ecologically sustainable and advantageous to the local communities by creating jobs and improving living conditions overall. Palawan is the second biggest province in the country in terms of land area and has been recommended by the tourism department as the top eco-destination in the country.

Eco-friendly Resorts
The Department of Tourism Recommends The El Nido, Lagen and Miniloc Island Resorts, Club Noah Isabelle and the Bohol Bee Farm. These hotels all carry out environmentally friendly practices: Coastal clean ups, prohibiting the gathering of shells and coral, eco-safe cleanser and many others.

Read the full article in Tree Hugger


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Fuel Comsumption Cut in Half by 2050 . . . or else

Vehicles' fuel consumption should be cut in half by 2050 to combat climate change according to a group of agencies.

The Global Fuel Economy Initiative's (GFEI) '50 by 50' report claims that cutting vehicle fuel use in half would save two gigatonnes of CO2, the equivalent of half the EU's annual emissions.

Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of the IEA, said: "We have to find ways to reconcile legitimate aspirations for mobility, an ambitious reduction in CO2 from cars worldwide, and global economic recovery.

"In confronting the economic recession this is a real opportunity for governments to combine support for the auto industry with measures to achieve environmental and energy policy goals."

The report from the Committee on Climate Change also stressed the importance of making the transition to cleaner, lower emitting cars if climate change targets are to be met.

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Member Registrations

Since our last Newsletter was published over 200 new Member establishments have joined GGW; total number of Registrations now stands at 600 ("Into the valley of LIFE rode the 600") from 76 countries. We're proud of this achievement and thank all those who have become part of our community of eco-warriors.