Friday, July 22, 2011

"Inspired" now change for good ?

Dharavdhoo School group

In the month of June around 150 school children, teachers and parents have been to
 Eco Centro from 10 different schools and three islands, Male, Kihaadhoo and Dharavdhoo. The children all ranging in different ages and coming for varying backgrounds and communities, though all showed the same commitment to learning about how they can help to overcome the global challenge of climate change in there own back yard which from all indicators may not be here one day due to rising sea levels as a result of Global warming.

Water strategies "Mulch"

The one point that has sunk into me is that these children are not thinking of their own situation in isolation but express concern on a global level. As we all know what we do to help in the fight against rising world temperatures at home are felt world wide as there are no barriers that say what is done in the Maldives will only protect the Maldives.

Raised garden beds

These children and family members are helping all people of the world and they will be the first to lose their world if all of us do not think the same.

Learning together Nashid and Nieces

Father & Son

The Children from Dharavdhoo who toured Eco Centro were selected as they were “First placed winners of Water Day, March 22, 2011 competition where they prepared assignments on water issues faced in the Maldives and world wide.

The tour included showing the students Permaculture systems used in the Outdoor Classroom related to water conservation and capture. Systems discussed and seen were how we made compost on site for improving soil moisture by adding in Bio Char also made on site.

Contoured garden bed and coconut fibre paths

We looked at garden bed design in the tropics that included contour swales to hydrate the land and use of coconut fiber on pathways to absorb and slow water down to avoid nutrient loss and erosion. Raised beds and deep pit designs along with sheet mulching were also shown. Then we discussed water collection systems from available roof space to holding tanks for watering.

Thank you

At the end of the tour the children presented me with many gifts and a hand made appreciation banner for coming to the Eco Centro at Soneva Fushi.
It was an inspiration to be with children of all ages so committed to learning and accepting the changes that have to be made for all of us to keep on enjoying this beautiful part of the world.

Thank you again

The challenge is now for you to support these inspiring children by making a change yourself in you daily lives no matter where you live to help reduce climate change?

If the children of Dharavdhoo can do it so can you and we will all benefit so lets

We can do it so can you !!!

Care for the Earth, Care for the People and Create Abundance for all to Share???

Thursday, July 14, 2011

More Television Exposure for Permaculture and Sustainable Tourism

The second TV documentary on climate change and how people are dealing with it was filmed in the beginning of June giving me a further opportunity to promote Permaculture design and systems we have at Soneva Fushi.

Clay and Alan

This blog discusses how a documentary and who is involved in the process as you never know you might be the next person to promote Permaculture to the world?

On arrival of the film crew which was made up of the presenter, Director. Producer and assistant a full island tour was held where the team meet the personalities and discuss the planning and questions that would be asked at interviews.

Firstly an interview was filmed with the General Manager Laurie Burr about the tourism industry and explaining the unique features of our Eco villa that is our eco prototype villa that shows what basic improvements have to be made to buildings to help work towards carbon neutrality.
Improvements include the use of reflective solar glass, thermal roof paint to reflect heat, sealing door ways to reduce cool air escaping and the introduction of louvers for cross flow ventilation to reduce air condition use and the double Cudjen (palm thatch) on the roof, the villa also has LED Lights fitted. All these retrofitted design features are to reduce energy consumption for cooling and lighting as both account for up to 40 % of our energy requirements.

Fresh in the Garden

Next I was filmed with Laurie walking through Fresh in the Garden to our solar PV System discussing on route the Six Senses philosophy; Decarbonizing and the rolling out across Six Senses properties. We also chattered about the sustainable Permaculture systems used in the garden to grow chemical and pesticide free produce talking about the use of compost made organically from the food waste, jungle trimmings, coconut powder and bio char at the “Waste to Wealth “ Eco Centro.  All this unfortunately is not done once only as we had to walk this way ,stop look point , do it again looking as though we were talking , remembering to walk and stop at the same points and most of all not look at the camera.   

  After Day one I hosted dinner at By the Beach our Peruvian, Japanese inspired restaurant where we further discussed my role as Permaculturist and the documentary which was a series of half our stories on actions people are taking in various parts of the world affected by climate change and what they are doing about it. The film crew had just come from low lying areas of Indonesia where they were staying with the locals so being in a 5 star resort was the total opposite.   

The next morning we left the resort by boat to film resort from the water then we headed to Kihaadhoo School. Firstly we walked around the island filming the sustainable practices they had introduced such as water harvesting through rain water tanks on tin roofs that have now replaced the Cudjen (Palm thatch). The island is famous for the making of the Cudjen which is now sold to resorts to have the authentic look for their guests.

Cudjen Roofing

We also went into the agriculture fields looking at the farming practices employed. I had previously run a workshop on making Banana and Paw Paw circles at the school so it was good to visit the site and see how things had progressed. All growing well

Traditional agricultural methods

In the afternoon we returned to Soneva Fushi with over 30 children and teachers to have a tour of Eco Centro as part of a SLOW LIFE programme designed by the Marine Biologist Kate Wilson and myself.
While walking to the oat we now had to orchestrate the filming of us all walking and getting on the boat. Again this was a stop and start affair but we are all becoming stars of the future???

Students at Eco Centro

At Eco centro I introduced to the children the various Permaculture systems and recycling techniques designed to reduce waste from going to the ocean and land fill.
Separation areas of waste was shown , composting system ‘Hot Compost”, sustainable and tropical garden design such as raised beds, banana circles, sheet mulching and swales all to improve the sandy soil for food production. The aim is then for the children to design their own outdoor classroom to learn how to be sustainable therefore being proactive toward climate change.

At the end of the day I was then interviewed on my thoughts of what climate change. How Permaculture could help and if there was really any hope left for the world. Of course there is if we keep educating the young and demonstrate how easy it is to make a difference through changing the way we think about waste, the food we eat and what we need to live on a dally basis.  We also covered the recent mosquito eradication work without the use of pesticides and fogging agents which most resorts do. A natural approach through reducing breeding sites and the use of biological BTI has been recently introduced. This was the end of my filming with the crew.

 Now it was some one else’s turn Kate and Bjorn our Executive chief were now the stars.   
At Soneva Fushi other measures are in place to support the reduction in green house gases such as zero carbon cooking with fish caught from the lagoon and vegetables picked from our gardens
Kate Wilson, marine biologist –  was filmed with a focus on SLOW LIFE Season “So Blue”  marine activities that included  monitoring key fish species and looking at reef health.

Kate Marine Biologist

Our resort fisherman who has fished in the area for several decades and son Shafyq is a Soneva Fushi waiter were filming as they fish sustainably providing the sustainable source of food that is then served to Soneva Fushi’s guests. Rocket, (the fisherman) is now paid and trained by Soneva Fushi to put back any underweight fish into the sea (unharmed) – he has to take a photo of each of the small fish he puts back into the sea. It is our ‘catch & release programme there for we do not serve anything that is not 100% sustainable.

Catch and release

Finally Soneva Fushi’s water bottling plant where we make our own mineral water to save on flight supplies and use of plastic was filmed.

All involved were tired and thrilled at the same time. We all have own part to play in the changes needed for the world to over come the challenge of Climate Change. If it was not for the vehicle knows as Soneva Fushi we would not be able to have our say and hopefully inspire others to change at least one habit that will have an impact in saving our world. 

                                  Reduce, Reuse, Re Cycle, Re Educate, for a better future!!! 

Monday, July 4, 2011

EcoCare Soneva Nature Trip - 13 2011

EcoCare Soneva Nature Trip - 13

Welcome to Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi have now sponsored  EcoCare Soneva Nature Trip for 13 years. The trip is arranged for school children aged between 12 and 15 years of age from Male the capital of the Maldives. Male has a land mass of 5.789 km2 or 2.2351 sq miles making it the second most densely populated island in the world. As you can imagine there is not many trees or wild life on Male.
or some of the children this is the first time they have left Male and been to not only a resort but get to see tropical forests, wild life, marine and aquatic life too, not to mention recycling and other sustainable food production  systems in place and being introduced to a new word “Permaculture”

Start of the EcoCare Trip

The Soneva Nature trip was held from 4th till 10th of June 2011 throughout the Baa Athol with the children based at Kudarikilhu Island where they camped after staying the first night at Soneva Fushi.
80 school children attended from different schools on Male. It was interesting to note that even on an island as small as Male some of the children had never met before.

80 Eco children and support staff

After their 3 hour boat trip from Male there was an opening ceremony where Sonu the owner of Soneva Fushi and Chairman of Six Senses Resorts gave a welcome speech encouraging the children to absorb as much as possible over the next 7 days. He discussed the how important the environment is and more so for the Maldives due to their unique low lying nation which will be effected greatly by climate change, Global warming if changes don’t occur world wide.

Sonu in green and white shorts

All were feed and watered then the activities of the day started. Four groups of 20 were arranged as there were 4 environmental activities for the children to experience and to be inspired from.

Off to Eco Centro

Activity 1 was “Reef observation” run by Kate Wilson the marine biologist assisted by Krishantha, Mahzoom and Moosa from water sports plus support staff from Eco Care and teachers. The team spent all day in the water snorkeling with the children and for some this was the first time they had swum let alone snorkeled. Well done Kate and team a huge effort.

Kate Kris and watersports team 

The following day Kate and the team took the children to Hanifaru faru Bay and 74 out of the 80 children saw Manta rays!!!!

Kris explaining the finer points

Activity 2 was a tour of Eco Centro ”Waste to Wealth” centre ,the Permaculture Outdoor Classroom and Solar Field conducted by myself and my trusty snapper La La who took most of the photo’s shown.

Note books out and questions flying 

Solar field

View from above

Activity 3 was a tour of the Organic Garden “Fresh in the Garden and Observatory run by Shameem our expert astrologer. the children were shoen a slide show and were able to see the stars and planets after dinner. 

Poster prepared by a student 

The forth activity was a visit to a Guest Eco Villa and Nature Walk through the island guided by Zidhan and Abbas.

To control the flow of all the children were Nashid, Ameer and Ashia and others

Part of the EcoCare team 

The 80 students I meet were amazing and all interested in what we were doing and asking questions all the time and wanting samples of all the recycled products we made. Hands were thrust forward with pieces of paper to collect bio char, coconut fiber, mulch and compost. It was a rewarding day for all.

Compost anyone ?
Crushed glass below

On the final day we were invited to the closing ceremony on Kudarikilhu Island where the children had been hosted by the local community using the schools facilities

Throughout the week the children had to attend various seminars on environmental issues and make presentations. For successfully completing the Eco Trip the Managing Director of the Maldives and Sri Lanka, Alan Thomas for Six Senses Resorts and Laurie Burr General Manager of Soneva Fushi presented certificates of attendance.

Study time 

all worth it 

This was then followed by a tree climbing activity which is not possible on Male.
Tree climbing pic
Fun well was had

Lunch was incredible and amazing array of traditional food locally caught and grown though before lunch we were treated to various fish pastes and the best of all local Tote syrup from the coconut palm with home made waffles...

SLOW food

We were finally treated to the sounds of young bodibra band from the school and when I say young a baby was into it!!

He was unstopable and on beat

When the children were asked what was their most memorable experience they all said the trip to Hanifaru faru Bay to see the Manta rays.

The experience was unforgettable and I look forward to Eco Care 14

Never too old to EcoCare