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!!! 


  1. Dear Mark,

    You are my Guru, and your wonderful team at Sonevafushi are my source of inspiration.

    I have followed your example, and have started a small scale permaculture in Hawaii, where I live.

    I'm longing to visit Sonevafushi in the near future, to help you and Kate in various projects.

    I hope other island resorts in the Maldives will follow your example as Maldives's fragile ecosystem faces major challenges.

    Marjan in Hawaii

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