The planet is undergoing rapid climate change, and precious corners of the earth are being irreversibly environmentally altered. The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” It’s a good time to ask, how does one see the world without contributing to problems of pollution and global warming?

‘Tourist’ doesn’t have to be a dirty word.

Indian Man Single-Handedly Plants a 1,360 Acre Forest


by STEPHEN MESSENGER • 2 Apr 2012 • TreeHugger 

A little over 30 years ago, a teenager named Jadav “Molai” Payeng began burying seeds along a barren sandbar near his birthplace in northern India’s Assam region to grow a refuge for wildlife. Not long after, he decided to dedicate his life to this endeavor, so he moved to the site where he could work full-time creating a lush new forest ecosystem. Incredibly, the spot today hosts a sprawling 1,360 acre of jungle that Payeng planted single-handedly.

The Times of India recently caught up with Payeng in his remote forest lodge to learn more about how he came to leave such an indelible mark on the landscape:

It all started way back in 1979 when floods washed a large number of snakes ashore on the sandbar. One day, after the waters had receded, Payeng, only 16 then, found the place dotted with the dead reptiles. That was the turning point of his life.

“The snakes died in the heat, without any tree cover. I sat down and wept over their lifeless forms. It was carnage. I alerted the forest department and asked them if they could grow trees there. They said nothing would grow there. Instead, they asked me to try growing bamboo. It was painful, but I did it. There was nobody to help me. Nobody was interested,” says Payeng, now 47.

While it’s taken years for Payeng’s remarkable dedication to planting to receive some well-deserved recognition internationally, it didn’t take long for wildlife in the region to benefit from the manufactured forest. Demonstrating a keen understanding of ecological balance, Payeng even transplanted ants to his burgeoning ecosystem to bolster its natural harmony. Soon the shadeless sandbar was transformed into a self-functioning environment where a menagerie of creatures could dwell. The forest, called the Molai woods, now serves as a safe haven for numerous birds, deers, rhinos, tigers, and elephants — species increasingly at risk from habitat loss elsewhere.

Despite the conspicuousness of Payeng’s project, Forestry officials in the region first learned of this new forest in 2008 — and since then they’ve come to recognize his efforts as truly remarkable, but perhaps not enough.

“We’re amazed at Payeng,” says Assistant Conservator of Forests, Gunin Saikia. “He has been at it for 30 years. Had he been in any other country, he would have been made a hero.”

This is absolutely phenomenal. Imagine the possibilities if everyone had the same dedication, passion, and kindness Payeng has toward the environment and the creatures that inhabit it. 

Kawach infuses each comic book with the seeds of Radish sprout, then with a little water and some sun whammo…

"The idea opens up a whole new range of possibilities for book recycling
and indoor farming.
Paper is potentially a wonderful fertilizer and planting ground, and according to an USDA study, pulp and paper waste recycling to produce fertilizer is very much the need of the hour: “The U.S. pulp and paper industry produces 5 million mg of solid waste each year in the form of sludge. Currently, most of this waste is landfilled.”

'When Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, he declared that future generations would remember it as "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." More than three years later, the oceans are still rising and our planet has done more howling – in the form of extreme weather – than healing. In fact, the current political climate is actually headed in the wrong direction: The most heated talk in Washington right now is not about reducing carbon pollution or expanding renewable energy, but whether to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency. Michele Bachmann has pledged to see the EPA's "doors locked and lights turned off."'


(Source: thesmithian)


Huge artwork suddenly appears in Santa Monica neighborhood: Tarps are pulled off to reveal a four-story-high series of colorful square panels by street artists Risk and Retna affixed to the shell of what will be a new home. The intent is to highlight ocean pollution. The city says it must go.

Photo: Corlin hugs his daughter Emilie in front of the work by street artists Risk and Retna. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

(Source: Los Angeles Times)

The last forest of its kind. About to be torn down. Home to tigers, elephants, crocodiles. Prey Lang literally means “Our Forest” and it needs to be saved. 


Dressed like the Na’vi tribe from the 2009 science-fiction film Avatar, Cambodian villagers protested the plan to clear the Prey Lang forest to make way for the establishment of plantations and mines.

This is a  documentary about Prey Lang, “One Forest, One Future”, by Jocelyn and Ben Pederick.



“Gold never brought us happiness… The Romans conquered this land for the gold. The Austro-Hungarians came here for the gold. Then the communists. And now this company. Before they were called invaders, now they are called investors. This is evolution, I guess.” -Andrei Gruber

Inspired by gold’s skyrocketing price, Rosia Montana Gold Corp. has been trying to jump-start a colossal mining operation in the historic mining town of Rosia Montana. But the process has been mired in controversy and fierce opposition. Dimiter Kenarov has the story »

Image by Nadia Shira Kohen. Romania, 2011.


Go fishing. Go for a float trip. Drink a big glass of water.

Enjoy America’s water now, because a bi-partisan bill quickly making it’s way through congress will cut big holes in the safety net that protects our water, said the Environmental Protection Agency. But lawmakers said the reduction in restrictions fosters the growth of industry and increases states’ autonomy.

The Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011, H.R. 2018, was introduced in late May by John L. Mica (R-FL) with Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), Gibbs (R-OH) and Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) as key legislators who co-sponsored the bill.

It recently passed the House [note: Blaine Luetkemeyer, who represents Missouri’s 9th Congressional District — including Columbia —voted among the “yeas”] and will be moving on to the Senate. The Act limits the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to enforce national water quality standards. The bill passed through mark-up by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday with only minor addendums.

Photo from Footprint Magazine.